RC Cola

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Royal Crown Cola
Origin Columbus, Georgia
Introduced1905; 118 years ago (1905)
FlavorCola, Cherry Cola, Orange, Lemon Lime
VariantsRC Cola
RC No Sugar
Royal Crown Cola
Mighty Rain
RC Refresher
Double Caffeine
Rad Rain
Dave & Co
RC Neo
RC Flavor Collection
RC Cherry Cola
RC Diet Cola

RC Cola (short for Royal Crown Cola[1]) is a cola-flavored carbonated beverage owned in the U.S. by U.S. coffee and beverage company, Keurig Dr Pepper, and owned outside the U.S. by RC Global Beverages, Inc.

On January 17, 2023, Macay Holdings completed its acquisition the non-U.S. RC Cola business by purchasing 100% of RC Global Beverages, Inc. for approximately $47 million, comprising a $21.4 million cash payment for equity and the assumption of approximately $26 million of obligations.

Royal Crown Ginger Ale is the first product of the RC line, and it referred to the original ingredient: ginger. RC Cola went through various name changes[2] including Chero-Cola and Nehi, Inc. before becoming Royal Crown after the death of Claud A. Hatcher. More flavors were introduced under the RC Cola name including lemon, strawberry, and cane sugar. In the 1950s, Royal Crown company was leading the beverage industry to sell the first canned soft drinks, followed by the first caffeine-free cola.[3] In 1958, RC Cola became available in 16 ounce bottles.[4] Despite the company's innovation and mass advertising campaigns, total revenue was low due to a lack of initiative in distribution.


In 1901, the Cole-Hampton-Hatcher Grocery Store was established in Columbus, Georgia. In 1903, the Hatcher family took sole ownership and the name was changed to the Hatcher Grocery Store. The grocery store was located at what was 22 West 10th Street. Today's address (after house number changes) is 15 West 10th Street.[5] At the same time, the popularity of bottled soft drinks rose rapidly, and grocery store owners wished to maximize their profit.[6] As a grocery wholesaler, Claud A. Hatcher purchased a large volume of Coca-Cola syrup from the local company salesman, Columbus Roberts. Hatcher felt that the company deserved a special reduced price for the syrup since it purchased such large volumes. Roberts would not budge on the cost, and a bitter conflict between the two erupted. Hatcher told Roberts he would win the battle by never purchasing any more Coca-Cola, and was determined to develop his own soft drink formula. He started developing products in the basement of the store with a recipe for ginger ale.[7]

Claud A. Hatcher, the inventor of Royal Crown Cola

Hatcher launched the Union Bottling Works in his family's grocery store.[8] The first product in the Royal Crown line was Royal Crown Ginger Ale in 1905,[9] followed by Royal Crown Strawberry, and Royal Crown Root Beer. In 1907, cherry-flavored Chero-Cola[10] was introduced. The company was later renamed Chero-Cola in 1910. In 1924, its new fruit-flavored beverage, Nehi was introduced. This led to the company’s renaming in 1925 to Nehi, Inc. Following its founder, Claud A. Hatcher’s death in 1933, and Chero-Cola being reformulated in 1934 by chemist Rufus Kamm, the company reintroduced the “Royal Crown” to launch Royal Crown Cola. The company itself went on to change its name from Nehi, Inc. to Royal Crown Cola Company in 1951.

In the 1950s, Royal Crown Cola and Moon Pies were a popular "working man's lunch" in the American South.[11] In 1954, Royal Crown was the first company to sell soft drinks in a can, and later the first company to sell soft drinks in an aluminum can.[3] In 1962, the company introduced the first diet cola, Diet Rite.

During the 1970s, Royal Crown Cola Company developed their international presence, including countries in Asia and Europe.

In 1976, the Raffel family sold Arby's to the Royal Crown Cola Company for $18 million.[12]

Caffeine- and sugar-free cola RC 100 was launched in 1980.

In 1984, Cherry RC, Diet RC and Diet Rite flavors were introduced. That year, RC Cola accounted for approximately 4–5% of soft drink sales in the United States, behind Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and 7 Up.[13]

In 1993, Royal Crown Cola Company was purchased by Triarc Companies, Inc,[14] adding approximately $25 million a year to the marketing budget.[15]

In 1995, Royal Crown Draft Cola was released as the first premium draft cola. It was made with pure cane sugar as a sweetener instead of high fructose corn syrup, the finest Kola nuts, all-natural flavors and pure filtered water. Offered only in 12-ounce bottles, it was discontinued, due largely to the inability of the RC bottling network to get distribution for the product in single-drink channels, and it was discontinued with the exceptions of Australia, New Zealand, and France. It was later available only in New Zealand, parts of Australia, Thailand, and Tajikistan.[16] The company also released Cherry RC, a cherry-flavored version of the RC soft drink to compete with Cherry Coke and Wild Cherry Pepsi.

In September 2000, Royal Crown was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes (which owned Dr Pepper) through its acquisition of Triarc's beverages business (which also included Snapple).[17][18] Cadbury Schweppes' US-based beverage business (including RC) was spun off as "Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG)" in 2008. DPSG merged with Keurig Green Mountain in 2018 as Keurig Dr Pepper, the current owners of the RC Cola brand.

In 2001, all non-US RC-branded businesses were sold to Cott Beverages of Canada, it started operating as Royal Crown Cola International. In 2021, Cott sold Royal Crown Cola International to Refresco for US$50 million. Simultaneously, Refresco sold to Royal Crown Cola International RC Global Beverages Inc.[19]

In 2002, Royal Crown Premium Mixers were launched to be paired with spirits.

In 2012, RC Cola introduced Jeera, a refreshing soda with a taste of cumin, crafted especially for south-central Asian markets.

In September 2022, Philippine-based Macay Holdings announced it will acquire 100% of RC Global Beverages Inc. The transaction is subject to the finalization of a share purchase agreement and other closing conditions.[20]

In 2022, RC Double Caffeine was launched, infused with double the amount of caffeine for maximum energy.

In 2023, the RC Flavor Collection was launched, with new flavors including vanilla, lime, apple, coffee, marshmallow and winter spice.

In 2023, RC Berries and Cream was launched as a limited time flavor, mixing the classic RC taste with some berries and cream.

Brand portfolio[edit]

Name Year Notes Picture
RC Ginger Ale 1905 A ginger ale
RC Strawberry 1907 A strawberry-flavored drink
RC Root Beer 1907 A root beer
Chero-Cola 1910 A cherry-flavored cola
Nehi 1924 A range of drinks ultimately including Nehi Orange, Nehi Grape, Nehi Peach, Dr. Nehi, Nehi Chocolate, Nehi Root Beer, Nehi Lemonade, Nehi Wild Red, Nehi Blue Cream, Nehi Berks County Root Beer, Nehi Strawberry, Nehi Ginger Ale, Nehi Fruit Punch, Nehi Pink Lemonade and Nehi Blueberry
RC Cola 1934 The original RC Cola
Diet Rite 1958 The first diet cola ever (initially released as a dietetic product); marketed to the general public in 1962[21]
Diet Rite 1962 Sodium-free diet RC Cola
RC Cola Lemon 1974 The lemon RC Cola
RC 100 1980 The first caffeine-free RC Cola
RC 100 Sugar-Free 1980 Also caffeine-free
Decaffeinated RC Cola 1981[22] Also caffeine-free
Diet Rite Flavors 1984 Diet Rite with different flavors
Cherry RC 1984[23] The cherry RC Cola
Kick 1995 A citrus soft drink
RC Draft Cola 1995 A "premium" cola made with cane sugar
RC Edge 1999 A cola with extra caffeine
RC Cola Zero/RC Cola Free 2009 A no-calorie, no-sugar RC Cola. In other countries, it is also known as RC Cola Free. In some countries, it is sweetened with Splenda.
RC Kick 2010 RC Cola with guarana
Jeera 2012 A refreshing soda with a taste of cumin, crafted especially for south-central Asian markets.
RC Dra-Cola[24] 2012 A sugar-free, red-colored cola introduced to the British market as a special edition for Halloween 2012; it featured a glow-in-the-dark label.
RC Ten[25] 2012 A low-calorie version of the cola made as part of Dr Pepper/7Up "Ten" line
Diet RC Cola Lemon 2016 A diet cola with lemon flavor
Diet Cherry RC 2016 A diet cola with cherry flavor
Royal Crown Cola Classic/Slim 2018 Rebranded
RC Cola Double Caffeine 2022 The same great RC Cola flavor infused with double the amount of caffeine for maximum energy.
RC Flavor Extensions 2023 New flavor collection including vanilla, lime, apple, coffee, marshmallow and winter spice.
RC Cola Berries and Cream 2023 A limited time flavor that mixes cola with berries and cream

Advertising campaigns[edit]

A sign in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
Chero-Cola advertisement

The RC Cola brand has been marketed through many campaigns. In the 1930s, Alex Osborn, with BBDO, made an ad campaign, including the slogan "The season's best."

In 1940, a publicity campaign was run, which saw Hollywood celebrities, next to the slogan “Best By Taste Test”. Actress Lizabeth Scott as the face, next to the slogan "RC tastes best, says Lizabeth Scott".

In 1966, Royal Crown Cola collaborated with Jim Henson on an ad campaign for Royal Crown Cola which featured two birds called Sour Bird (performed by Jim Henson) and Nutty Bird (performed by Henson and assisted by Frank Oz) to promote the drinks. Nutty Bird would promote Royal Crown Cola by touting its benefits.[26] The puppet for Nutty Bird was designed by Jim Henson and built by Don Sahlin. Sour Bird appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with the Rock and Roll Monster.

Nancy Sinatra was featured in two Royal Crown Cola commercials in her one-hour TV special, Movin' With Nancy, which featured various singers and David Winters choreography[27] in December 1967. She sang, "It's a mad, mad, mad Cola...RC the one with the mad, mad taste!...RC!"[28] The company was the official sponsor of New York Mets on and off at times from the team's inception in 1962 until the early 1990s. A television commercial in the New York area featured Tom Seaver, New York Mets pitcher, and his wife, Nancy, dancing on top of a dugout at Shea Stadium and singing the tune from the Sinatra campaign.

RC sponsored two Porsche 917/10 Can-Am race cars during the 1972-73 season. In the mid-1970s, Royal Crown ran the "Me & My RC" advertisements.[29] Others featured people in scenic outdoor locations. The jingle, sung by Louise Mandrell, went, "Me and my RC / Me and my RC /'Cause what's good enough / For other folks / Ain't good enough for Me and My RC . . . ."

An ad for RC Cola in Margilan, Uzbekistan

RC was introduced to Israel in 1995 with the slogan "RC: Just like in America!" During the Cola Wars of the 1980s, RC used the 'Decide for yourself' campaign and would remind people 'There's more to your life than Coke and Pepsi."

In the Philippines, RC Cola released advertisements with artists popular in the country. In 2009, these had Maja Salvador and Kim Bum as celebrity endorsers.[30] The Philippine marketing of the brand also painted the front of sari-sari stores with slogans like "RC ng (insert municipality/city)" (RC of my [town/city]). In 2019, the advertisements tapped Joshua Garcia to be the year's celebrity endorser and launched the "RC ng Bayan" campaign. In 2020, RC Cola had a campaign Basta, which featured a boy confronting his mother if he is adopted due to glasses embedded on his back. This campaign led to numerous awards such as a bronze award for Film at the Cannes Lion 2021, a bronze award at the 2021 Asia Pacific Effie Awards for the Youth Marketing category, a silver award at the 2022 Asia Pacific Effie Awards for the Beverages, Non-Alcohol category and the Short Video Marketing category, and a bronze award for Film at the 2022 Clio Awards.[31][32][33]

Andretti Autosport driver Marco Andretti had RC Cola as his primary sponsor during the 2012 and 2013 IndyCar Series.

In 2022, RC Cola launched its WHY NOT? campaign, featuring three adults who upon taking a sip of RC Cola, would be transported to a world filled with endless imagination.


  1. ^ "Our Brands: RC Cola". Keurig Dr Pepper. Archived from the original on August 21, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  2. ^ "About". RC Cola International. Archived from the original on April 5, 2023. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Royal Crown Cola Company". New Georgia Encyclopedia. September 15, 2006. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2012. It is now Filipino after being sold in 2022
  4. ^ Team, RC Cola Int. "Marking 115 Years of Innovation in the Bottling Industry with RC Cola". l.rccolainternational.com. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  5. ^ "RC Cola - Soda Pop Bros Soda". Soda Pop Bros. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  6. ^ Winn, Bill (May 7, 1978). "R.C. Cola Gets Start in Basement". Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Archived from the original on November 9, 2016. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "History of Royal Crown Company, Inc". FundingUniverse.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Allen, Gary J.; Albala, Ken (2007). The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries. ABC-CLIO. p. 432. ISBN 9780313337253. Archived from the original on April 23, 2023. Retrieved February 28, 2018 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "Royal Crown Company History". rccolainternational.com. Royal Crown Cola International. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "About". RC Cola International. Archived from the original on April 5, 2023. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  11. ^ Duke, Jan. "The Souths Fascination with RC Colas and Moonpies". About.com. Archived from the original on December 16, 2007. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  12. ^ "Royal Crown To Buy Arby's". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 27, 1976. p. 23. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2022 – via Google News.
  13. ^ "The Innovative Royal Crown". The New York Times. January 14, 1984. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  14. ^ "Inc. Triarc Companies". Encyclopedia.com. Archived from the original on June 25, 2022. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  15. ^ "About". RC Cola International. Archived from the original on April 5, 2023. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  16. ^ "RC Cola Thailand". Archived from the original on January 31, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  17. ^ "Cadbury sells Royal Crown Cola". The Irish Times. June 13, 2001. Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  18. ^ "Company News; Cadbury Sells Part of RC Cola to Canadian Company". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 14, 2001. Archived from the original on January 20, 2022. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  19. ^ Cott Corporation. "Cott Announces the Sale of its Soft Drink Concentrate Production Business and RCI International Division to Refresco in an All-Cash Transaction" (Press release). PR Newswire. Archived from the original on January 4, 2022. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  20. ^ Loyola, James (September 7, 2022). "Alfredo Yao's Macay to buy RC Cola global rights for $46 M". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on September 7, 2022. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  21. ^ "Yet Another New Cola From Innovative RC". December 18, 1985. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  22. ^ Diet RC Cola 1981, archived from the original on June 25, 2022, retrieved June 25, 2022 – via youtube
  23. ^ "Coke, Dr Pepper Enter the Pit as Cherry Coke Rolls Out". Adweek. August 5, 1985. Royal Crown Cola recently entered the fray, introducing Cherry RC in the Southwest with plans to roll it out nationally, backed with co-op advertising dollars
  24. ^ "RC Cola UK". Rccola.co.uk. September 7, 2012. Archived from the original on April 21, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  25. ^ "Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Product Facts". dpsgproductfacts.com. 2013. Archived from the original on October 18, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  26. ^ "Jim Henson RC Commercial". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2012 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ "David Winters". IMDb.com. Archived from the original on April 23, 2023. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  28. ^ "Nancy Sinatra RC Cola Ad". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2012 – via YouTube.
  29. ^ "Me and My RC Commercial". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2012 – via YouTube.
  30. ^ "Kim Bum And Maja Salvador For RC Cola CF". allkpop. Archived from the original on December 9, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  31. ^ "Awards: GIGIL's RC Cola 'Family' wins a Bronze Film Lions at Cannes". adobomagazine.com. June 29, 2021. Archived from the original on January 8, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  32. ^ "Local Ad Agency Gigil Wins 3rd Year in a Row at Asia Pacific Awards for Marketing". wheninmanila.com. October 25, 2022. Archived from the original on January 8, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  33. ^ "GIGIL Agency wins a bronze in 2022 Clio Awards". mb.com.ph. April 23, 2022. Archived from the original on January 8, 2023. Retrieved January 9, 2023.

External links[edit]