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Soda Pop Culture

We hope that this Et Cetera will go down easily. It’s inspired by a New York Times article in the early ‘90s called "Presidential Pop and Circumstance," that aligned Coca-Cola with Democratic administrations and Pepsi with the GOP.

A historian with a different viewpoint revealed a soda pop culture related story with a local connection. Frederick Allen claims the first skirmish in the "cola wars" took place in 1907 when Dr. Harvey Wiley vowed to take down Coke. Wiley grew up across the river in Kent, Ind., and graduated from Hanover College, where a dorm bears his name.

Wiley, who’s been called the father of the Pure Food and Drug Act, suspected that Coke contained cocaine. When he learned the drug had been removed from the cola, he went after the drink’s caffeine. Wiley’s efforts were blocked by Republican president Theodore Roosevelt who he reportedly called him a "faddist."

Later, during the administration of Democrat Woodrow Wilson, Wiley went ahead with the prosecution of the case, which evolved into one about truth in labeling, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court.

If you’re a Coke person, regardless of your politics, you might enjoy a trip to Elizabethtown and the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. The 32,000-square-foot-space houses the world’s largest private collection of Coke memorabilia. See what happened when "Louisville Life" popped in for a visit.

Program 503
"Louisville Life" talks with first woman and first African American Kentucky State Senator Georgia Davis Powers. We also visit The Comfy Cow ice cream shop and learn about Louisville's role in the "cola wars". (#503)