In the years leading up to World War II, attempts to make Coca-Cola as popular in Europe as it was in America had one major success – Germany. The company sold millions of crates to the country every year, opened dozens of factories and sponsored the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
When the war broke out and Allied countries introduced trade embargoes, the ingredients to make the secret Coke syrup could no longer reach Germany.
Max Keith, the head of the company there, decided to create a new drink to keep the factories open. Using what he described as “scraps and leftovers” – such as whey from cheese manufacture and apple fibre from cider presses – he concocted a brew resembling ginger ale.
Keith then asked his employees to name the drink, instructing them to let their fantasies run wild, to which one salesman quickly suggested ‘Fanta’.
It became a commercial hit, selling around 3 million cases in 1943.