Which Is Older, Pepsi Or Coke?

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: December 23, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

It doesn’t matter if you drink soda occasionally, regularly, or like your life depends on it – the Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola debate is one we’re all familiar with. Both soda companies have had a rivalry for the history books, ongoing for over a century now. 

At the end of the day, there are two types of soda fanatics; those who drink Coke and those who drink Pepsi. It goes without saying that neither will hesitate to prove the superiority of their preferred beverage. 

Both sodas unofficially reign supreme in the carbonated drink world. Keep reading to find out more about how these beverages originated.

Are Pepsi And Coke The Same Thing?

Being two of the largest food and beverage brands in the world, PepsiCo and the Coca-Cola Company both have flourishing global markets with hundreds of products. You’d be surprised to know that these multi-millionaire companies have unexpectedly humble beginnings. 

But first, the age-old question: are both sodas the same thing?

Well, essentially, yes; both Coke and Pepsi are predominantly cola brands before anything else. However, since both brands are owned by different companies, there are several factors that set them apart, such as their unique flavor and production. As a consequence, their roles as mixers in alcoholic drinks are poles apart as well.

Flavor

Let’s be honest – Pepsi is known for being sweeter than Coke. Any Coke enthusiast will tell you this right off the bat. It’s no secret that Pepsi has more sugar than Coke does: two more grams per serving, which means it has more caffeine and calories too. 

When you look into the flavors in each soda, however, Pepsi contains citric acid and Coke does not – which makes Pepsi have more of a citrus-y taste. Coke, on the other hand, has a more vanilla-raisin flavor to it, and if you really savor both sodas next time you drink them, it might just make sense to you. 

Similarly, Coke is smoother going down as Pepsi’s flavor is more intense; you can chug a Coke, but chugging a Pepsi isn’t as easy. On the other hand, Coke is higher in sodium content and its fizziness – among other things – leaves Pepsi behind in the rat race. 

Production

Yep, there’s more to both sodas than just their flavor differences. The way both sodas are manufactured plays a big part, since the ingredients and additives are different.. 

Coke, for starters, uses a different sweetener than Pepsi. As a result of the sugar trade war, the newest version of Coke (known as Mexican Coke) does not use high-fructose corn syrup anymore.

Instead, the company is utilizing cane sugar, and the reviews have been pretty great so far; it changes the flavor in such a way that the drink ends up tasting more authentic and less artificial. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, this is why most Coke enthusiasts prefer this new sweetener over the old one. 

glass of coke soda

Which Cola Brand Is The Oldest?

Coke and Pepsi both originated over a century ago in the late 1800’s. 

Coke was created before Pepsi and is the older cola brand. Coca-Cola’s original syrup was produced by John Pemberton, a chemist from Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886 – seven years before Pepsi was invented in New Bern, North Carolina by a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham. 

The Creation Of Coca-Cola 

Dr. John Pemberton developed the original Coca-Cola syrup, and when he took it to a local pharmacy, the reviews were great; everyone loved it. From then on, the syrup was mixed with carbonated water and sold for 5 cents per serving. 

Frank M. Robinson was Pemberton’s bookkeeper and the man behind both the name Coca-Cola and the logo, that is, to this day, part of the branding. 

Sadly enough, Pemberton passed away in 1888, and Asa G. Candler purchased the company for $2,300, which quickly led to the drastic expansion of the Coca-Cola Company.

The Making Of Pepsi

Five years later, Pepsi came into being in New Bern, North Carolina. Initially, the drink was coined “Brad’s Drink” after Caleb Bradham himself, with the pharmacist selling it at his own pharmacy. The beverage quickly became a favorite among the locals, and in 1903 Bradham finally trademarked his invention as Pepsi-Cola, as reported by VinePair magazine.

Starting off as a state-wide seller, the brand rapidly grew bigger over the next decade, and soon enough, there were 24 states with Pepsi-Cola franchises – 10 in each!

Believe it or not, both cola brands coexisted pretty peacefully till the 1980s, i.e. when the Cola Wars began. Today, both companies are separated by a relatively thin margin regarding their market caps: Coca-Cola boasts a market cap of $261.3 billion, and PepsiCo stands tall at $237.1 billion. 

Is Crush A Pepsi Product?

can of crush soda

Crush is not owned by PepsiCo or Coca-Cola. However, Pepsi and Coca-Cola both have partnerships with Keurig Dr. Pepper, which is the current owner of Crush, to distribute the soda in specific parts of the world.

The biggest PepsiCo Crush distributor is the Pepsi Bottling Group in Canada, while the Coca-Cola Company distributes the beverage in Lebanon and Latin America. 

What Is The Oldest Soda Ever Made?

bottles of schweppes soda

Schweppes is the first company in the world to manufacture and sell carbonated water and is thus considered the oldest soda worldwide. Geneva’s Johann Jacob Schweppe, the founder of Schweppes, founded the company in 1783.

The reason behind Schweppes’ rapid fame was simple: the initial container of the carbonated water was the first glass bottle to preserve carbonation.

Is Big Red A Pepsi Product?

big red soda

Big Red, like Crush, is not owned by PepsiCo or Coca-Cola. However, it is produced and distributed by several independent bottlers like Keurig Dr Pepper and the Pepsi Bottling Group in agreements with Big Red Inc., which is based in Texas.

Backed by the Citigroup Venture Capital, Gary Smith purchased Big Red Ltd. in 2007, and is now the CEO of Big Red and All Sport Inc. A year later, Keurig Dr Pepper bought minority shares in Big Red Inc., and it now distributes 80% of the product per year.

Which Is Better In Cocktails: Pepsi Or Coke?

Let’s be real – Coke tops the charts when it comes to soda that goes well with alcoholic drinks. There seems to be unanimous agreement that Coke mixes pretty well in a cocktail. In fact, mixing Coke with rum goes as far back as the year 1902. 

Marked by the historical end of the Spanish-American War, Cuba was newly independent at the time. Cuba’s celebratory drink, the Cuba Libre, was a cocktail made of honey, rum and lemon juice. When Coke became readily available in the country, it replaced honey in the cocktail, and the Rum and Coke combo was born.

Pepsi isn’t on the same level. This isn’t because the soda is a bad mixer – it has more to do with the disparity between Coke and Pepsi’s marketing successes during that time. After the European sugar shortage in the 1920s, most soda businesses went bankrupt. Coke, however, managed to survive by taking loans from a bank, and had the soda market to itself. 

Risky, yes, but it paid off; Coke was already a popular mixer thanks to Rum and Coke, while Pepsi was still struggling to enter the cocktail world. 

On top of that, Rum and Coke suddenly became impenetrably popular after the song “Rum and Coca-Cola” by Morey Amsterdam was released. Performed by the Andrews sisters, this jingle rapidly became one of the most popular songs of the 1940s. 

To put it simply, Pepsi doesn’t have any shortcoming that makes it an unpopular mixer; it’s the after-effects of Coke’s hugely successful marketing tactic that last to this day. Bars, for example, still stock up on Pepsi, but 9/10 chances are that a customer would go for a Rum and Coke rather than a Rum and Pepsi – unless they prefer Pepsi on its own too.

Conclusion

Both cola brands have had their fair share of ups and downs – not to mention rivalry with each other – in the past couple of centuries. Though Coca-Cola is inarguably the older company, it goes without saying that both beverages have played a gigantic role in the globalization of carbonated drinks. 

Not only are they infamous on their own, but the brands created under their labels over the years have exponentially increased their successes.