Drugstore and Soda Fountains - Sample Essay

During the early 1900’s in America, the average drug store is comprised of three parts: pharmacy, retail sales, and the ‘soda water fountain’. The soda fountain is a dispenser of flavored syrups and carbonated water. Soon enough soda fountains were also used to describe ice-cream parlors, while counters in pharmacies started selling soft drinks (Leonard, R. B. , 1916, p. 322; Soft drinks, 2007). The soda water fountain’s popularity can be credited to the creativeness of American pharmacists.

Already in the business of selling soda water, the American pharmacists later added flavors derived from fruits, nuts, berries, roots, herbs, and other plant sources to the unflavored mineral water. Various ingredients from plants and trees were used such as birch bark, dandelion, sarsaparilla, and other fruit extracts, some of which were purposely chosen for their medicinal value. The other additives were chosen to enhance the appearance of the clear sparkling mineral water. City dwellers as well as small town folks enjoyed drinking soda in these establishments.

However, the fame of soda water fountains started to collapse with the advent of fast foods restaurants, commercialized ice cream, and bottled soft drinks. But this did not mean the collapse of the soft drinks industry. In fact, soft drinks underwent much development through time. There have been many different kinds of carbonated soft drinks formulated throughout history and various companies engaged in its production. Nevertheless, this paper will focus only on the two giants in the industry: Coca-cola and Pepsi Cola. Coca Cola

What is today the big name ‘Coca Cola’ was discovered and established in 1886 by a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia named Doctor John Pemberton. By concocting a medication that contained extracts of caffeine-rich kola nuts and of the cocaine-rich coca plant to cure headache and hangover, he produced Coca-Cola (Carbonated Beverage, 2004, p. 8495). Ingredients of the Coca-Cola formula and the how it was manufactured by Doctor John Pemberton is discussed in a book by Mark Pendergrast entitled, ‘For God, Country and Coca-Cola’.

Mr. Pendergrast was given the opportunity to access archival material of Coca-Cola and to interview people within Coca-Cola. This privilege gave him important data from Coca-Cola sources (The Coca-Cola Recipe, 2007). It was established in his research that the production of soft drinks takes quality. For instance, even though the water that is used in its manufacture already comes from a safe and potable source, further purification processes are held in place to ensure the quality of the product.

In manufacturing soft drinks as a whole, measures must be taken to ensure purity and uniformity of the ingredients because any impurity that is not screened would be carried on to the final soft drink product (Soft drink, 2007). John Pemberton constructed a primitive filtering contraption in his house made of sand from a nearby river. It is in this primitive filtering contraption that he pours the flavoring mixture made from his recipe to remove solid particles and whatever impurities the water from the municipal supply and other items in his syrup mixture may still contain (The Coca-Cola Recipe, 2007).

Before John Pemberton died, ownership of Coca-Cola changed hands in 1887. The new owner Asa Candler, an Atlanta pharmacist and businessman, also changed Coca-Cola’s formula. Candler’s intention in doing this was to prohibit imitators from producing soft drinks which are similar to Coca Cola since a bunch of people already knew its original formula at the time Candler purchased the rights to produce it exclusively.

Further, Candler made some additions in the formula such as preservative in the form of glycerin, phosphoric acid as replacement for citric acid, reduction of its caffeine content, and removal of cocaine as an ingredient. In the revised formula of Asa Candler, the ingredients were sugar, caramel, caffeine, phosphoric acid, coca leaf & cola nut extract, lime juice, flavoring mixture, vanilla and glycerin (The Coca-Cola Recipe, 2007).