The first thing to note is that the precise number of people who have learned the process of making Coca-Cola is not widely known. However, it’s probably more than two because of the volume of syrup produced every day, with slightly different ingredients from different regions of the globe, means that a lot of people must know at minimum, substantial parts of each of the ingredient (and the appropriate amounts of them) to be able to maintain supply. This volume would not be scalable to just two people who know what goes into making the beverage, mainly if the extension of this legend were to be accurate, that everyone only knows half of all ingredients, apart from not scaling well and causing the perfect recipe for catastrophe (pun intended) if something happened in the hands of one and the incident wasn’t recorded elsewhere. This is one reason why Coca-Cola stated that they were “two” executives aren’t permitted to travel in a plane together in a single ad campaign.
In the simplest sense, those ingredients likely are the same, although maybe not in the exact amounts, are well-known by many employees of Coca-Cola. For instance, a few accountants in the company, especially the top executives, are probably in the know about what goes into the staple drink of the company. Invoices will create a thorough paper trail. It would be easy to find the exact list of ingredients regardless of whether the company has multiple factories that produce different components that comprise the syrup. It is also slightly harder to calculate precisely what proportions are needed for each ingredient being delivered to factories and the actual production of syrup that is released.
A few people worldwide have heard of the secret formula behind Coca-Cola.
Following Dr. John S. Pemberton’s creation of Coca-Cola in 1886, his formula was a closely guarded secret, only being shared with an intimate group of people and not kept in a notebook.
As of 1891, Asa Candler was named the sole owner of Coca-Cola after acquiring all rights in the company. Then, in 1919 Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors bought the Company from Asa and his family.
To fund the purchase, Ernest secured a loan and, as collateral, he offered evidence of the formula soliciting Asa, the son of Candler, to write down the formula. This was put in a vault at the Guaranty Bank in New York until fully repaid in 1925.
Then, Ernest reclaimed the secret formula, took it back to Atlanta, and put it into the Trust Company Bank (now SunTrust).
In 2011, when Coca-Cola commemorated its 125th worldwide anniversary, The secret formula was transferred to a vault in the World of Coca-Cola.
How it is Kept Secret:
The original formula is stored in an unidentified SunTrust Bank in Atlanta. To keep SunTrust in the background, Coke gave them some 48.3 million shares of stock and had CEOs from both companies serve on their respective boards of directors.
The company has rules and regulations regarding the Secret that go from the skeptical (the two top executives were aware of the formula couldn’t fly in the same aircraft) to the absurd (no person could have a view of this formula with God, Jesus, and Elvis present or anything in that manner).
It’s all a waste of time, ultimately. Coca-Cola still gets some of its flavors from the coca plant, which cocaine comes from. Because of the obvious drug-related issues that arise from importing large quantities of the coca plant to America, legally, only one company has the government’s permission to do so. This company is Coca-Cola. Even if someone broke into a bank and managed to steal the recipe, they’d never be able to create the exact copycat Coke.
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