What is RC Cola?

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: December 22, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Everyone knows about popular sodas such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and 7UP. But have you ever gone to grocery stores and found some obscure sodas that you were curious about? If yes, RC Cola might be one of the soft drinks you’ve encountered. 

Despite being less popular, Royal Crown (RC) Cola has been around since the early 1900s. With more than a century of production, the company has made many sodas besides colas, such as fruit beverages and energy drinks.

There is so much more to RC Cola than what meets the eye, and it comes with a very interesting backstory. Keep reading this article to learn more about this soda.

Royal Crown Cola history

The first Royal Crown (RC) Cola product was created in 1905 by a pharmacist named Claud A. Hatcher in Columbus, Georgia. However, RC Cola’s history dates back a few years prior, with twists and turns.

In 1901, Hatcher worked at his family grocery store. Due to the increasing popularity of sodas, he bought a large supply of Coca-Cola syrup from one of the company’s local salespeople. Because he bought the Coke in bulk, Hatcher wanted a reduced price for the soda. However, the salesman refused to accept Hatcher’s demand.

This led to a bitter rivalry between the two. So Hatcher stopped selling Coke in his grocery store. Instead, he vowed to create a recipe for his own soda that could rival Coca-Cola. He started experimenting with recipes in his store’s basement and eventually came up with a recipe for the first RC Cola product in 1905, a ginger ale

This soda became such a hit that Hatcher started the Union Bottling Works in his family’s grocery store, effectively breaking into the soft-drink business. In 1907, the company created a new soda, the Chero-Cola. It became a best-selling product for the company and inspired its change in name to the Chero-Cola Company in 1917.

However, the company met with a lawsuit by Coca-Cola Company which claimed they had exclusive rights to the word “cola” in their name. As a result, the Chero-Cola company had to remove “cola” from its name in 1923. Soon after, they discontinued the Chero-Cola soda as well. 

Soon after, the company introduced a new fruit-flavored beverage called Nehi. This eventually resulted in the company officially changing its name to Nehi Incorporation in 1928. Soon after, the Great Depression began, and Nehi Inc. struggled. The lack of sales made it difficult to pay the bills. Eventually, Hatcher passed away in 1933.

Then, H.R. Mott, the company’s sales director, took over and made some changes. He discontinued the worst-selling drinks and even brought back the original Chero-Cola in 1934. He reintroduced the beverage as Royal Crown Cola. These decisions helped bring sales back up, and the company became debt-free within a year. 

Eventually, in 1951, Nehi Corp. was renamed Royal Crown Cola Company after the soda, and it has retained its name since. Over the years, RC Cola Company fulfilled many milestones, including becoming the first beverage company to sell its sodas in cans. It even introduced the first diet cola, caffeine-free cola, and cherry cola. 

Despite all the achievements, RC Cola products couldn’t rival other beverages such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi. 

crown plant copy of original photo

Is RC Cola the same as Coke?

Although both sodas are cola-flavored, RC Cola is not the same as Coke. Both drinks differ in their manufacturers and also in taste. 

RC Cola is a product of Keurig Dr Pepper in the U.S. and RC Global Beverages Inc. internationally. It has a longstanding rivalry with Coke, owned by The Coca-Cola Company, and has almost twice the number of sales as Keurig Dr Pepper beverages.

In taste, RC Cola is sweeter than Coke, as 12 oz RC Cola contains 43g sugar while 12 oz Coke has 39g sugar. Although this difference doesn’t seem as significant, the fact that RC Cola contains less carbonation than Coke makes it taste much sweeter than the other soda. 

royal crown cola

What does RC Cola taste like?

As a cola-flavored soda, RC Cola is known to have similar tastes to Pepsi and Coke. There are some differences, however, like sweetness, carbonation, and aftertaste for all three colas.

RC Cola contains 43 g of sugar, more than Pepsi and Coke. This is why it’s much sweeter than the other two beverages, which most consumers prefer less. Similarly, it has less carbonation than the others, which doesn’t give it that fizzy kick that sodas make you feel. It tastes bland when compared to the others. 

When RC Cola was first introduced, the company made it with real sugar cane, making it unique. However, today, soda contains high fructose syrup and artificial sweeteners such as Stevia instead. Although these new ingredients decreased the number of calories in the soda compared to the original, the change was met with negative feedback from many consumers.

rc in the sand

Brands that are part of the RC family

The RC family has been around since 1905. After more than a century of manufacturing and selling its products, the company has many different brands in its portfolio, such as Mighty Rain, RC Q, Rad Rain, etc.

RC Cola is the first cola-flavored soda manufactured by the RC Company. Back in the day, it gave Coca-Cola and Pepsi a run for their money, and it’s still manufactured and distributed in the U.S. and internationally. It also comes in flavors like RC Cola Coffee and RC Cola With Lemon.

Mighty Rain is another brand in the RC family. This soda has a refreshing citrus flavor that is often associated with strength. Its citrus burst and high carbonation make it an energizing drink, especially in the summertime.

RC Q is another part of the RC family, which the company originally introduced under the brand name Nehi in 1920. It comes in its classic orange flavor. However, the company has produced more fruit flavors in the RC Q line over the years, including grape, lemon-lime, and exotic. They also have different forms like original, diet, and zero, like other soft drinks.

Like other brands, the RC family also has a line of energy drinks called Rad Rain. This brand is known to create energizing drinks at affordable prices. Besides its classic flavor, it also comes in fruit flavors like mango and cran-orange. And if you like your energy drinks completely sugarless, it also has a sugar-free flavor to give you that much-needed dose of caffeine.


With over 100 years of production, RC Cola has been through many ups and downs. It has seen many good times, eventually becoming popular to distribute nationally and internationally. However, despite all its efforts, it never beat other cola-flavored sodas like Coke and Pepsi. 

Nevertheless, RC Cola still exists and can be found relatively easily in grocery stores all over the U.S. Some people still find it a good enough alternative to Coke or Pepsi. You should try this soda and see for yourself. Who knows? You may become one of the few who prefers this cola-flavored soda to other famous ones.