On December 30, 1851, Asa Briggs Candler was born to Samuel and Martha Candler in Villa Rica, Georgia. Young Candler was the eighth child out of eleven children. As a child he only received sporadic schooling, as his classes were often interrupted for long periods due to unrest caused by the Civil War. In 1870, he dropped out of High School and started working as an apprentice for George Jefferson Howard at a drugstore in Atlanta, Georgia. He found he really enjoyed working in the pharmaceutical industry, and thus gradually worked his way up. By 1886, he had opened his own drug store, which became the largest drug company in Atlanta just two years later.
One of his acquaintances and drug store competitors Dr. John Styth Pemberton, had developed a soda made out of homemade concoction which he was calling Coca Cola and it apparently was starting to become popular with some of Dr. Pembertons’ customers. Mr. Candler, saw a market for this odd new soda and offered to buy the recipe and rights for this drink for $2,300 dollars. His offer was accepted and he purchased Coca Cola in 1887. At first he marketed this product in syrup form so that other drugstore owners could mix it and sell it as soda. He later opened bottling companies and by 1895, every state in the nation was selling Coca Cola in its stores.
Asa Candler was quite skilled in advertising and launched huge marketing campaigns, branding each store with a multitude of Coca Cola signs. He also spent an outlandish amount of money for the times on advertising, but it continued to pay off. In 1906 at the start of prohibition, he launched coke as the National Temperance Beverage stating that “people should drink coke not alcohol”. At this time, Coke was selling both nationally and internationally. In 1916, Mr. Candler resigned from Coca Cola to become Mayor of Atlanta. He handed over the company to his children. Mr. Candler died in 1929 but his Coca Cola legacy continues to thrive today.
(1) INC (2009, May 1) How Asa Candler built Coca Cola. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.inc.com/30years/articles/asa-candler.html
(2) Net StateGeorgia (2012) Asa Griggs Candler. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.netstate.com/states/peop/people/ga_agc.htm
(3) The New Georgia Encyclopedia (2012) Asa Candler (1851-1929) Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-633