Only Two Coca-Cola Executives Know Coke’s Secret Recipe Formulation: Facts

Picture Suggesting Only Two Coca-Cola Executives Know Coke's Secret Recipe Formulation
Only Two Coca-Cola Executives Know Coke's Secret Recipe Formulation


Only two people alive know the Coca-Cola ‘recipe’, and they aren’t allowed to travel on the same plane in case it crashes.

Other Versions

Only two Coca-Cola executives know Coke’s formula, and each of them knows only half of it.


Since many years people have been speculating about the secret formula of world famous soft drink Coca-Cola, and the ingredients it contains. The curiosity is because the Company has maintained that at any given time only two people alive know the Coca-Cola recipe, and allegedly they are not allowed to travel on the same plane in case it crashes and the secret goes down with them. Certain versions also claim that the two Coca-Cola executives each know only half the formulation of Coke, and together they produce the recipe. These claims of secret formula of Coca Cola known to only two people alive are not facts; they are mostly marketing tactics to keep the consumers curious and interested.

About the ‘Mystery’ of Coca Cola Recipe

Fizzy drink Coca Cola has a distinctive taste and bubbly burn, and to add to the mystique, a crucial part of the formula was also given the name ‘7X’. The formula has been a carefully passed-on ‘secret’ ritual, a written copy of which was held in a U.S. bank vault for many years, and only a few executives could see it. The formula has been a trade secret, to an extent that Coca-Cola pulled out of India in 1977 when the government insisted to reveal the formula.

Picture of Vault of the Secret Formula at The World of Coca-Cola
Vault of the Secret Formula at The World of Coca-Cola

History of Coca Cola Formula

According to company spokesmen, the first batch of Coca-Cola was brewed by a pharmacist John Styth Pemberton back in 1886, who described it as a ”brain tonic and intellectual beverage.” The original recipe included Coca with Cocaine; the narcotic was however removed just after the turn of the century. In February 2011 producers of the radio program This American Life stumbled upon a list of ingredients of Coca Cola in an article on the history of the drink, in an old copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the hometown newspaper of Coca-Cola). The article allegedly carried a photo of John Pemberton’s original recipe of Coca Cola written down by a friend in a leather-bound recipe book of ointments and medicines, which was passed down by friends and family for generations. Responding to that ‘disclosure’, Coca-Cola staff said “Our formulation is our company’s most valued trade secret, and we will not be coming forward with that formula.”

Picture of Alleged recipe of Coca-Cola
Alleged recipe of Coca-Cola

As mentioned in a December 2016 article on abc News website, the closely guarded secret formula of Coca Cola was housed in a vault in the SunTrust Bank in Atlanta since 1925, before the Company moved it to an exhibit at The World of Coca-Cola (the company’s attraction in downtown Atlanta), where the public can see the vault. When asked what’s exactly in the vault, Coca-Cola marketing manager Jacquie Wansley said that not a lot of people know it and they do not know how many people know it. But she suggested the formula has remained the same since the beginning.

Actual Facts

The first video in this article shows a brief experience inside the Vault of the Secret Formula at The World of Coca-Cola. Note at 0:31 seconds into the video, you will see a digital display that reads:






Video grab of rumor displayed at The World of Coca-Cola
Video grab of rumor displayed at The World of Coca-Cola

A press release of the Company mentions that after Dr. John S. Pemberton invented Coca-Cola in 1886, the formula was kept a close secret, only shared with a “small group” and was not written down. In 1891 Asa Candler bought exclusive rights to the recipe and established the Coca-Cola Company. In 1919 Earnest Woodruff and a group of investors bought the company using money secured by a loan. As part of the collateral for the loan, Woodruff made Asa Candler’s son write down the formula for Coca-Cola, which was placed in a secure vault at Guaranty Bank in New York. Woodruff took the ownership of it again in 1925 after paying back the loan, and this time he opted to keep it in a secure storage, in an Atlanta bank vault at Trust Company Bank (now SunTrust).

The aforementioned facts and the history of the drink suggest that not just two people, quite a number of people (possibly including the manufacturing executives) know the Coca Cola recipe. An old television commercial (second video in this article) suggested that the Coca Cola formula is held by just two men (each knowing half), and if one of them should accidentally fall, there’d be no Coke bottles. In fact through many advertising campaigns Coca-Cola spread this “only two people know” myth; it’s just Coke trying to create a buzz and maintain an image that their soft drink is something awesome and special.

Hoax or Fact:


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Prashanth Damarla