The Independent Soft Drink
Since its launch in 1905, RC Cola has been a soft drink that embodies individuality and entrepreneurial spirit. RC’s crisp, clean taste distinguishes it from other colas, and has become a favorite of cola drinkers throughout America.
RC originated in Columbus, Ga., when a young pharmacist named Claud A. Hatcher decided to supply his family’s grocery store with drinks that he produced and bottled. Hatcher called his first line of beverages “Royal Crown,” and the first cola product “Chero-Cola.” Other early products included Royal Crown Ginger Ale, Royal Crown Strawberry and Royal Crown Root Beer.
Sales grew steadily and in 1912 Hatcher’s basement bottling activities grew into the Chero-Cola Co. Sixteen years later, he renamed the company Nehi Corporation, after the successful line of fruity beverages he had developed.
After Hatcher’s death in 1933, Vice President H.R. Mott took control of the company and quickly streamlined operations to make the company debt-free within the year. Part of Mott’s plan was the reformulation of the classic Chero-Cola into a more refreshing beverage. Chemist Rufas Kamm was given the responsibility of coming up with the new flavor, which took six months to perfect. The new cola was released to the public with the name of Hatcher’s original line of beverages: Royal Crown.
Royal Crown Cola was an instant sensation. RC Cola, as it is now called, was such a success that the company was eventually renamed Royal Crown Cola Co. By 1940, RC products were available in 47 of the 48 states.
RC continued to expand throughout the following decade and began to advertise more aggressively. Advertisements were inserted into publications such as Saturday Evening Post and Good Housekeeping, and endorsements by Hollywood stars such as Joan Crawford, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby were featured on billboards throughout the nation.
As RC continued to grow, it stayed true to its independent personality by producing innovation after innovation. In 1954, the company became the first to nationally distribute soft drinks in cans. Four years later, the company introduced the 16-ounce bottle.
In terms of beverages, RC produced the first low-calorie diet cola (Diet Rite), the first caffeine-free diet cola (RC 100) and the first diet cherry cola (Diet Cherry RC). Other RC innovations include the all-aluminum beverage can and Royal Crown Draft cola, a premium cola made with pure sugar cane.
The RC Cola brand was acquired in October 2000 by London-based Cadbury Schweppes plc. Today, RC Cola continues under the ownership of Plano, Texas-based Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, the largest subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes plc.
What’s in a name? RC Cola received its name from the people who matter the most: its consumers. When the reformulated product was released in 1934, the manufacturer named it “Royal Crown Cola.” As the soft drink became increasingly successful, consumers affectionately abbreviated the name to “RC.”