Coca-Cola (or Coke) is a carbonated soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and one of the best known brand names in the world. Coca-Cola is the official sponsor for many sporting events, for example the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, various teams in the Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League. In recent years, Coca-Cola has been criticized because of its high content of sugar, which, if consumed excessively, could cause obesity.
John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist, invented Coca-Cola in 1886. He had success selling the beverage to drug stores as a soda fountain drink, but quickly began selling off portions of the business. In 1888, Pemberton sold his remaining interest to Asa Candler. Candler in turn bought up the pieces previously sold by Pemberton, gaining complete control of the product in 1891. By 1893, Candler had incorporated The Coca-Cola Company and registered Coca-Cola as a U.S. trademark.
In the early years of Coca-Cola, the product was sold only as a syrup to be mixed with soda water at the point of sale. Asa Candler focused wholly on the fountain sales model, and gave no encouragement to a Vicksburg, Mississippi candy store owner who sent him a case of bottled, ready-to-drink Coca-Cola. However, in 1899 Candler met with two attorneys from Chattanooga, Tennessee, who were convinced that bottling Coca-Cola was a viable business opportunity. Candler was skeptical, but was finally persuaded to sell Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead exclusive bottling rights for most of the United States. The deal was made for one dollar. Thomas and Whitehead, along with Jack T. Lupton, founded the Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Company, the first official bottler.