RC Cola

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Royal Crown Cola
RC Cola logo.svg
ManufacturerKeurig Dr Pepper (US only)
RC Global Beverages Inc. (International)
Country of originUnited States
Introduced1905; 118 years ago (1905)
FlavorCola, Cola Cherry, Cola Lemon,
VariantsRC Cola
Light RC Cola
Diet Rite Cola
Cherry RC
RC Cola Lemon
RC 100
RC Draft Cola
RC Cola Edge
RC Cola Zero
Royal Crown Mixers
RC Cola Kick
Royal Crown Cola Classic (1905 edition)

RC Cola (short for Royal Crown Cola[1]) is an American brand of cola invented by Claud A. Hatcher in 1905.[2]

Royal Crown Ginger Ale was the first product of the RC Cola line, and it referred to the original ingredient: ginger. More ingredients 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] Despite the company's innovation and mass advertising campaign, total revenue was low due to a lack of initiative in distribution.

RC Cola is owned and distributed by Keurig Dr Pepper for the United States[4] and RC Global Beverages Inc. for international markets.


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.[citation needed] At the same time, the popularity of bottled soft drinks rose rapidly, and grocery store owners wished to maximize their profit.[5] 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 Hatcher determined to develop his own soft drink formula. He started developing products in the basement of the store with a recipe for ginger ale.[6]

Claud A. Hatcher, the inventor of Royal Crown Cola

Hatcher launched the Union Bottling Works in his family's grocery store.[7] The first product in the Royal Crown line was Royal Crown Ginger Ale in 1905,[8] followed by Royal Crown Strawberry, and Royal Crown Root Beer. The company was renamed Chero-Cola in 1910, and in 1925 renamed Nehi Corporation after its colored and flavored drinks. In 1934, Chero-Cola was reformulated by Rufus Kamm, a chemist, and re-released as Royal Crown Cola.

In the 1950s, Royal Crown Cola and Moon Pies were a popular "working man's lunch" in the American South.[9] 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 1958, the company introduced the first diet cola, Diet Rite.

In 1976, the Raffel family sold Arby's to the Royal Crown Cola Company for $18 million.[10]

Caffeine-free cola RC 100 was launched in 1980.

In 1984, RC Cola accounted for approximately 4-5% of soft drink sales in the United States, behind Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and 7 Up.[11] In that year, it was purchased by DWG Corporation (later renamed Triarc).[12]

In the mid-1990s, RC released Royal Crown Draft Cola, billed as a "premium" cola using pure cane sugar as a sweetener instead of high fructose corn syrup. Offered only in 12-ounce bottles, sales were disappointing, 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.[13] 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).[14][15] 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, and became operated as Royal Crown Cola International. In 2021, Cott sold RCI International to Refresco for US$50 million. Simultaneously, Refresco sold RCI International to RC Global Beverages Inc.[16]

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.[17]

Brand portfolio[edit]

Name Year Notes Picture
RC Ginger Ale 1905 A ginger ale
RC Strawberry 190? A strawberry flavoured drink
RC Root Beer 190? A root beer
Chero-Cola 1910 A cherry 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[18]
RC Cola Lemon 1974 The lemon RC Cola
Diet RC Cola 197? Low calorie RC Cola
Sugar Free Diet RC Cola 197? Diet RC Cola without sugar
RC 100 1980 The first caffeine-free RC Cola
RC 100 Sugar Free 1980 Also caffeine-free
Decaffinated RC Cola 1981[19] Also caffeine-free
Cherry RC 1985[20] The cherry RC Cola
Kick 1995 A citrus soft drink
RC Draft Cola 1995 A "premium" cola made with cane sugar
Diet Rite fruit flavors 199? A series of low calorie fruit flavored drinks
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
RC Dra-Cola[21] 2012 A sugar-free, red-coloured cola introduced to the British market as a special edition for Halloween 2012; it features a glow-in-the-dark label.
RC Ten[22] 2012 A low-calorie version of the cola made as part of the Dr Pepper/7Up "Ten" line
Diet RC Cola Lemon 2016 A diet cola with lemon flavour
Diet Cherry RC 2016 A diet cola with cherry flavour
Royal Crown Cola Classic/Slim 2018 Rebranded

Advertising campaigns[edit]

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."

The 1940s saw a magazine advertising campaign with 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 the benefits.[23] 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[24] in December 1967. She sang, "It's a mad, mad, mad Cola...RC the one with the mad, mad taste!...RC!"[25] 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.[26] 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." 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.[27] 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.[28][29][30]

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


  1. ^ "Our Brands: RC Cola". Keurig Dr Pepper. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  2. ^ "Our Brands, Bottlers and More". RC Cola International. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  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 – via georgiaencyclopedia.org.
  4. ^ "Keurig Dr Pepper". keurigdrpepper.com. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  5. ^ Winn, Bill (May 7, 1978). "R.C. Cola Gets Start in Basement". Columbus Ledger - Enquirer. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "History of Royal Crown Company, Inc". FundingUniverse.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  7. ^ Allen, Gary J.; Albala, Ken (2007). The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries. ABC-CLIO. p. 432. ISBN 9780313337253. Retrieved February 28, 2018 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Royal Crown Company History". rccolainternational.com. Royal Crown Cola International. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Duke, Jan. "The Souths Fascination with RC Colas and Moonpies". About.com. Retrieved January 12, 2008.
  10. ^ "Royal Crown To Buy Arby's". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 27, 1976. p. 23 – via Google News.
  11. ^ "The Innovative Royal Crown". The New York Times. January 14, 1984.
  12. ^ "Inc. Triarc Companies | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  13. ^ "RC Cola Thailand". Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  14. ^ "Cadbury sells Royal Crown Cola". The Irish Times. June 13, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; CADBURY SELLS PART OF RC COLA TO CANADIAN COMPANY". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 14, 2001. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  16. ^ Corporation, Cott. "Cott Announces the Sale of its Soft Drink Concentrate Production Business and RCI International Division to Refresco in an All-Cash Transaction". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  17. ^ Loyola, James (September 7, 2022). "Alfredo Yao's Macay to buy RC Cola global rights for $46 M". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  18. ^ "Yet Another New Cola From Innovative RC". Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  19. ^ Diet RC Cola 1981, retrieved June 25, 2022
  20. ^ "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
  21. ^ "RC Cola UK". Rccola.co.uk. September 7, 2012. Archived from the original on April 21, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  22. ^ "Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Product Facts". dpsgproductfacts.com. 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  23. ^ "Jim Henson RC Commercial". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2012 – via YouTube.
  24. ^ "David Winters". IMDb.com. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  25. ^ "Nancy Sinatra RC Cola Ad". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2012 – via YouTube.
  26. ^ "Me and My RC Commercial". Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved September 15, 2012 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ "Kim Bum And Maja Salvador For RC Cola CF". allkpop. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  28. ^ "Awards: GIGIL's RC Cola 'Family' wins a Bronze Film Lions at Cannes". adobomagazine.com. June 29, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  29. ^ "Local Ad Agency Gigil Wins 3rd Year in a Row at Asia Pacific Awards for Marketing". wheninmanila.com. October 25, 2022. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  30. ^ "GIGIL Agency wins a bronze in 2022 Clio Awards". mb.com.ph. April 23, 2022. Retrieved January 9, 2023.

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