Full disclosure: when he was twelve, my Uncle Andy ran off and went to work for the Coca-Cola Company. This was a while ago. Since one of my favorite childhood memories involves my uncle stocking our fridge with Cokes, downtown Atlanta’s World of Coca-Cola (popularly known as World of Coke) is my kind of place.
One of the most popular exhibits at World of Coke is the Taste It! experience which allows visitors to sample Coke products from around the world, and here we find Beverly, sometimes referred to as The World’s Most Awful Soft Drink. It must be noted that Beverly was not intended as a soft drink; developed for the Italian market, it is an aperitif—something which you sip to aid digestion, not something you swig to wash down a hot dog. Having said that, my husband, who tried Beverly some years back, reported it tasted like “wet dead grass.” This is certainly more flattering than one internet review which said it tasted like Scotch, sewer water, licorice and castor oil. No, I’m not sure how they know what sewer water tastes like. At any rate, Beverly was discontinued in 2009, so now World of Coke is the only place you can try it. Plenty of people do; check YouTube.
Coke is, of course, made from a secret formula, and the formula itself reposes inside a large vault at World of Coke. An immersive multimedia journey leads the visitor to the Chamber of the Secret Formula while providing background on the formula’s origins and how the effort to keep the formula secret has given rise to any number of myths and legends.
More Coke history is on view at The Loft, which is home to nearly 200 historical and international artifacts representing more than 135 years of Coke. Items include everything from an 1896 Coca-Cola syrup urn to 1970 Coke beach pants.
The newly-re-imagined Scent Discovery! exhibit begins in the Scent Library and allows visitors to develop a favorite scent profile and use it to uncover new beverage favorites from around the world . I’m guessing one of them won’t be Beverly.
World of Coca-Cola is located in Atlanta’s Centennial Park District at 121 Baker Street, next to the Georgia Aquarium, and is open seven days a week. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.worldofcoca-cola.com.
Photos courtesy of World of Coca-Cola