Pepsi Plans New '1893' Soda

Product Named After Year When Pepsi Predecessor Was Born

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PepsiCo will launch a new soda brand called 1893, which is an apparent reference to the birth year of a predecessor to Pepsi-Cola known as "Brad's Drink."

A PepsiCo spokeswoman confirmed the launch of 1893 to Ad Age but provided no further details. The company in August filed a trademark application for the phrase "1893 From the makers of Pepsi-Cola."

The launch appears to be part of a recent strategy by the cola giant to create more premium cola brands to complement the mainstream Pepsi brand. Pepsi in late 2014 launched a new brand called Caleb's Kola that is made from cane sugar, kola nuts from Africa, spices and a hint of citrus. The cola is named for Pepsi inventor Caleb Bradham.

Pepsi inventor Caleb Bradham, c. 1900
Pepsi inventor Caleb Bradham, c. 1900 Credit: Wikimedia

Mr. Bradham ran a drug store in New Bern, N.C., where he created a beverage called "Brad's Drink" in 1893 that was made from sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives, according to pepsistore.com, which is an online store affiliated with the "Birthplace of Pepsi."

The birthplace site is in New Bern and is owned and operated by the Minges Bottling Group of North Carolina. "Brad's Drink" was renamed Pepsi-Cola in 1898.

The North Carolina History Project gives this account of the history of the cola:

The druggist invented the beverage not only to keep patrons but also to improve their health. Wanting to have a soft drink without the narcotics so frequently used in others, Bradham experimented with various combinations of juices, spices, and syrups. His customers most liked his vanilla, rare oils, and kola nut extract-combination. Bradham believed this particular product aided digestion and had no harmful effects (then it had no caffeine). The formula was soon nicknamed "Brad's Drink."

The launch of 1893 comes as Pepsi and other soda marketers deal with a long-term decline in soda consumption. Speaking last year about the Caleb's launch, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said "people still love the cola taste -- it's just lost some of its cool factor and I think products like Caleb's are bringing back some of the cool factor."

PepsiCo also recently confirmed a new line of craft sodas called "Stubborn Soda" that will be sold at fountains at select foodservice accounts.

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