Caleb Davis Bradham (May 27, 1867 – February 19, 1934) invented the soft drink Pepsi-Cola. He was a pharmacist, born in Chinquapin, Duplin County, North Carolina, May 27, 1867. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of the Philanthropic Society, and attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Circa 1890, he dropped out of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, owing to his father’s business going bankrupt. After returning to North Carolina, he was a public school teacher for about a year, and soon thereafter opened a drug store in New Bern named the “Bradham Drug Company” that, like many other drug stores of the time, also housed a soda fountain.
This drug store, located on the corner of Middle Street and Pollock Street in downtown New Bern, is where Bradham, in 1893, invented the recipe—a blend of kola nut extract, vanilla, and “rare oils” — for what was initially known as “Brad’s Drink,” but on August 28, 1898 was renamed Pepsi-Cola. Bradham named his drink after a combination of the terms “pepsin” and “cola,” as he believed that his drink aided digestion much like the pepsin enzyme does, even though it was not used as an ingredient. His assistant James Henry King was the first to taste the new drink.
On December 24, 1902, the Pepsi-Cola Company was incorporated in North Carolina, with Bradham as the president, and on June 16, 1903 the first Pepsi-Cola trademark was registered. Also in 1903, he moved his Pepsi-Cola production out of his drug store and into a rented building nearby. In 1905, Bradham began selling Pepsi-Cola in six-ounce bottles (up until this time he sold Pepsi-Cola as a syrup only), and awarded two franchises to North Carolina bottlers.