RC Cola

RC Cola
Type Cola
Manufacturer Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Cott Beverages
Country of origin United States
Introduced 1905
Color Caramel
Flavor Cola, Cola Cherry, Cola Lemon
Variants RC Cola
Light RC Cola
Diet Rite Cola
Cherry RC
RC Cola Lemon
RC 100
RC Draft Cola
RC Cola Edge
RC Cola Zero
Royal Crown Mixers
RC Cola Kick
Related products Coca-Cola
RC Cola logo used by Cott Beverages in its international territories

RC Cola, also known as Royal Crown Cola, is a cola-flavored soft drink developed in 1905 by Claud A. Hatcher, a pharmacist in Columbus, Georgia, United States.[1]


Claud A. Hatcher, the inventor of R.C. Cola

In 1901, the Cole-Hampton-Hatcher Grocery Store was established in Columbus, Georgia. In 1903, the Hatcher family took sole ownership and the name was changed to the Hatcher Grocery Store. The grocery store was located at what was 22 West 10th Street. Today's address (after house number changes) is 15 West 10th Street. At that same time, the popularity of bottled soft drinks rose rapidly, and grocery store owners wished to maximize their profit.[2] As a grocery wholesaler, Claud A. Hatcher purchased a large volume of Coca-Cola syrup from the local company salesman, Columbus Roberts. Hatcher felt that Hatcher Grocery Co. deserved a special reduced price for the syrup since it purchased such large volumes. Roberts would not budge on the cost, and a bitter conflict between the two erupted. Hatcher told Roberts he would win the battle by never purchasing any more Coca-Cola, and Hatcher determined to develop his own soft drink formula. He started developing products in the basement of the store with a recipe for ginger ale.[3]

The first product in the Royal Crown line was Royal Crown Ginger Ale in 1905,[4] followed by Royal Crown Strawberry, and Royal Crown Root Beer. The company was renamed Chero-Cola in 1910, and in 1925 renamed Nehi Corporation after its colored and flavored drinks. In 1934, Chero-Cola was reformulated by Rufus Kamm, a chemist, and re-released as Royal Crown Cola.

In the 1950s, Royal Crown Cola and moon pies were a popular "working man's lunch" in the American South.[5] In 1954, Royal Crown was the first company to sell soft drinks in a can, and later the first company to sell a soft drink in an aluminum can.[6]

In 1958, the company introduced the first diet cola, Diet Rite, and in 1980, a caffeine-free cola, RC 100. In the mid-1990s, RC released Royal Crown Draft Cola, billed as a "premium" cola using pure cane sugar as a sweetener, rather than high fructose corn syrup. Offered only in 12-ounce bottles, sales were disappointing, due largely to the inability of the RC bottling network to get distribution for the product in single-drink channels, and it was quickly discontinued with the exceptions of Australia, New Zealand and France. It is now available only in New Zealand, parts of Australia and Thailand and also Tajikistan.[7] The company also released Cherry RC, a cherry-flavored version of the RC soft drink, to compete with Cherry Coke and Pepsi Wild Cherry.

In October 2000, Royal Crown was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes plc through its acquisition of Snapple. Royal Crown operations were subsequently folded into Dr Pepper/Seven Up, a former subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes. In 2001, all international RC-branded businesses were sold to Cott Beverages of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and are operated as Royal Crown Cola International, which handles RC Cola products outside the United States. In the US, distribution is handled by Dr Pepper Snapple Group.[8]

RC Cola was introduced to Latvia in June 2010,[9] and the United Kingdom in May 2011, and sold at Asda supermarkets and other retailers.[10] It is bottled in the country by Cott Beverages. It is available in Estonia where it is distributed by A. Le Coq.[11] In Australia, it is marketed by Australian Pure Fruits.[12]

RC Cola is bottled in Cyprus by Kean Soft Drinks Limited, and in the Philippines by ARC Bottlers. Jaz Cola, along with RC Cola was sold by Cosmos Bottling in 1996 until 2001 when San Miguel Corporation acquired Cosmos and sold its brands to the Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc., but it terminated the license to produce RC Cola, along with Sunkist and Jolt Cola. However, some of the former Cosmos top brass, in partnership with the Zest-O chairman, reintroduce RC Cola and gain ownership from RC Cola International as Asiawide Refreshments Corporation. Today, RC Cola is the top-selling cola brand in the Philippines, and is the second largest cola brand in Israel, after Coca-Cola, but ahead of Pepsi.[13]

Brand portfolio

Name Launched Notes Picture
RC Cola 1905 The original RC Cola
Diet-Rite Cola 1958 The first diet cola (initially released as a dietetic product), released to general public in 1962
RC Cola 1964 The first pop-top soda can
RC Cola Lemon 1974 The lemon RC Cola
RC 100 1980 The first caffeine-free RC Cola
RC 100 Sugar Free 1980 Also caffeine-free
Diet RC 1985[14]
Cherry RC 1985[15] The cherry RC Cola
Kick 1995 A citrus soft drink
RC Draft Cola 1995 A "premium" cola made with cane sugar
RC Cola Edge 1999 A cola with extra caffeine
RC Cola Zero/RC Cola Free 2009 A no-calorie, no-sugar RC Cola. In other countries, it is also known as RC Cola Free. In some countries it is sweetened with Splenda.
RC Kick 2010 RC Cola with guarana
RC Dra-Cola[16] 2012 A sugar-free, red-coloured Cola introduced to the British market as a special edition for Halloween 2012; features a glow-in-the-dark label.
RC Ten[17] 2012 A low-calorie version of the cola made as part of Dr Pepper/7Up "Ten" line
Diet RC Cola Lemon 2016 The diet cola with lemon
Diet Cherry RC 2016 The diet cola with cherry

Advertising campaigns

A sign appearing in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.

The RC Cola brand has been marketed through many campaigns. In the 1930s, Alex Osborn, with BBDO, made an ad campaign, including the following slogan: "The season's best."

The 1940s saw a magazine advertising campaign with actress Lizabeth Scott as the face, next to the slogan "RC tastes best, says Lizabeth Scott".

In 1966, Royal Crown Cola collaborated with Jim Henson on an ad campaign for Royal Crown Cola which featured two birds called Sour Bird (performed by Jim Henson) and Nutty Bird (performed by Jim Henson and assisted by Frank Oz) to promote the drinks. Nutty Bird would promote Royal Crown Cola by touting the benefits.[18] The puppet for Nutty Bird was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin. Sour Bird appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with the Rock and Roll Monster.

Nancy Sinatra was featured in two Royal Crown Cola commercials in her one-hour special, "Movin' With Nancy" featuring various singers, David Winters choreography[19] in December 1967. She sang, "It's a mad, mad, mad Cola... RC the one with the mad, mad taste!...RC!"[20] The company was the official sponsor of New York Mets off and on at times during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. A television commercial in the New York area featured Tom Seaver, New York Mets pitcher, and his wife, Nancy, dancing on top of a dugout at Shea Stadium and singing the tune from the Sinatra campaign. In the mid 1970s, Royal Crown ran the "Me & My RC" advertisements.[21] Others featured people in scenic outdoor locations. The jingle, sung by Louise Mandrell, went, "Me and my RC / Me and my RC /'Cause what's good enough / For other folks / Ain't good enough for me." RC was introduced to Israel in 1995 with the slogan "RC: Just like in America!" During the Cola Wars of the 1980s, RC used the 'Decide for yourself' campaign and would remind people 'There's more to your life than Coke and Pepsi." The Philippines released advertisements using rising stars.They also painted their "suki" stores with slogans like "RC ng (insert municipality/city)".

Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti had RC Cola as primary sponsor during the 2012 and 2013 IndyCar Series.

See also


  1. RC Cola Retrieved September 15, 2012
  2. Bill Winn, "R.C. Cola Gets Start in Basement," Columbus Ledger - Enquirer, Sunday, May 7, 1978, S-24
  3. History of RC Cola
  4. Royal Crown Company History
  5. Jan Duke. "The Souths Fascination with RC Colas and Moonpies". About. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  6. "New Georgia Encyclopedia: Royal Crown Cola Company". Georgiaencyclopedia.org. 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  7. "RC Cola Thailand".
  8. http://www.rccolainternational.com/contact.aspx
  9. http://www.cesualus.lv/lv/info_medijiem/?news_id=362
  10. "Food & Drink Innovation Network » ROYAL CROWN COLA LAUNCHES IN THE UK". Fdin.org.uk. 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  11. http://www.alecoq.ee/eng/drinks/soft/RCCola
  12. "Brands - Australian Pure Fruits". Australian Pure Fruits. Retrieved 2016-04-23.
  13. "Cola market estimated financial value of approximately 886 million NIS. RC Cola brand is the second largest category with a market share of about 10%". Index Mazon (Food Index). 2013-07-28. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  14. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-12-18/business/8503270802_1_diet-drinks-soft-drinks-cola-wars
  15. "Coke, Dr Pepper Enter the Pit as Cherry Coke Rolls Out". Adweek. August 5, 1985. Royal Crown Cola recently entered the fray, introducing Cherry RC in the Southwest with plans to roll it out nationally, backed with co-op advertising dollars
  16. "RC Cola UK". Rccola.co.uk. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
  17. "Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Product Facts". dpsgproductfacts.com. 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
  18. Jim Henson RC Commercial Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  19. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0935916/awards
  20. Nancy Sinatra RC Cola Ad Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  21. Me and My RC Commercial Retrieved September 15, 2012.

External links

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