11 Things You Didn't Know About Coca-Cola

can of coca cola
<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1306924p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Mejini Neskah</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>
<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1306924p1.html?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Mejini Neskah</a> / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/editorial?cr=00&pl=edit-00">Shutterstock.com</a>

Atlantans live in the hometown of the world’s best-known brand: Coca-Cola. That sweet, zingy soda pop will never lose a Pepsi Challenge inside the perimeter (especially with whiskey). That being said, there’s probably a lot you still don’t know about the elixir created by John Pemberton, commodified by Asa Griggs Candler, and consumed by everybody that’s ever lived. Crack a bottle and catch up on some lesser-known Coke facts.

Keanu Reeves owes his acting career to Coke

Back before he was Ted, Neo, Sad Keanu, or the homeless guy in Poetic Justice (seriously), he was in a Coke commercial. His character participates in a cycling race, comes in second, and reacts to his proud dad offering him ATL’s favorite soft drink by saying, “A Coke!,” (in a very Steven-Avery’s-nephew-like way). His last line -- “My DAD!” -- comes after someone asks who trained him (to come in second). But somehow it all seems lovingly doofus-y, meaning “very Keanu”, and thanks to the work that came after this break, he’s now rich and famous enough to buy the world a Coke.

Coke is a tasty way to stop an asthma attack

Your prescription inhaler is probably the best method for counteracting chronic breathing problems. But if it’s not handy -- or even if it is -- Coke tastes way better! Caffeine has been found to open the airways when asthmatics are wheezing or otherwise having trouble getting air. And since each 12oz can has 34mg of the hype, you have an excuse to keep chugging until you catch your second wind.

Coke's stock has more than doubled in the last 10 years

As beverage options have broadened and the market for drinkable liquids has expanded into things we didn’t even know could be ingested, The Coca-Cola Company has diversified to include some level of ownership in a lot of your other favorite brands. Do you like Keurig, Odwalla or Simply Orange? So does Coke, and they know you love all four, because they have the receipts. Therefore, a $20 share in 2006 is worth around $45 today, at least at press time. It might be a good time to buy, since Coke’s likely going to Cuba soon, but that’s just what Fidel Castro tells us, and you know how he is with money.

santa on cans of coke
Flickr/Mike Mozart

Coke invented Santa Claus

If you know St. Nicholas as a plump, white-haired, long-bearded member of the Bloods, you have been watching way too many episodes of Gangland. Santa likes to wear red because it was a fashion trait he was given by an artist named Haddon Sundblom, who was commissioned by Coke to draw him that way for the first time ever. Sure, St. Nick “existed,” but it was a Coke ad that cemented the image we’ve come to accept. The real question is, would Santa wear blue if Pepsi got to him first?

Coke owns Georgia

That’s not just a clever double entendre. Coca-Cola has a line of canned Japanese coffee beverages named “Georgia,” named after our state. Since 2009, it’s been available here in the US, but only in Asian supermarkets.

Coke money basically built Downtown Chattanooga

ATL’s Georgia Aquarium was inspired by Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium, which was built a few years prior and sits on the edge of the Tennessee River, next to the Tennessee Riverwalk, not far from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. These projects began and were helped greatly by the more than $50 million in funding support from John T. Lupton II, whose grandfather founded the JTL Corporation, which got the exclusive rights to bottle Coca-Cola from Asa Candler... for $1... in 1899.

coca cola cocktails
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Coke may or may not have a tiny bit of alcohol in it

You’ll drown before getting a buzz from Coke -- it’s still very much classified as a non-alcoholic beverage. Still, Huffington Post published a story in 2012, quoting research from the National Institute of Consumption (it’s French), that said that Coke and 18 other popular soft drink brands were 0.001% alcohol per liter. Coke says the alcohol could possibly come from one of its secret ingredients, but one of the company’s websites says “alcohol is not added as an ingredient and no fermentation takes place.”

New Coke was actually a big money maker for Coke

You may be too young to remember “New Coke,” but it was a remixed, sweetened version of the original Coke recipe that everybody already loved, which they got rid of entirely to launch the update. Let’s just say it got old quickly and has been known as one of the biggest marketing failures of all time. However, in the six months after the company killed the New and brought back the Classic, sales went through the roof, more than doubling Pepsi’s sales during the same period. THEN Coke released Coca-Cola Cherry right after, which was simply pure genius.

Factory error Coke cans sell for thousands

This fact is somewhere between the “Perri-Air” from Spaceballs and the ultimate win for whoever actually reaches for a Coke when they have asthma. Every once in awhile, a Coke can is accidentally sealed without anything inside but air. If you happen to find one of these, you can quickly make up to $10K -- judging by past and current eBay auctions. Hopefully you never found one and cursed out your gas station clerk after returning it for a refund.

kim jong un

Kim Jong Un gets no Coke

At one time there were only two countries in the world where you couldn’t buy Coca-Cola: Cuba and North Korea. And even then, as anybody who’s ever smoked a Cuban cigar can tell you, it wasn’t that hard in CastroLand. But now that we’re friends again, it’s only the so-called Hermit Kingdom that can’t drink from the fountain of the world’s biggest brand. Maybe stop firing off so many random missiles, dude.

Coke pumps from the heart of Mexico's former president

Before Vicente Fox rose to the height of political power in his country, he was a Harvard business school grad driving a Coke delivery truck. He stuck it out and rose through the ranks to run Coke in Mexico (and ultimately all of Latin America), presiding over the company at a time when it became Mexico’s top-selling soft drink. He even married a Coke receptionist.

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Mike Jordan liked New Coke waaaay better than Crystal Pepsi. He also likes Coke floats, and hopes one day Coke will make beer. Tweet him at @michaelbjordan. Notice the profile pic.