Coca-Cola Only Sold 25 Bottles Its First Year?


Coca-Cola only sold 25 bottles in its first year of production.



An X post from user @historyinmemes on June 12, 2024, amassed over 17,000 likes and 1,600 reposts with an astonishing claim: “Coca-Cola sold only 25 bottles in its first year of operation.” Similar posts followed suit. 

One X user shared a similar motivational message stating, “Coca-Cola only sold nine bottles of Coke in their first year of operation in 1886. Please fact-check. Today, they sell 2 billion bottles and cans every day.” 

In response to @historyinmemes’ post, another user shared, “Coca-Cola sold only 9 bottles per day in its first year. Now, more than 1 billion are sold in a single day.”

As it turns out, all of the claims are false.

According to the Coca-Cola company’s website, under the “History” section, a pop-up “The Origin of Coca-Cola” states: 

“On May 8, 1886, Dr. John Pemberton brought his perfected syrup to Jacobs’ Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta where the first glass of Coca‑Cola was poured. Serving about nine drinks per day in its first year, Coca‑Cola was an exciting new drink in the beginning.” 

That means the company sold nine soda fountain drinks per day in its first year of operation, which was 1886. The Coca-Cola company didn’t sell its first bottle until 1894, eight years after the first fountain drink was sold in Atlanta. According to a 2023 article on the company’s website, “The Asa Candler Era,” Joseph A. Biedenharm was the first to bottle the drink. 

“In 1894, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Joseph A. Biedenharn was so impressed by the growing demand for Coca‑Cola at his soda fountain that he installed bottling machinery in the rear of his store and began to sell cases of Coca‑Cola to farms and lumber camps up and down the Mississippi River. He was the first bottler of Coca‑Cola.” 

The Coca-Cola business boasts humble beginnings, which is surprising when you consider how profitable the company is now. Its website reports, “More than 1.9 billion servings of our drinks are enjoyed in more than 200 countries each day.” Considering the company started out selling a modest nine servings per day for only five cents per drink, its growth to date is pretty astounding. 

In an article by Michael Brooks for 

“So, let’s do some quick math. The first year, 365 days, with “modest” nine servings a day for not only a new product, but also for a new concept. That’s 3,285 servings during the first business year. Five cents per serving (glass) should give us $164.25. Based on the inflation calculator, one dollar in 1886 should be worth $29.18 today. Not even five gees, gee.” 

No matter how seemingly motivating the viral claims are, to state that Coca-Cola sold 25 (or nine) bottles in its first year is incorrect. In its first year, 1886, the company sold nine servings from a soda fountain per day. It didn’t start selling bottles until 1894, when the first bottled Coca-Cola hit the markets. 

For this reason, we have labeled the claim, “False.” 

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