New Bern, North Carolina: Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola

The Birthplace of Pepsi, located in historic New Bern, North Carolina, is the actual site where Pepsi-Cola was first invented by Caleb Bradham in his pharmacy in 1898. Photo by David Taylor

By David Taylor

It all started in New Bern, North Carolina when medical a student at the University of Maryland named Caleb Bradham was forced to drop out of medical school and return home to North Carolina.

After teaching school for a bit back home, Bradham opened a drug store on the corner of Middle and Pollock Streets. Bradham’s Drug Store would later become the very place Pepsi-Cola was invented. In 1893, “Brad’s Drink,” made from a mix of sugar, water, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg, and other natural additives, became an overnight sensation.

Street marker in New Bern. Photo by David Taylor.

On August 28, 1898, Bradham renamed his drink “Pepsi-Cola.” In late 1902, the Pepsi-Cola Company was formed due to the rising popularity and demand for the Pepsi-Cola Syrup with none other than Caleb Bradham as the first president. By 1905, Pepsi-Cola was being sold out of glass 6oz bottles, and within a few years, Pepsi-Cola was franchised in over 24 states. And, the rest is history, as we all know. Pepsi is a favorite with folks from all around the world.

Photo by David Taylor

You can still visit Brandham’s Pharmacy, which serves as the official birthplace of the iconic soft drink.

You can visit the instore gift shop, or if you haven’t been able to make there yet, you can visit the gift shop online.

The birthplace of Pepsi is teeming with nostalgia with so many items on display for visitors to check out while they are enjoying an ice-cold Pepsi. Just don’t ask for a Coca-Cola.

In addition to being the birthplace of Pepsi, New Bern offers a wide variety of other activities for visitors. Click here to learn more.


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