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The Secret Is Out: Coca-Cola’s Formula Is at the World of Coca-Cola

By:  Journey Staff Oct 16, 2012
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For most of the past 86 years, The Coca-Cola Company’s secret formula was locked away in a vault. But now fans can be closer than ever if they visit a permanent exhibit at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. The decision to relocate the recipe was sparked by a big date The Coca-Cola Company celebrated.

"This is the perfect culmination to our 125th-anniversary celebrations this year," says Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "By sharing this secret formula experience with our consumers, we celebrate both the rich history of the brand's beginnings and the moments of refreshment and happiness to come for future generations. This is yet another way we are recognizing and thanking everyone around the world who has made the Coca-Cola brand what it is today."

The Formula’s Journey

After Dr. John S. Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, the formula was kept a close secret, shared only with a small group and not written down. In 1892, Asa Candler became the sole proprietor of Coca-Cola after purchasing the rights to the business. Then, in 1919, Ernest Woodruff and a group of investors purchased the company from Candler and his family. To finance the purchase, Woodruff arranged a loan, using the secret formula as collateral. He asked Candler's son to write the formula down and placed the paper in a vault in the Guaranty Bank in New York until the loan was repaid in 1925. At that point, Woodruff reclaimed the secret formula, returned it to Atlanta and placed it in Trust Company Bank, now SunTrust, where it remained for 86 years until its recent move to the World of Coca-Cola.

What Visitors Will See at the New Location

Though the actual secret formula is destined to remain a mystery to most of the world, the exhibit, "The Vault of the Secret Formula," offers insight into the intrigue behind Coca-Cola’s most closely guarded trade secret.

  • Visitors may try their hand at re-creating the perfectly balanced taste of Coca-Cola with a virtual Taste Maker.
  • Coke aficionados may test their expertise in the Myths and Legends section of the exhibit, and they may deepen their knowledge around the secrets behind the secret formula by using their smartphones. QR codes are located throughout the exhibit; visitors who scan a code with a QR code reader on a smartphone get access to cool Coca-Cola facts as well as images and video.
  • Guests may even have a hand in protecting the secret in a full-body interactive game that takes visitors to locations where the secret formula has been kept over the years.

"The move of the Coca-Cola secret formula is a historic moment for the company," says Phil Mooney, director of archives, The Coca-Cola Company. "The company has always gone to great lengths to protect it, and now by safeguarding it at the World of Coca-Cola, we can share its legendary legacy with people around the world."

Facts for Visitors: The World of Coca-Cola is open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. For hours of operation and to purchase advance tickets, visit worldofcocacola.com.

The World of Coca-Cola is located at 121 Baker Street, in Pemberton Place, adjacent to the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. It is accessible via the Peachtree Center or CNN/World Congress Center MARTA stations. Consumers with questions about the attraction may call 800-676-COKE or visit worldofcocacola.com.


Get more interesting facts on the making of the exhibit from Ted Ryan, Director of Heritage Communications at The Coca-Cola Company.