Who Knows the Secret Coca-Cola Formula?

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Coca-Cola has moved its top-secret formula to an exhibit in Atlanta where the world can now see the recipe -- or at least see the vault it is housed in.

The 125-year-old closely-guarded recipe has been kept inside a vault at the SunTrust Bank in Atlanta since 1925. It was moved under strict security on Sunday, according to Coca-Cola marketing manager Jacquie Wansley.

This was really a great way to put a capstone on our 125th anniversary year by bringing our secret formula to the World of Coca-Cola, said Wansley. 

It has been moved to a 10-foot tall vault at the World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta. The exhibit opened to the public on Thursday, reports ABC News. The formula will remain permanently at its new home.

This is a special day in Coca-Cola history, and the perfect culmination to our 125th anniversary celebrations this year, chief executive Muhtar Kent said in a statement Thursday.

Coca-Cola 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, added Phil Mooney, director of archives.

So who knows the secret Coca-Cola formula?

According to Wansely, not many.

Not a lot of people know, said Wansley, who doesn't know herself. We don't know how many people know.

Legend has it that only two Coca-Cola executives know it and each knows only half. However, this has been debunked as a mere theme from an old advertising campaign.

However, the secret recipe has been closely protected since it was penned by Dr. John S. Pemberton in 1886. At that time, the formula was reportedly only known by a handful of individuals and was never written down, according to Yahoo! News.

Robert Winship Woodruff was the president of Coca-Cola from 1923 to 1954 and built it into an international empire. In 1991, in order to secure an essential bank loan to develop the company, Woodruff had to disclose the written formula as collateral. This information was then placed in a vault in New York until the loan was paid off in full in 1925.  

In 1977, the company pulled out of India rather than reveal the recipe to government officials there, as Coca-Cola would have been legally obligated to divulge a list of ingredients in order to sell in the country.

In 1993 For God, Country and Coca-Cola, written by Mark Pendergast, raised eyebrows and questions over whether the author had retrieved a copy of the recipe. Coca-Cola officials refuted this, calling the book the latest in a long line of previous, unsuccessful attempts to reveal a 107-year-old mystery. It added that the secret formula and process of manufacture remain a secret and that the book falls short of being a totally truthful effort.

It has even been the subject of a divorce settlement. According to an article from The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 4, 1996, Frank Robinson, the great-grandson of the co-founder of Coca-Cola, was supposedly willing to sell a Coca-Cola formula that was written by his grandfather. Mr. Robinson was going through a divorce at the time and his wife claimed the formula belonged to her. She said it was given to her as a pre-marriage gift. The company denied the legitimacy of that recipe. 

Among the ingredients Pendergast listed were the fluid extract of coca leaves, caffeine, vanilla extract, lime juice, citric acid, alcohol and various natural flavors including orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander.

Others ascertain that the recipe has only been revealed to a select few Coca-Cola employees, mostly executives. 

The shroud of mystery has certainly worked in the company's favor. The top-secret recipe has been used as a marketing tool to help enhance the specialness of the beverage.

What is known to many is that the formula has not changed in 125 years.

The formula for Coca-Cola has remained the same for 125 years, except for New Coke, which lasted for 79 days in 1985 and was dismissed after widespread public disproval, Wansley said.

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