White Coke is a moniker for a variant of Coca-Cola produced in the 1940s at the request of Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov. Coca-Cola was presented to Zhukov by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower—himself a particular fan of Coca-Cola. Zhukov liked it and asked - according to technology correspondent Tom Standage (who doesn't cite any primary or secondary sources) - for its color to resemble vodka so that he would not be seen drinking Coca-Cola in public, as it was regarded in the Soviet Union as a symbol of American imperialism.
Marshal Zhukov placed the request with General Mark W. Clark, commander of the US sector of Allied-occupied Austria, who passed the request on to President Harry S. Truman. President Truman in turn contacted James Farley, chairman of the Board of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation—at the time busy establishing thirty-eight Coca-Cola plants in Southeast Europe, including Austria. Farley tasked Miladin Zarubica—a technical supervisor for The Coca-Cola Company, a son of a Yugoslav immigrant and a wartime PT boat commander, sent to Austria in 1946 to supervise establishment of a large bottling plant—with fulfilling Marshal Zhukov's request. Zarubica found a chemist who could remove the coloring from the beverage, thereby granting Marshal Zhukov's wish. The colorless version of Coca-Cola was bottled using straight, clear glass bottles sporting a white cap with a red star in the middle. The bottle and the cap were produced by the Crown Cork and Seal Company in Brussels. The first shipment of White Coke consisted of 50 cases.
A consequence of White Coke was circumvention of the normal import/export rules imposed by the Soviet occupation authorities. While cargo shipments transiting the Soviet occupation zone in Austria normally took weeks to clear with the authorities, Coca-Cola supplies passing through the zone on their way back and forth between the Lambach plant and the Vienna warehouse were never stopped.
- Cordelia Hebblethwaite (11 September 2012). "Who, What, Why: In which countries is Coca-Cola not sold?". BBC News. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- Tom Standage (2006). A History of the World in Six Glasses. Doubleday Canada. p. 256. ISBN 9780385660877. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- Mark Pendergrast (15 August 1993). "Viewpoints; A Brief History of Coca-Colonization". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- Marion Loeb (2 October 2005). "Raise a glass to the civilizing influences of what we drink". The Santa Fe New Mexican. p. 100. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- Alfred E. Eckes, Jr; Thomas W. Zeiler (2003). Globalization and the American Century. Cambridge University Press. pp. 118–119. ISBN 9780521009065. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- Mark Pendergrast (2000). For God, Country and Coca-Cola. Basic Books. pp. 210–211. ISBN 9780465054688. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
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