|Country of origin
Cola is a carbonated beverage that was originally flavoured and caffeinated by the kola nut, as well as by vanilla and other ingredients. However, most colas now use other flavouring (and caffeinating) ingredients with a similar taste. It became popular worldwide after druggist John Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886. His non-alcoholic recipe was inspired by the Coca wine of pharmacist Angelo Mariani, created in 1863; it still contained cocaine. Coca-Cola is a major international brand, and is associated with the United States. It usually contains caramel colour, caffeine and sweeteners such as sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
Despite the name, the primary modern flavouring ingredients in a cola drink are sugar, citrus oils (from oranges, limes, or lemon fruit peel), cinnamon, vanilla, and an acidic flavourant. Manufacturers of cola drinks add trace ingredients to create distinctively different tastes for each brand. Trace flavourings may include nutmeg and a wide variety of ingredients, but the base flavourings that most people identify with a cola taste remain vanilla and cinnamon. Acidity is often provided by phosphoric acid, sometimes accompanied by citric or other isolated acids. Many cola drink recipes are maintained as corporate trade secrets, notably including Coca-Cola's recipe.
A variety of different sweeteners may be added to cola, often partly dependent on local agricultural policy. High-fructose corn syrup is predominantly used in the United States and Canada due to the lower cost of government-subsidized corn. In Europe, however, HFCS is subject to production quotas designed to encourage the production of sugar; sugar is thus typically used to sweeten sodas. In addition, stevia or an artificial sweetener may be used; "sugar-free" or "diet" colas typically contain artificial sweeteners only.
Some consumers prefer the taste of soda manufactured with sugar. As a result of this, there is demand in the United States for imported Mexican Coca-Cola. Kosher for Passover Coca-Cola sold in the U.S. around the Jewish holiday also uses sucrose rather than HFCS and is also highly sought after by people who prefer the original taste. In addition, PepsiCo has recently been marketing versions of its Pepsi and Mountain Dew sodas that are sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS. These are marketed under the name Throwback and became "permanent" products on the lineup.
A 2007 study found that consumption of colas, both those with natural sweetening and those with artificial sweetening, was associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease. The phosphoric acid used in colas was thought to be a possible cause.
The cola brands with the greatest global volumes are Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
- Amrat Cola, popular in Pakistan.
- Campa Cola was India's most popular brand prior to the introduction of Pepsi and Coca-Cola to the Indian market in 1991.
- Future Cola, a local brand in China.
- KIK cola, popular in Sri Lanka.
- Mecca Cola, sold in the Middle East, parts of Europe and North Africa.
- Pakola, popular in Pakistan.
- Parsi Cola, popular in Iran.
- Red Bull Cola, popular in Thailand.
- RC Cola was popular in the Philippines. Also was available in Bangladesh and Israel.
- Thums Up, popular in India.
- Topsia Cola, popular in Iran.
- Cola Turka is a local brand in Turkey.
- Zam Zam Cola, popular in Iran and parts of the Arab world.
- Afri-Cola, a German brand, had a higher caffeine content (about 250 mg/L) until the product was relaunched with a new formulation in 1999. It was relaunched a second time in April 2006 with the original formulation with the higher caffeine content.
- Barr Cola made by A.G. Barr (the makers of the popular Irn Bru drink) in the United Kingdom.
- Breizh Cola is a local brand from Brittany (France). It offers different and unique flavours like a cloves aroma, bottled in an original cider bottle.
- Cola Cola — Albania
- Cockta is a local brand from former Yugoslavia, originally produced by Slovenijavino company from Slovenia (then part of Yugoslavia). A couple of years ago it was bought by Droga Kolinska, a Croatian company. It is still popular in former Yugoslav republics, especially in Slovenia and Croatia. It does not contain any caffeine.
- Cuba Cola is the native cola of Sweden.
- Irish Cola is a local brand in Ireland.
- In Denmark, the native Jolly Cola was more popular than Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola during the 1960s and 70s.
- Fritz-kola is a cola soft drink from Hamburg, Germany. It uses the highest possible concentration of caffeine for beverages allowed by German law (25 mg / 100ml) and is available in most of Germany, as well as parts of western and central Europe.
- Kofola is the third best selling soft-drink in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, behind Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
- Polo-Cockta, a Polish brand.
- Red Bull Cola has been available throughout Europe since 2008.
- Ubuntu Cola is a fairtrade cola from the United Kingdom available in parts of Western Europe.
- Virgin Cola was popular in South Africa and Western Europe in the 1990s but has waned in availability.
- Vita-Cola is a German cola brand with a distinct citrus flavour; nowadays it is mostly sold in eastern Germany.
- Kletta Gos Cola — Iceland
- Corsica Cola is a regional cola distributed by the Corsican brewery Pietra.
- RC Cola — now sold in the United Kingdom and in Sweden.
A can of generic brand Cola
- Royal Crown (RC Cola) is widely available in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
- Big Cola (Big Cola) made by Peruvian transnational Ajegroup and is sold in the northern parts of Mexico.
- Inca Kola: not a cola. (In Peru and much of Spanish-speaking South America, "Kola" with a "K" is the generic term used for any flavour of carbonated soft drink, not only colas). The Peruvian soft drink brand is marketed in many countries by the Coca-Cola group. It is the number one selling soft drink in Peru outselling Coca-Cola nationwide. This bright yellow bubblegum-flavoured carbonated beverage is especially popular in Peru, once the heartland of the Inca Empire, but Inca Kola also sells well in surrounding countries. In 2000, Coca-Cola bought 49 percent of Corporación José R. Lindley S.A., the creator and producer of Inca Kola, securing the worldwide distribution rights to Inca Kola as part of the agreement.
- Cott produces many house brand beverages as well as its own line of products, most notably its Black Cherry cola.
- TuKola and Tropicola are brands from Cuba (also sold widely in Italy).
- Fentimans Curiosity Cola, originating from the United Kingdom in 1905, is now sold across Europe and North America.
- Jones Soda also makes a cola, using cane sugar.
- Jolt Cola is sold by Wet Planet Beverages, of Rochester, New York. Originally, the slogan was "All the sugar and twice the caffeine." It dropped the slogan when it switched from cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup.
- Johnnie Ryan is a regional cola bottled in Niagara Falls, New York. Established in 1935, it makes it with 100% cane sugar and also sells 22 other flavours.
- Polar Beverages of Worcester, Ma produces its own brand of cola under the Polar name.
- Red Bull Cola has been available in the United States since 2008.
- Faygo Cola is a soft drink distributed in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Central Southern regions of the United States. Faygo can be found in some regions of Canada, Cola being one of more than fifty flavours.
- Jarritos Cola is a type of cola from Mexico, while popular and native to Mexico, it is widely distributed mainly to Latino citizens of the United States.
The word cola may have been introduced into mainstream culture by the major producer Coca-Cola, as it saw its trademark slipping into common use, like other genericized trademarks. It has tried to maintain the exclusive right to sell products using the "Coca-Cola" name and its diminutive form "Coke", by suggesting the alternative of "cola drink" as a generic name for similar types of carbonated soft drinks. The word cola as part of the Coca-Cola trademark may have originated from the kola nuts that were originally used as the source of caffeine.
In recent years, "anti-diet colas" have been created as alternatives to the "flavourless" diet colas.