Pepsi-Cola Trademarked

A group of men enjoying "Brad's Drink" in Bradham's Pharmacy in 1896.

A group of men enjoying “Brad’s Drink” in Bradham’s Pharmacy in 1896. Image from the N.C. Museum of History

On June 16, 1903, the U.S. Patent Office registered the trademark of New Bern, pharmacist Caleb Bradham’s new soft drink, Pepsi-Cola. Fond of concocting fresh syrup flavors to mix with soda water at his drugstore’s soda fountain, Bradham had developed the formula for his new beverage in 1893. His friends initially dubbed it “Brad’s Drink.” But in August 1898, Bradham renamed his product “Pepsi-Cola” after two of its ingredients: pepsin, a digestive enzyme, and kola nut extract. Other ingredients were sugar, vanilla, and “rare oils.”

Working in his pharmacy’s back room, Bradham launched the Pepsi-Cola Company and incorporated it in 1902. He first applied to register “Pepsi-Cola” as a trademark on September 23 of that year. The application, approved in 1903, described his product as “flavoring syrup for soda water.” At first, he mixed the syrup and sold it exclusively to soda fountains. Then, realizing that a ready-to-drink beverage might appeal to more people, he began bottling and franchising Pepsi-Cola in 1905. On April 15, 1905, he applied for a second Pepsi-Cola trademark for a “tonic beverage.” Registered a year later, that trademark was renewed and is currently owned by the multinational corporation, PepsiCo, Inc., of Purchase, N.Y.

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