New Coke Wasn’t the Real Thing

Classic Coke

Classic Coca Cola logo

Saturday, April 22 — On this date 32 years ago, executives at one of America’s and the world’s most famous consumer brands were confidently looking forward to the morrow. After much research, experimentation and extensive taste testing, a reformulated Coca-Cola was launched on April 23, 1985. The historic company was surprised by the negative, noisy consumer reaction, and New Coke became something of a synonym for product failure.

The original Coca-Cola, designated as “Classic,” was rushed back to retailers by July 11 that year. New Coke staggered on for a time alongside “the Real Thing,” but is no longer available in the U.S. Over 480 American companies engage in soft drink manufacturing, employing 51,000 people in the $38 billion a year business.

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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