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Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Mug Shot

The World of Coke
Atlanta, Georgia

The World of Coke is one of the coolest places to go in Atlanta! Okay, yes, it’s heaven for an advertising buff, with all the old, new and international ads and promotional items in Coke’s over 100 years of existence. The World of Coke moved to a new building in Atlanta’s Pemberton Place, across the street form Centennial Olympic Park. The new location is roughly twice the size of the original and houses all the old attractions plus some new ones! I’ve never even seen the new building except for pictures, but it’s a beautiful piece of architecture! I was, however at the original building which opened in 1990, several times!

The old building was in the middle of downtown at the Five Points area. There were moving exhibits showing how the bottling process worked, a model soda counter with a soda jerk who told all about the history of his job and how flavored Coca Cola was far older than the bottled Cherry and Vanilla Coke offered when John and I visited in 1991! Of course there were ads all over and a store to buy all that Coke brand merchandise, but the best, I mean the BEST, part of The World of Coke was the tasting center!

At the tasting center, you walked into a large room, usually with tons of tourists from all over the world, and sampled as much and as many coke beverages from all around the world as you’d like. It was just a room of cups, waste baskets and fountain machines under Coca Cola neon light.

I’ve sampled many of the domestic and International Coke products with many friends, but the most memorable of those tasting days was at the very end of 1995.

In 1995, a group of us decided it would be neat to celebrate the birth of the Olympic Year in the Olympic city! John, Heather, Tracy, Rich, Jeff, his then girlfriend-now wife Jeanne and I flew into Atlanta just before New Year’s Eve. My brother, his wife and their just over a year old twins drove down and we all met during the day on New Years Eve for lunch and a trip to the World of Coke!

My brother, Dave, is one of those type of insanely courageous people. Anything for a buck, anything for a laugh, anything to be Dave! When we were teens, we’d stop for coffee and dinner with friends. At the end of dinner he’d put an empty glass or cup in the middle of the table. For a dollar, anyone there could add something to the glass. In a group of six or so, he’d end up with a glass with a creamer, salt,pepper, ketchup, someone’s leftover gravy or a bit of a chocolate shake and a pile of singles. All he had to do to pocket the money, was drink what was in the glass. Everyone knew that he’d do it, so it wasn’t a bet, it was paying a dollar to be entertained. Now, with that history, people who know him should beware of anything Dave offers them to taste, no matter how convincing he may be.

At the World of Coke, there is a Coke product sold in Italy in the fountain drinks in the tasting area called Beverly. Remember, we’re talking Italian tastes and a bunch of Americans trying it. Beverly is a bitter beverage that to the American palate is something like a cross between cough syrup and unsweetened chocolate. Just awful! John and I had tried it the first time we were there and vowed never to try it again. I told Mom about it when she and I had gone and she just had to try it to be sure I wasn’t exaggerating. She sipped and told me with a grimace that it was like something awful she’d tried in Italy. Ah but this time, Dave was there!

I watched Dave pour a full glass of the Beverly and take a big sip. He smiled. He topped off his glass and walked away. I watched him work.

He’d gone to ask his wife if she’d tried the Beverly. “It’s over there in the International stuff. You’ve gotta try it! It’s awesome!”

Deanna went to the fountain dispenser and tried the Beverly. She spit it back in the cup and screeched a Dave, something about him being cruel and insane and “who can we get to try this?”

My wonderful brother went to everyone in our group and a few of the strangers there and asked them if they’d tried the Beverly, all the while holding his cup and continuing to drink it. Everyone in our group tried it except John, who remembered and sensed that Dave was up to something. Everyone had the same reaction either a gulping swallow and a run for something to wash the taste away or to spit it back in the cup.

When he finally got to Jeff, the only person I've ever seen allow a seven-year-old to feed him Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans and not spit them out, Jeff got a glass of Beverly and calmly sipped at it talking to Dave.

The exchange went something like this:

“This is really disgusting stuff, Dave.” (sips the Beverly)

“Why yes it is, Jeff. I can’t believe anyone would ever drink it.” (Sip)

“How many people have you conned into trying it?” (sip)

“Everyone except John and my sister. They knew. But I got a few strangers to try it.” (sip)

“Good for you. But I’m going to get sick if I don’t throw this out now.”

“Yeah, I’ve had almost a glass of it. I think I need a beer!”

Then they both threw out the glasses and laughed at all of us. Actually, we all laughed, even Rina and Tori, they were just laughing at all the silly grownups.

By the way, Dave is a good father - he did NOT give any Beverly to the girls. They were only 15 months old! But if they went today, I am pretty confident that he would try to get his daughters to drink the Beverly. Rina knows her Dad well enough not to try it. But Tori is enough LIKE her Dad to try it and get some strangers to try it too. And the gag goes on...

World of Coke, New Years Eve, 1995


Edna B said...

I loved your story today. Reminds me of when I brought home a bagful of gourmet doggie cookies. My brother picked out all the chocolate chip ones, and put them on a plate and passed them around to everyone at the house that day. In a few moments, the plate was empty and everyone was thanking Moo for the delicious cookies. It was a while later that he told them they had eaten all the dog's chocolate chip cookies.

Have a great day friend,
Hugs, Edna B.

Nani said...

Oh my! Edna, our brothers should NEVER meet! They'd be plotting to take over the world in no time! LOL

Thanks for sharing that!! :D