How does coca-cola operate?

As i understand it, the CC corporation franchises local bottling companies to produce the drink for them. the local guys buy the syrup from Coke, and mix and bottle it. Are they obligated to produce ONLY coca Cola? or can they produce other soft drinks as well?
Which leads to my other question: those variants of coke 9RC cola, pepsi, etc.)-how close are they to the real thing? have double blind tests found them similar?

Just to clear one thing up – RC, Pepsi, and the like are not variants of Coca Cola, they are competitors.

Single-blind taste tests found Pepsi not to be similar, but superior:

No cite found to say if double-blind tests were done (which would be done by giving people two glasses containing unknown liquids for them to taste test, as opposed to saying “one is Pepsi and one is Coke – which tastes better?”)

I think you may have it backwards. I worked for a Pepsi-cola local bottler and they were definitely separate from the other Pepsi companies. In fact, the various Pepsi bottlers competed with each other over vending machine territories. Corporate Pepsi kept tabs on this - if one bottler’s Pepsi was purchased from another bottler’s machine, they’d get a stiff fine from Corporate.

OTOH, I think Coke is just Coke and isn’t franchised at all, although it is bottled locally.

I’m not sure if it is franchised, or some sort of “exclusive distributor” deal, but Coke is definitely bottled and sold by independent companies in some countries outside the US.

In Australia (and New Zealand) that company is Coca Cola Amatil, which actually also seems to have distributor rights for some South East Asian countries.

I don’t know if the OP is located in the Southern USA or not, but down here, it’s common to refer to all types of sodas as “coke.” As in the following exchange, which is so ubiquitous that I almost forgot to find it mildly irritating until this thread reminded me:

“Want a coke?”
“What kind?”
“Eh, Mountain Dew, Coca-Cola, whatever you’ve got.”
ETA : I don’t mean to imply that this is correct or should be encouraged, I just wanted to point out that it exists.

I wasn’t even thinking about operations outside the U.S. :smack:

coke is one of my customers. Coca-Cola is basically a marketing company and a giant franchise operation. The actual bottling is IIRC at least 80% owned by bottlers and not The Coca Cola Company (TCCC). The bottlers are the ones that produce, bottle and sell coke (and Coke products like Sprite).

Coca Cola Amatil for example has huge operations in Australia, the Philippines and elsewhere.

Fun fact, Coke’s top three markets are US, Mexico and China. With China poised to really take off and be the largest global market in 10 years or so. Coke China has already passed Japan as a market. In China, Kerry Beverages produces most of the coke. However, pirated versions of Coke are not difficult to find even in Shanghai, which is the HQ for the Greater China region for Coke.

So, does CC go nuts when somebody starts making a similar brown , carbonated beverage (and calls it " XXXX-Cola"? To me, soft drinks are probably the most profitable products made-they are basically water, sugar, and some flavoring. Hence, competition shoudl produce lots of competing brands.
I live in NE, and i haven’t seen RC Cola in years-are they still around?

My parents live on Diet RC cola, so it’s definitely still around, albeit a bit hard to find if you want the Diet stuff. I see regular RC at corner stores.

Yes, RC is still around and can be bought in Boston.

Soda for the most part isn’t about product, it’s about image. The stuff in the can is just an afterthought. I wouldn’t be surprised if more was spent on advertising then on ingredients. CC doesn’t get upset when someone makes Pepsi-Cola because there’s nothing they can do about it. But they guard their image/designs/color scheme carefully since it’s the biggest asset of the company.