Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Coke Leaves Pepsi Cold In Cola War

ATLANTA -- Here in Atlanta, where four out of five dentists recommend their patients rinse with Coca-Cola, they have a different word for pariah: Pepsi.


In the home of its corporate headquarters, in the downtown section dubbed the Olympic ring, Coke was most definitely it Tuesday. Trucks schlepped empty Coke machines across town for refills. U.S. Army soldiers in fatigues slugged down Diet Cokes. Tourists, workers, residents -- a Coke was on everyone's sweaty lips.


Cola wars? The fight is over here in Atlanta, where the red-and-white banner of Coca-Cola flies high while the folks over at Pepsi lie low.


"I just don't have any comment,'' sniffed Barry Hayes, general manager of Buffalo Rock Bottling, a Pepsi distributor in suburban Newman. "The less said, the better.''


The odds of finding a cold (or a lukewarm, or a hot) Pepsi in Olympic Atlanta were akin to discovering the Holy Grail inside the Georgia Dome.


"A Pepsi? Your chances are very, very slim,'' said Michael Renwick, 23, who was serving cold Cokes Tuesday at Sports World '96. "You'll be looking a long, long time.''


Has any representative of the Pepsi generation stopped by, asking for alternative refreshment?


"You're the first,'' Renwick replied. The scene was repeated at Bar-B-Dog, and Native Sun's Oasis, and assorted other stops in the shadow of the Coca-Cola skyscraper.


Coke, the world's largest beverage company and Atlanta's corporate king, doled out more than $40 million to become the official Olympic beverage.


Coke is spending a reported $250 million worldwide in Olympic advertising. And it seems to be working -- a recent study indicated the number of consumers identifying Coke as the Olympic soft drink sponsor had doubled since Barcelona in 1992.