TIME Food & Drink

Here’s What New Coke Tasted Like

Can of New Coke beverage. (Phot
Al Freni—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Can of New Coke

Thirty years ago, Coca-Cola introduced what seemed like a fizzling new idea

It was, TIME declared, “like putting a miniskirt on the refurbished Statue of Liberty.”

Thirty years ago, on April 23, 1985, Coca-Cola announced that the company would take an unprecedented step in the ongoing cola wars: changing their formula. The secret formula for the classic soft drink would be locked away in a vault, forever, replaced that May with a sweeter pop designed to appeal to changing American tastes.

Prior to the roll-out, the company boasted that the new flavor beat out the classic (and also rival Pepsi) in taste tests. TIME’s food critic Mimi Sheraton weighed in on the taste too, deciding that the new soda wasn’t all that different:

New Coke seems to retain the essential character of the original version in that it, too, imparts faint cocoa-cinnamon overtones and has a balanced, smooth body with no sharpness or overpowering flavor. However, it is sweeter than the original formula and also has a body that could best be described as lighter. It tastes a little like classic Coca-Cola that has been diluted by melting ice. I have always preferred Coca-Cola to Pepsi, finding the latter much too sweet and thin. Most of all, I dislike the citrus-oil flavor I seem to detect in Pepsi. And though the new Coke approaches the sweetness and thinness of Pepsi, it does not have the lemony aftertaste. Therefore, I still prefer Coke. I suspect that those who have preferred Pepsi will continue to do so.

The change was billed as the first in nearly a century of Coke-making (not including the switch from sugar to high-fructose corn syrup, which wasn’t meant to affect the taste). And, as in natural when such a big change comes along, fans were nervous. Even before the New Coke went on sale, consumers told TIME they were nervous that the company would “ruin a good thing.”

Judging by the world’s reaction to the New Coke, those consumers were right: it was only three months before Coca-Cola gave in and brought back Coca-Cola Classic, bowing to pressure from people who were outraged that an American institution had been altered.

But, though the New Coke story has gone down in history as a business and marketing debacle — the president of Pepsi-Cola was quoted in TIME calling it “the Edsel of the ’80s” — that’s not the whole story.

In fact, New Coke wasn’t actually all bad for the company. Coca-Cola denied that New Coke was an elaborate marketing stunt, though that was a popular theory. Still, even accidentally, it worked. Coke’s stock soared when the classic formula came back and even in those anger-filled months between April and July, sales were good: “In May, Coke sales shot up a sparkling 8% over the same month in 1984, double the normal growth rate,” TIME reported. “Some of the increase included sales of old Coke still on store shelves, but most of it was the new drink.” The following year, when the company celebrated its hundredth birthday, it was with reports of sales that continued to climb.

Still, that didn’t keep New Coke (later called Coke II) from one last bit of infamy before it faded into the supermarket shelf sunset: the drink made it to TIME’s list of the 100 worst ideas of the 20th century — right alongside Crystal Pepsi.

Read more about the New Coke story, here in the TIME Vault: Coca-Cola’s Big Fizzle

TIME film

The Coca-Cola Bottle is Getting Its Own Documentary

Assorted Antique Bottle Caps
Blank Archives—Getty Images An assortment of American soda, juice, and beer bottle caps mostly from the 1950s and early 1960s. Some are flipped-over to show cork backing. (Photo by Blank Archives/Getty Images)

It's the bottle's 100th anniversary

A documentary about the classic Coca-Cola bottle? It’s about time.

Timed to its 100th anniversary, Matthew Miele will produce a documentary this year on the bottle’s history, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film will focus on the bottle since its invention in 1915 and its influence on pop art, cinema and artists like Andy Warhol.

“When I can hold up a Coca-Cola bottle and ask, ‘is this art or is this commerce?’ and most commonly hear ‘it’s both,’ that sets the stage for an intriguing narrative,” said Miele, who intends to interview personalities and luminaries across various industries.

Coca-Cola has approved the project and will help pay for marketing.

[THR]

TIME faith

How Coca-Cola Became Kosher for Passover

Always Coca-Cola
Cincinnati Historical Society / Getty Images An inspector scrutinizes bottles of Coca-Cola as they pass in front of a piercing light, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1940s

Thanks to the efforts of an Atlanta-based rabbi in the 1930s, Jews keeping kosher for Passover can still drink a Coke

Starting when Passover begins on Friday night, Jews who are keeping kosher for the holiday must forgo foods with wheat, corn and other grains for the eight-day festival, severely restricting their diet. But one luxury is not out of reach: Coca-Cola.

The Atlanta-based soda maker provides a kosher-for-Passover version of its mainstay cola, identifiable by its yellow cap. Unlike most commercial sodas in the U.S. that are sweetened with corn syrup, this concoction uses sugar, helping it pass muster for those avoiding grains—and making it popular among those who say they prefer the flavor.

Hipsters and observant Jews alike are largely indebted to the efforts of one Orthodox rabbi eight decades ago. Rabbi Tuvia Geffen, Lithuanian-born but residing in Coke’s Georgia hometown, noticed that, of all the dietary restrictions of Passover, staying away from the soda was proving particularly difficult for his congregants. Before the holiday rolled around in 1935, responding to popular demand, he investigated the ingredients of the soft drink.

“Because it has become an insurmountable problem to induce the great majority of Jews to refrain from partaking of this drink,” Rabbi Geffen wrote in his rabbinical ruling. “I have tried earnestly to find a method of permitting its usage. With the help of God, I have been able to uncover a pragmatic solution.”

The solution was, it turned out, relatively easy. This was before the use of corn syrup, but the ingredients still sometimes included grain sugars; so Coca-Cola assured Rabbi Geffen that they would exclusively use cane sugar during Passover as well as scrap one other minor ingredient that the rabbi deemed not to be kosher. And with that, Rabbi Geffen pronounced Coke to be kosher.

The dramatic development was announced in a letter to TIME published in the May 13, 1935, issue, sent by one Samuel Glick of Atlanta. Glick was following up on a TIME article about the Jewish Passover celebration that had been published the previous month:

In connection with your interesting article on the celebration of Passover (TIME, April 29), you may be interested to know that, for the first time. Atlanta orthodox Jews were allowed to drink Coca Cola during this solemn season. With the approval of Atlanta rabbis, special Coca Cola bottle caps were stamped with the Kosher symbol and signs denoting the same were displayed in soda fountains. The drink was not altered in any way.

Read the 1935 story about the Passover celebration: Passover and Easter

MONEY Warren Buffett

The One Thing Warren Buffett is Wrong About

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
CNBC—NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Buffett's personal bias seems to be interfering with his judgment in food stocks.

Warren Buffett cannonballed through the food industry once again this past week, orchestrating a merger of Heinz and Kraft Foods KRAFT FOODS GROUP INC. KRFT -0.92% to create the world’s third-largest food company.

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate and partner 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm, will pay a special dividend to Kraft shareholders worth $10 billion, and Kraft shareholders will own 49% of the new company while Heinz, which was acquired by Buffett and 3G Capital in 2013, will hold 51%.

This is far from Buffett’s first foray into the food business, but the deal seems questionable at a time when more Americans are shunning the packaged processed foods that Kraft is known for such as Velveeta and Lunchables, and its sales have been flat in recent years. Still, Kraft is a typical Buffett target with its portfolio of well-known brands and easy-to-understand business model. Berkshire is also a major holder of Coca-Cola COCA-COLA COMPANY KO -0.15% , and owns Dairy Queen, after acquiring it in 1997.

Buffett is a big personal fan of these brands, and readily admits that he eats “like a six-year old.” He has said he’s a regular consumer of Heinz ketchup, and Dairy Queen. He drinks at least five Cokes a day, regularly munches on Potato Stix, and told Fortune he had a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast the day of the interview. Perhaps the octogenarian’s tastes may be clouding his judgement when it comes to his investments in the food world.

Coca-Cola COCA-COLA COMPANY KO -0.15% , for example, was one of the best performing stocks of the 20th century, but as soda consumption has fallen in the last decade, the stock has languished in recent years. Over the last five years, it’s returned 44%, against the S&P 500’s 74%, while in the last two years Coke is down 1%, compared to a 32% gain for the broad-market index. As long as people are turning away from soda, Coke’s prospects look poor.

In 1997, Buffett bought Dairy Queen for $585 million. At the time, it had 6,200 restaurants under its banner. Nearly 20 years later in 2014, it has only grown to about 6,500. As a minor subsidiary, Berkshire doesn’t break down Dairy Queen’s financial performance, but its average sales per store was just $659,000 in 2013, below most major fast-food competitors. Growth in individual stores has also significantly trailed the industry. In that time, McDonald’s, for example, has grown from about 23,000 restaurants worldwide to over 35,000. Fast casual chains have boomed as Chipotle Mexican Grill went from a handful of stores in 1997 to a valuation north of $20 billion today. Buffett may have gotten a good price for Dairy Queen, but the business is past its prime.

Heinz has only been under Buffett’s auspices for less than two years, but sales have been falling recently.

Like the recent Duracell deal, Kraft is yet another low-growth company with a strong brand. 3G has shown a knack with such businesses before, applying its playbook of cost-cutting and international expansion to ramp up profits. It worked with Anheuser Busch-InBev, and Heinz managed to grow profits last year. The group is now trying to pull the same trick with Restaurant Brands International, the result of the merger of Burger King and Tim Horton’s.

That may be the saving grace in the deal for Kraft, but the $10 billion dividend still seems like a generous gift for a company with flat sales that was valued at $35 billion before the deal was announced. If 3G can wring more profits out of Kraft, then perhaps the deal will pay off, but the business itself — with its products losing shelf space to organic competitors — looks weak. For a master of the deal like Buffett, the merger may pay off, but a Heinz-Kraft stock looks unappetizing for the average investor.

MONEY Warren Buffett

3 Warren Buffett Habits We Should All Adopt

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Lacy O'Toole—CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty I Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Warren Buffett has grown from a boy who at 7 years old roamed the streets of Omaha selling bottles of Coca-Cola for a nickel to a man who now sits atop the Berkshire Hathaway empire he created, with over $525 billion in assets.

Are you curious to know what habits enabled him to get there? Well, there are three we all can, and should, adopt.

Never stop learning

In the 50th annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Charlie Munger, the longtime second-in-command at Berkshire, spoke about one of Buffett’s most enduring and important traits that led to his success:

Buffett’s decision to limit his activities to a few kinds and to maximize his attention to them, and to keep doing so for 50 years, was a lollapalooza. Buffett succeeded for the same reason Roger Federer became good at tennis.

Buffett was, in effect, using the winning method of the famous basketball coach, John Wooden, who won most regularly after he had learned to assign virtually all playing time to his seven best players. … And Buffett much out-Woodened Wooden, because in his case the exercise of skill was concentrated in one person, not seven, and his skill improved and improved as he got older and older during 50 years.

In other words, Buffett figured out what he was good at and stuck with it through thick and thin, always honing his skill.

In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell suggests that for anyone to truly become an expert at something, there is some element of inherent skill involved, but there is also a key component of practice. And the key is dedicating at least 10,000 hours of time to become a true expert. Gladwell asserts: “[P]ractice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

He cites examples such as Bill Gates, who sneaked out of his parents’ house at night while he was in high school to learn computer coding, or the Beatles, who played eight hours a day in various bars across Hamburg, Germany, before they really mastered their craft.

And the same is true of Buffett, as he himself once remarked:

I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions, than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.

In the same way, in his hit song “I Know I Can,” rapper Nas said:

Boys and girls, listen up / You can be anything in the world, in God we trust / An architect, doctor, maybe an actress / But nothing comes easy, it takes much practice

So no matter where life takes you or what you do, always remember — whether you learn from Buffett, the Beatles, Bill Gates, or Nas — while we’ll never be perfect, persistent practice will always help take us one step closer.

Patience is key

The world around us is moving at a speed that is truly hard to grasp. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “[I]t took 75 years for telephones to achieve 50 million users, while Angry Birds reached that goal in a mere 35 days.”

Another of Buffett’s distinct and admirable characteristics is his patience.

In 2003, he noted:

We bought some Wells Fargo shares last year. Otherwise, among our six largest holdings, we last changed our position in Coca-Cola in 1994, American Express in 1998, Gillette in 1989, Washington Post in 1973, and Moody’s in 2000. Brokers don’t love us.

But consider for a moment his remarks in the 2010 letter to shareholders, in which he said that for Berkshire to succeed:

We will need both good performance from our current businesses and more major acquisitions. We’re prepared. Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy.

It’s widely thought that means Buffett intends to purchase a single business worth tens of billions of dollars. While his trigger finger was itchy in 2010, and Berkshire’s cash pile now stands at over $60 billion, Buffett has distinctly been willing to sit on the sidelines until the right opportunity presented itself.

There is obvious value in moving quickly into something if it’s a no-brainer decision and time is of the essence, but otherwise, we would all do well to take a step back and exhibit a little more patience.

And that could be patience in buying batteries at the grocery store, or, like Buffett, the company that makes those batteries.

Give credit where it’s due

One of the final things to note about Buffett is his eagerness to commend the team of managers who surround him.

Consider his 2009 remark about Ajit Jain, who heads Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance and is widely speculated to be a candidate to replace Buffett atop Berkshire:

If Charlie, I, and Ajit are ever in a sinking boat — and you can only save one of us — swim to Ajit.

Or his remarks about Todd Combs and Ted Weschler — who each manage a sizable stock portfolio at Berkshire Hathaway — in the 2013 letter:

In a year in which most equity managers found it impossible to outperform the S&P 500, both Todd Combs and Ted Weschler handily did so. Each now runs a portfolio exceeding $7 billion. They’ve earned it. I must again confess that their investments outperformed mine. (Charlie says I should add “by a lot.”) If such humiliating comparisons continue, I’ll have no choice but to cease talking about them. Todd and Ted have also created significant value for you in several matters unrelated to their portfolio activities. Their contributions are just beginning: Both men have Berkshire blood in their veins.

Or consider his praise for Tony Nicely in 2005:

Credit Geico — and its brilliant CEO, Tony Nicely — for our stellar insurance results in a disaster-ridden year. … Last year, Geico gained market share, earned commendable profits, and strengthened its brand. If you have a new son or grandson in 2006, name him Tony.

And the list could go on and on.

Here’s a man worth more than $70 billion, who understands that the works of others were just as important to his success as his own. So no matter where we are, we should always take the time to thank the people who helped us get there.

While we’ll always only be ourselves, adopting these three habits will help us no matter where our path takes us.

TIME Companies

The Fascinating History of the Coca-Cola Bottle

Manufacture Of Coke Light Soft Drinks At The Coca-Cola Hellenic Plant In Cyprus
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Empty glass bottles of Coca-Cola Light, also known as diet Coke, travel along a conveyor belt ahead of filling at the Lanitis Bros Ltd. bottling plant, part of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Group, in Nicosia, Cyprus, on Tuesday, June 10, 2014.

The anniversary comes at a difficult time for the soda maker

Coca-Cola is making a lot of the 100th anniversary of its iconic bottle. Given what’s happening with soda sales generally, and Coke sales in particular, the festivities come at a delicate time.

The celebration of the bottle includes an ad campaign in more than 100 countries featuring Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Ray Charles, and an exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta called “The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100.” The exhibit will include “more than 100 objects, including more than 15 works of art by Andy Warhol and more than 40 photographs inspired by or featuring the bottle,” the company said in a statement.

Warhol, of course, was pilloried for his seeming embrace of consumerism though works like the Campbell Soup Cans and Coke Bottles, though of course it wasn’t that simple. The result was that the counterculture had infiltrated consumer culture, and vice versa. Warhol, who saw consumer products as having a leveling effect, said this about Coke:

What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.

The original bottle was designed by the Root Glass Company in Indiana, nearly 30 years after the product was launched in 1886. Root won a contest where participants were challenged to “develop a container recognizable even if broken on the ground or touched in the dark.” Root’s design allowed consumers to recognize the product “even if they felt it in the dark,” according to Coke.

The celebration comes during a rough period for Coke. It has implemented a massive cost-cutting campaign. Its quarterly profits were down by 55%, it reported earlier this month. Meanwhile, sales of sugary soft drinks in general are plunging, having dropped by more than 20% between 2004 and 2014. In an effort to capitalize on consumers’ move away from sugar and toward protein, Coke has introduced Fairlife milk products. The bottles are pretty cool, but one can wonder if anybody will be celebrating them 100 years from now.

MONEY Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett’s Secret to Staying Young: 5 Cokes a Day

150226_INV_WarrenBuffettCoke
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images Warren Buffett, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, drinks a Cherry Coca-Cola.

The world’s most successful investor stays youthful by eating "like a 6-year-old." Turns out, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s bizarre diet is highly strategic.

How does the world’s top investor, at 84 years old, wake up every day and face the world with boundless energy?

“I’m one quarter Coca-Cola,” Warren Buffett says.

When he told me this in a phone call yesterday (we were talking about the death of his friend, former Coca-Cola president Don Keough), I assumed he was talking about his stock portfolio.

No, Buffett explained, “If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it everyday.”

Perhaps only a man who owns $16 billion in Coca-Cola KO 0.71% stock—9% of Coke, through his company, Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A -0.23% —would maintain such an odd daily diet. One 12-ounce can of Coke contains 140 calories. Typically, Buffett says, “I have three Cokes during the day and two at night.”

When he’s at his desk at Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha, he drinks regular Coke; at home, he treats himself to Cherry Coke.

“I’ll have one at breakfast,” he explains, noting that he loves to drink Coke with potato sticks. What brand of potato sticks? “I have a can right here,” he says. “U-T-Z” Utz is a Hanover, Pennsylvania-based snack maker. Buffett says that he’s talked to Utz management about potentially buying the company.

Investors in Berkshire Hathaway may feel relieved that the CEO isn’t addicted to Utz Potato Stix at every breakfast. “This morning, I had a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream,” Buffett says.

Asked to explain the high-sugar, high-salt diet that has somehow enabled him to remain seemingly healthy, Buffett replies: “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.” The octogenarian adds, “It’s the safest course I can take.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

MONEY Tech

The Real Threat to Twitter’s Bottom Line

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California.
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter will lose users and advertisers if it doesn't start addressing abuse, harassment and trolls.

If you have a Twitter TWITTER INC. TWTR -1.19% account, you probably know the inherent value of the microblogging service. As far as social media sites go, there’s quite possibly no better distribution outlet for news — essentially Twitter sets the national conversation and zeitgeist.Facebook has tried to copy Twitter’s value proposition with its trending feature, but still trails in this regard.

That said, Twitter has a rather big problem it needs to address: abuse and harassment. Even CEO Dick Costolo acknowledges the issue; in a leaked memo to staff, Costolo wrote that “[W]e suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.” For a small snippet of Twitter’s not-so-great hits, consider the following:

  • After the suicide of her father, comedian Robin Williams, Zelda Williams briefly deleted her Twitter account from her devices after suffering sustained harassment and abusive comments.
  • After posting videos critical of gaming culture’s treatment of women, Anita Sarkeesian received death threats. That is not unheard-of with Twitter, but the threats were so specific they included her home address.
  • After poor reporting by Rolling Stone and a shifting victim’s story regarding an alleged rape at the University of Virginia, user Charles Johnson proudly leaked to Twitter a picture and previously undisclosed full name of the alleged victim.

Just peruse the retweets and quoted tweets of news organizations and you’ll probably feel a sense of displeasure over the angry discourse that’s gripped Twitter — even worse if the tweet mentions President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And while a certain level of anger is to be expected on the Internet, hate-filled, sexist, and racist comments are normal in Twitter feeds.

For many users, Twitter’s value proposition is overshadowed by the coarse and angry dialogue that is commonplace on the site. That’s a serious problem for marketers and, eventually, Twitter investors.

Coke’s “Make it Happy” campaign should scare Twitter investors

Twitter investors might think this isn’t a big issue. As an ad-based model all you care about is growing users, timeline views, and monetization metrics. And on a revenue (up 97% year over year) and adjusted earnings (up 500%) basis, Twitter just reported a fantastic quarter. That said, the failure of Coca-Cola’s “Make it Happy” campaign should give investors a reason to pause.

For those not following the story, Coca-Cola rolled out an ambitious campaign that used television and social media to connect to consumers. Ironically, the campaign centered on making the Internet a happier place. Coke put lots of advertising dollars to work by buying a Super Bowl ad. The Twitter component consisted of users tweeting negative comments to #MakeItHappy, and Coke would turn the words into cute ASCII images via automated response.

Unfortunately, Godwin’s Law was achieved for brand marketing. Coke was duped into tweeting passages from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf initially and soon gossip site Gawker got in on the action by providing more passages for conversion. While #MeinCoke trended just briefly, you can expect Coca-Cola is now looking at Twitter’s value proposition differently. Coke should have known better, as there is a long history of Twitter marketing campaigns and accounts going horribly awry — Google Chipotle hacked + Nazi for an even worse example.

Even scarier for advertisers, nobody seems intent on fixing the problem

The worst part for advertisers and brands is that, outside of Twitter’s lip service and modest reforms, nobody seems to care about fixing the problem. Even news organizations, the supposed pinnacle of restraint and balance, seem to err on the side of salaciousness in their Twitter feeds. Twitter is quickly becoming known as a rage curator, career/brand destroyer, and gaffe producer rather than as a viable marketing platform. In the end, there’s only so long companies will pay to advertise to an unruly mob.

Costolo commented in his memo that “We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.” At some point the CEO might have to say the same about advertisers, his true customers.

TIME Brands

Coca-Cola Is About to Start Selling a New Protein-Packed Milk

In this Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 photo, Fairlife milk products are on display in an Indianapolis grocery store.
Michael Conroy—AP In this Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 photo, Fairlife milk products are on display in an Indianapolis grocery store.

It's lactose-free and packed with 50% more protein than regular milk

Coca-Cola announced plans Tuesday to distribute a premium protein-packed milk under Minute Maid’s Fairlife brand across the U.S. next month.

The lactose-free milk will contain half the sugar of regular milk, 50% additional protein and 30% greater calcium, reports USA Today. Customers will be able to choose among whole milk, fat-free, chocolate and reduced-fat options with prices ranging from $3.98 to $4.20.

“I hope it’s Coke’s next billion-dollar brand,” said Fairlife CEO Steve Jones.

Coca-Cola’s decision to increase the milk’s protein content corresponds with an increased demand for protein among consumers. Data shows 71% of shoppers seek more protein in their diet, according to findings from market-research firm NPD Group.

Coca-Cola is hoping its premium milk will help boost sales, as fresh or pasteurized milk retail volume sales declined by 3% last year. Sales of carbonated beverages are also falling.

[USA Today]

TIME photography

See Photos of Vintage Coca-Cola Signs from New York City to Bangkok

On January 31, 1893, Coca-Cola became a registered trademark, launching what would come to be one of the most recognized brands in the world

In 1891, Asa Candler bought a company for $2,300. That price tag in today’s dollars is closer to $60,000, but still, not a bad deal for a business that would gross a profit of more than $30 billion in 2014. During the early years, Candler focused his efforts on building his brand, offering coupons for free samples and distributing tchotchkes with the company’s logo on them. The aggressive marketing paid off. By 1895, a glass of Coca-Cola could be found in every state in America.

By the time Henry Luce purchased LIFE Magazine in 1936, Coca-Cola was just years away from producing its billionth gallon of its trademark soda syrup. The pages of LIFE bubble with Coke ads, the first one appearing in 1937, and many issues included multiple invitations to “add zest to the hour” and take “the pause that refreshes.”

But LIFE was not only a purchaser of Coca-Cola advertising. LIFE’s photographers were also capturing the growing ubiquity of that Spencerian Script—the looping, cursive font of Coke’s logo—in places as far-reaching as Bangkok and the Autobahn. During the 1930s, the company had begun to set up bottling plants in other countries. But when General Eisenhower sent an urgent cable from North Africa in 1943, requesting that Coca-Cola establish more overseas bottling plants in order to boost soldiers’ morale, the wheels were set in motion for rapid international expansion. Wartime saw the addition of 64 foreign plants to the existing 44, and post-war growth continued steadily.

The photos here depict not just the way Coke began to blend into international surroundings—by the late 1960s, half of the company’s profits would come from foreign outposts—but also the wide array of American locales and subcultures the brand was penetrating. Led by company president Robert Woodruff, whose term began in 1923, Coca-Cola’s vigorous marketing efforts found footholds for the brand from segregated country stores to New York City’s Columbus Circle to roadside stands in Puerto Rico.

Of the dozens of slogans Coca-Cola has had over the years, the one it debuted in 1945 was certainly aligned with the global domination the company had set its sights on. “Passport to refreshment” was not just a clever pun, but a sign of things to come.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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