The Pepsi-Cola story itself begins with a drugstore
in New Bern, North Carolina, and a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham.
Bradham's aim was to create a fountain drink that was both
delicious and healthful in aiding digestion and boosting energy.
It would be free of the impurities found in many bottled health
tonics, and it would contain none of the stronger narcotics
often added to popular fountain drinks.
As most pharmacies in 1896, Bradham's drugstore housed a soda fountain where
the small-town clientele would meet to socialize. Bradham's establishment even
featured a kind of primitive jukebox, which for a nickel would entertain the
listener with the latest musical selections rendered by violin or piano or both.
It was at such convivial gatherings that Bradham would offer his latest concoction.
Over time, one of his recipes became known as Brad's Drink. A member of the press
declared, "It has sparkle and just enough acidity to make it pleasant." Soon
its popularity would exceeded the boundaries of New Bern.
The cellar of Bradham's drugstore served as the original site of Pepsi-Cola syrup
manufacturing. Electing to start his new business on a small, manageable scale,
Bradham based his operation on familiar territory. Ingredients were hauled downstairs
to cramped quarters where they were mixed together and then cooked in a large
kettle. The syrup was subsequently poured into one-gallon jugs and five-gallon
kegs to be shipped to customers.
By 1902, the demand from surrounding drugstores increased so dramatically it
dawned on Bradham that Pepsi-Cola was something special.
On December 24, 1902, he filed incorporation papers with the state of North Carolina;
in these, he indicated his plans for corporate branches in Virginia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, and New York. The rest is history!