Is the Coca-Cola company's secret recipe just a bunch of hot fizz?
A Spanish town claims that the most famous soft drink in the world was invented not by an Atlanta-based pharmacist, but in a 126-year-old liquor factory across the Atlantic, Public Radio International reports.
Town of Ayelo resident JuanJo Mica, fourth-generation operator of the Fabrica de Liquores, or the Liquor Factory, says that his family's invention, Cola-Coca, is the "real thing."
"My great-great uncle took his cola coca syrup to America that same year, 1884, and won a prize at a fair in Philadelphia," he said. "Supposedly, the Americans tried it, liked it and two years later their soft drink, Coca-Cola, was born."
If the Mica family elders did in fact whip up the dark syrupy beverage in 1884, that would put the Ayelo concoction two years ahead of John Pemberton, the pharmacist popularly credited with inventing Coca-Cola.
Not surprisingly, the Coca-Cola historian in Atlanta, Phil Mooney, begs to differ.
"We have had, at various points in time, claims from places like Scotland and India that the formula originated there," he said in a phone interview. "One of the great things about having a secret recipe is that these sorts of stories pop up periodically."
This isn't the first time Coke has been the object of a public radio investigation. Last February, Ira Glass and "This American Life" claimed that the program discovered the recipe on page 2B of the Feb. 18, 1979, edition of theAtlanta Journal-Constitution.