I did an interview this morning with Newstalk 6PR radio station in Perth, Australia. Of course, that means it was an evening radio show in Australia! One part of my job is to serve as a Coke spokesperson on our heritage, history and collectibles. That means I sometimes see myself on re-runs of food or travel shows when I’m not expecting it!
Graham Mabury, the host of the program, asked me about an anniversary from today -- the first person to put Coke into bottles. I have to admit that there is a bit of discrepancy around which specific date this bottling began, but I was happy to talk to the people in Perth anyway!
Some of you may know about our bottling system today – the Company (where I work) makes the syrup for Coke and our other drinks, while bottling companies produce the finished product. (You can read more about bottling here.)
The basis for today’s system of bottling Coke began in 1899. However, a few years earlier, in 1894, a man named Joseph Biedenharn of Vicksburg, Mississippi, actually became the first person to put Coke into bottles and sell it.
He noticed the growing demand for Coca-Cola at his soda fountain, but he wanted to reach the people living in the country and working on farms around the Mississippi River as well. So he installed bottling machinery in his store, becoming the first to put Coca-Cola in bottles!
I’ve included a photo of what the bottles he used looked like. (These bottles, called “Hutchinson” bottles, are highly collectible today. If you happen to have one, hang on to it!)
More on Journey
- Sitting In and Standing Up: Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Movement Reflect on Soda Fountain Protests
- Muhtar Kent Reflects on His Coca-Cola Journey and Legacy as Company’s 15th Chief Executive
- A Slice of Coca-Cola History: Beloved Kentucky Bottling Plant Reborn as Mellow Mushroom Pizzeria
- Meet Shirley Hasley: The Accidental Coke Model Who Helped Make History
- Primary Color: Why Sprite Has Sported Green Since 1961