A large glass of cola and ice
RC Cola's Beginning Is Rooted In A Grocery Store Basement
Royal Crown Cola, also known as RC Cola, first debuted in 1934 after several decades of experimentation in pursuit of creating the best carbonated soft drink.
When Coca-Cola was first introduced in 1886, it was sold to grocers in syrup form. Some, like the Hatcher Grocery Company, sold bottled Coca-Cola to customers as a loyalty perk.
Owner Lucius Hatcher's son, Claud Hatcher, got fed up with increasing prices and made his own soft drink syrups, experimenting in the basement of the Hatcher Grocery Company.
Claud fully developed the recipe for Royal Crown Ginger Ale, in addition to a line of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks, and named the brand Melo.
By 1907, Claud's experiment morphed into a full-fledged business. He and his father founded the Union Bottling Company and planned to introduce their own branded cola.
They opened the Chero-Cola Company, but Coca-Cola was not amused, ultimately forcing the Hatchers to drop the word "cola." By 1920, demand for Chero had dropped off significantly.
This made the Hatchers pivot again, this time to a fruity soft drink they marketed as Nehi. The company was renamed yet again to The Nehi Corporation.
After Claud Hatcher's death in 1933, H.R. Mott took over and debuted Royal Crown Cola debuted in 1934. Its name was a nod to Hatchers' first soft drink, Royal Crown Ginger Ale.