ATLANTA – Coca-Cola celebrated its 130th birthday today near the location where its flagship beverage was first served on May 8, 1886 by thanking its hometown with a $1.8 million grant to improve support improvements in and around downtown Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park District. Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent announced the grant alongside Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at a celebration hosted at the intersection of Peachtree and Marietta streets.
“While Atlanta has always been and will always be Coca-Cola’s home, the Centennial Olympic Park District is our neighborhood,” Kent told a crowd of approximately 200 guests. “For decades, we have continued to invest in improving the area around our headquarters to support the continued growth of tourism, business and residences right here in our backyard.”
He added, “I can’t think of a better way to mark this occasion than by giving back to this great city that means so much to us all.”
Since its inception in the early 1990s, Centennial Olympic Park has become a major tourist hub for downtown Atlanta with more than 3 million people visiting the area each year. Pemberton Place, directly north of the park, was developed by Coca-Cola utilizing land purchased to house Coca-Cola’s Olympic City during the 1996 Olympic Games, in combination with land acquired by the company after the Games. In addition to building a new World of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola donated the land for both the Georgia Aquarium and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to create a hub for three of the city’s major tourist attractions.
Over the last decade, The Coca-Cola Company and its global philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, have invested more than $160 million and tens of thousands of volunteer hours in support of social, economic and environmental programs throughout Atlanta.
“I truly believe from 1886 to today, wherever Coca-Cola goes, the city of Atlanta goes,” Mayor Reed said. “And therefore, Coca-Cola is the city of Atlanta’s gift to the world.”
Coca-Cola’s global operations have been based in downtown Atlanta since the beverage was created in Dr. John Pemberton’s home on Marietta Street in 1886 and carried to Jacobs’ Pharmacy to be served to the first consumers. After outgrowing a series of offices stretching from Edgewood Avenue to Decatur Street, the company in 1920 established its current headquarters site on North Avenue. More than 5,000 people currently work at the North Avenue campus, and 4,000 additional Coca-Cola employees are located throughout Georgia. Explore the “homes of Coca-Cola” in Atlanta.
Jacobs’ Pharmacy Location Gets Georgia Historic Marker
Mayor Reed and Kent were joined by Georgia Historical Society President and CEO Todd Groce to dedicate a new historical marker at the “Five Points” intersection as part of the society’s Georgia Business History initiative. Groce proposed a Coca-Cola toast against a backdrop of a full-size replica of the original Jacobs’ Pharmacy on the wall of Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of International Affairs – the pharmacy’s original location.
“To an organization that embodies the entrepreneurial sprit and innovation, the social conscience and the philanthropic heart of this city and state and an iconic company that for over a century has served the taste of Georgia around the world,” Groce said, raising a glass bottle of Coca-Cola.
Following the dedication event, Coca-Cola said “thank you” to downtown residents and workers by handing out free beverages and World of Coca-Cola tickets in Woodruff Park.
Kent concluded: “Thank you for welcoming Coca-Cola into your lives and loving Coca-Cola. Thank you for making us a special part of your lives. Thank you for everything you have done for us.”