Growing up as the son of a Coca-Cola employee in Atlanta, I’ve heard the lore of the super-secret formula for Coke far more than most. The story of the original recipe for Coke was shrouded in mystery, and took on many forms; my favorite being that the only two living executives who know the formula are not allowed to fly on the same plane together, lest a crash result in the loss of everyone’s favorite soft drink forever.
Of course, there is an overwhelming amount of calculated marketing that has gone into those stories, and I’m sure the reality is much more mundane. But that has not stopped scores of opportunists from trying to expose the secret formula, including the ominous “7X” flavoring. The most recent and notable of these was just 2 years ago, when NPR’s This American Life dug up what they believed to be the recipe and posted it online, crashing their website with the influx of views. NPR’s source? A 1979 article from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Well, it seems the formula has reared its head again, and this time it will only cost you $15 million to own a copy.
Cliff Kluge of Ringgold, GA., was at an estate sale in Chattanooga – the home of the first Coca Cola Bottling Company – and purchased the belongings of a deceased chemist. Among the belongings, Kluge found what he believes to be a copy of the recipe typed up on January 15th, 1943. Currently, the only official copy of the recipe resides in a special vault here in Atlanta at the Coca-Cola Museum.
So what would you do if you found such a rare piece of US history? Put that thing on EBay, of course!
My favorite part is near the end where Kluge feels the need to really sell the recipe, not as a collector’s item (which, assuming it is authentic could easily be worth millions to the right collector) but instead as an opportunity to manufacture your own Coca-Cola:
You may find the “Buy It Now” price exceptionally steep, but it will be a drop in the bucket if this formula rises to the occasion and yields an accurate formula for Coca-Cola – the most popular drink in the world, with over a billion served daily. A billion plus per day – my goodness.
You can see the entire EBay listing here.
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog