Virgin Cola

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Virgin cola
Virgin Cola.png
Type Cola
Manufacturer Virgin Drinks Silver Spring
Country of origin United Kingdom
Introduced 1994
Variants Diet Cola
Cloudy Lemon
Blue Lemon
Related products Coca-Cola
RC Cola

Virgin Cola is a carbonated cola soft drink produced by Silver Spring and part of the Virgin Group. It was launched in 1994.[1]


Virgin Cola was set up during the early 1990s in conjunction with Cott, a Canadian company that specialises in bottling own-label drinks. Cott was looking for a major international brand that could have global appeal. Virgin founder, Richard Branson was looking to widen the Virgin name and to rival Coca-Cola and Pepsi brands.

Virgin Cola began to hit international shores within its first year. The UK first served the drink on Virgin Atlantic flights, on-board shops on Virgin Trains and also at Virgin Cinemas. The Gulliver's Kingdom chain of theme parks in the UK also sold post mix Virgin cola. This led Virgin Cola to agree a distribution deal with British supermarket retailer Tesco in 1994.[1]

From 1996, the 500 ml bottles were marketed as "The Pammy", as their curves were designed to resemble Pamela Anderson who was at the height of her popularity in the UK at the time.[2][3] It went on to be launched in France, Belgium and South Africa.[4]

In 1998, Branson himself attended the USA launch of Virgin Cola, driving a tank into New York City's Times Square as part of the launch.[5][6] It subsequently agreed distribution channels with US retailers such as Target.[6] Virgin Drinks USA, the company dealing in Virgin Cola's US market, closed in April 2001, having managed to establish just a 0.5% share of the market by volume.[7]

In 1999, a bottle of Virgin Cola can be seen on the coffee table in Monica and Rachel's apartment during the February 4 U.S. airing of the Friends episode entitled "The One with Joey's Bag." Branson had previously appeared in an episode and was said to be a fan of the show. A can of Virgin Cola appeared in Ally McBeal in the title character's refrigerator in the episode "Love Unlimited," first aired on January 18, 1999.

In 2002, a vanilla cola called Virgin Vanilla was launched in the UK, ahead of the launch of a similar product from rival Coca-Cola.[8] In 2004, it was announced that Virgin Vanilla would be discontinued in order to focus on the teenage market.[9]

In 2007, Silver Spring acquired the UK licence from Princes Group.[10] However, in 2012 the company fell into administration and ceased production. No company acquired the UK Virgin Cola licence in its place.[11]

Countries in which it is sold[edit]

Today, despite the collapse of Virgin Cola in the United Kingdom, Virgin Cola is still sold in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Malta, Nigeria, China, Switzerland, and Tunisia. Virgin Drinks has since fallen, but bottling companies in these countries have acquired the licence.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hosking, Patrick (16 October 1994). "Virgin deputy shuns new cola". The Independent. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Fox, Genevieve (16 February 1996). "Mine's a Coke - no, make that a Pammy". The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  3. ^ "h2g2 - Cola Drinks". BBC. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  4. ^ Mayer, Caroline E. (26 March 1998). "Branson Throws The Cola Biz a Curve; Virgin's CEO Plans U.S. Launch for `Pammy'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  5. ^ "VIRGIN COLA TAKES AIM AT COCA-COLA'S SOFT DRINK STRANGLEHOLD". Post-Tribune. 13 May 1998. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b Fisher, Eric (29 August 1998). "Virgin Cola faces uphill fight: Britain's new No. 3 gears for area push.(Business)". The Washington Times. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  7. ^ "Will global markets embrace Virgin?". Marketing Week. 27 July 2001. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Virgin Cola trumps Coca-Cola with first UK launch of vanilla variant. (News).(Virgin Cola to introduce Virgin Vanilla soft drink in United Kingdom)(Brief Article)". Marketing Week. 12 December 2002. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  9. ^ "Virgin Cola relaunch to target teen market.(News)(Brief Article)". Marketing Week. 18 March 2004. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  10. ^ "Virgin Cola signs TV show tie-up ahead of relaunch.(Virgin Drinks Group Ltd.)(Brief article)". Marketing Week. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2012.   – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  11. ^ Silver Spring Mineral Water Company Limited

External links[edit]