BRACK: Suggestion of a peach Cola means few Coke execs from the South

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  If you were born in the South, you may have been flabbergasted at the announcement recently from Coca Cola. The world’s leading drink maker said that they were thinking of bringing out a Peach Cola.

Now we know that Georgia is the Peach State, though South Carolina grows more peaches. But Georgia’s got the moniker of the Peach State. So it’s mighty nice of the Coke people to want to honor their state with a peach cola. They, no doubt, think they can enrich their coffers, by producing a soft drink with a name that Georgians and others might enjoy with a peach flavor.

Our guess is that not many Coke executives today were raised in the South. After all, Coke is a giant international company, bringing sharp young people from many nations into their officer program, and eventually making many of them among their top executives.  For years, Coke was headed by a person of Cuban descent, Roberto C. Goizueta.

So we can understand that few executives at the very top level of Coke are from the South.

There was another soft drink company headquartered in Georgia years ago. It was the Royal Crown Bottling Company of Columbus, the very city where Coke originally came from before it found glory in Atlanta.

Royal Crown bottled a 12-ounce drink which was very similar to Coca Cola, which in those days came only in a 6-ounce bottle.  We young boys in the South recognized the difference in ounces when making our purchases, and often would buy the 12-ounce drink as our choice to pull from the cold-water cooler (which most of the time advertised Coca Cola.)  After all, if you had a nickel, you wanted to stretch it as far you could.  If you were flush, you might buy a five-cent package of Tom’s Peanuts to add a little flavor to your RC.

But back to peaches. Royal Crown, was first known as the Nehi Bottling Company, producing 12-ounce Nehi bottled drinks.  Nehi came in several flavors, Root Beer, Orange, Grape, Strawberry…..and yes, Peach. Our choice was either ice cold Orange or Grape, carbonated just enough to go with the fruit flavor.

But Peach?  Yucky!  Little taste! Icky!  Not for us. The Peach Nehi was just bad, watered down with no discernable peach taste, and nothing like a good, juicy Georgia peach. We didn’t waste our nickel on it.

Now giant modern Coca Cola, in all its brilliance, and perhaps with some marketing testing behind its decision, is proposing a peach-flavor to the ever-tasteful Coke!

These Coke experts may be right. People may flock to this new Peach drink in bunches, and their new flavor may be a winner.   For these executives who made this decision, we hope that it doesn’t cost them a job. You also may remember that there was all sorts of research, audience testing, and lot of marketing behind New Coke when it was introduced years ago, which flopped. We predict that a Peach Coke might also be a failure, unless Coke comes up with a far, far better taste than the ill-fated Nehi Peach.

This new flavor might never have been proposed if Coca Cola had some good old boys from the South in its executive ranks.