|Country of origin||Czechoslovakia|
|Related products||Coca-Cola, Pepsi|
Kofola originated in the Czechoslovak pharmaceutical company Galena, n.p. (located in Opava, now Czech Republic) in 1959 during research targeted at finding a possible use for surplus caffeine produced in the process of coffee roasting. The resulting dark-coloured, sweet-and-sour syrup Kofo became the main ingredient of a new soft drink named Kofola introduced in 1960. During the 1960s and 1970s Kofola became exceedingly popular in communist Czechoslovakia because it substituted for Western cola-based drinks like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, which were available but priced at more than twice the price of Kofola.
After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, Kofola had to compete with many foreign brands that entered the attractive newly opened market. After a period of decline and trademark lawsuits (many companies produced their own "kofola" as the term became a genericized trademark, although it had nothing to do with the original one — just because it was an established trademark), in 2000 the Santa nápoje company, based in Krnov and owned by the Greek-immigrant Samaras family, became the only producer and distributor of Kofola in Czechia and Slovakia.
In 2002, the company built a new factory in Rajecká Lesná, Slovakia, to satisfy the demand of the Slovak market. In 2003, Santa nápoje changed its name to Kofola, a.s.. Apart from Kofola it also produces other soft drinks (Top Topic, Jupí, Jupík, RC Cola and Vinea from 2008) that are exported to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia. The company's intention is to build a factory in Poland as well.
Since 1998 Kofola has been bottled (in addition to classical 0.33-litre glass bottles) in 0.5-litre and 2-litre plastic-bottles. 0.25-litre cans were introduced in 2003, 1-litre plastic-bottles in December 2004. Kofola draught from 50-litre kegs, traditionally sold in many bars and restaurants across the two countries, is very popular as well.
Since 2002 the producer has launched a successful media campaign aimed at a young and hip audience based on the slogan "Když ji miluješ, není co řešit. / Keď ju miluješ, nie je čo riešiť." ("If you love her there is nothing to question.") Until 2000, the Kofola logo featured a coffee bean . It now resembles a coffee flower.
In 2008 Kofola announced a merger with the Polish lemonade producer Hoop.
The merged company was renamed into Kofola-Hoop S.A. In autumn 2008 the Polish Private Equity fund Enterprise Investors acquired in a Public Tender Offer 42.46% of Kofola-Hoop for approximately € 140 million.
In Slovakia, Kofola is the most formidable rival of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi. In 2003, 14.28 million litres of Kofola were sold on the Slovak market; in 2004, Kofola sales reached 19.44 million litres. According to a 2004 survey, 17% of Slovak cola-based soft drink consumers buy Kofola most frequently, compared to 14% preferring Coca-Cola. Kofola's market share has doubled in the period of the last three years (4.6% in 2002, 9.4% in 2004). Kofola thus occupies third position in the Slovak market, after Coca-cola (11.5% in 2004) and Walmark (9.6%), preceding Pepsi (5.5% in 2004).
Kofo syrup, the main ingredient of Kofola, consists of 14 natural ingredients (such as extracts from apple, cherry, currant, or herbal aroma), sugar, and caramel. In comparison with Pepsi or Coca-Cola it contains 30% less sugar, a little more caffeine (17 mg/100ml, Coca-Cola 15 mg/100ml) and it does not contain phosphoric acid.
In 2004, Kofola Citrus was introduced into the market which was Kofola with a hint of lemon. It proved to be a popular alternative to the original flavour.
'neKofola/joKofola' was introduced at the end of 2007 as a Christmas limited edition. This had a hint of cinnamon, and was only available around the Christmas period
To compete with coca-cola zero, a sugar-free Kofola BEZ cukru alternative was introduced. This allowed Kofola to compete with coca-cola on all levels.
After the success of their limited cinnamon edition, a new cherry-flavoured Kofola Barborková was introduced for a couple of months in 2008.
In Kofola Extra Herbal, a new variety of the drink the original recipe of Kofola Original was extended with dandelion, gentian and peppermint.
Kofola Festival, introduced in 2013, contains guava.
The most popular cocktail with kofola is a highball made of kofola, lemon juice and Czech domestic rum called Kofrum, Student lemonade, Rebel or Chequia Libre. Kofola with pilsner lager beer is called Kofola 'n' Beer or Diesel. Slovakia Libre, that got its name from Cuba Libre is a long drink made of kofola, lime or lemon and Borovička.
- Klofanda, Martin (2008-03-12). "Kofola has announced another significant merger". Kofola a.s. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- Röbisch, Markus (2008-11-18). "Enterprise Investors acquires 42.46% in a Public Tender Offer of Kofola-Hoop". Investment Intelligence s.r.o. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- ČEKO Libre
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