Coke from south of the border is a big business, fueled by the Hispanic population, the fastest growing minority group in the U.S., and soda connoisseurs drawn to its taste and the old-time look of the iconic bottle. Fans insist the Mexican cola, made with cane sugar, has a better “mouth feel” than the U.S. formula. U.S. bottlers switched from cane sugar to high-fructose corn syrup in the 1980s to cut costs.
What’s particularly galling is the extent in which Coca-Cola will go in order to prevent Americans from being regularly supplied with cane sugar Coke, even though the importation of the soda isn’t illegal. Mart Martin, a Coke spokesman, says that this practice “infringes on Coke’s trademark and on local bottlers’ authorized territories”, although I’m not exactly sure on how a Coke product made in Mexico infringes one a Coke product made in the U.S.
The best paragraph in the piece?
“Coke is sending lawyers to harass people instead of catering to customer demand,” said Danny Ginsburg, founder of Real Soda in Real Bottles, a Los Angeles company that sells hard-to-find drinks.
There’s so much truth in that, that it’s kind of startling to see it in print. The arrogance of Coca-Cola has always been a little awe inspiring. Of course, it’s easy to be arrogant when you’re an oligopoly.