Caleb Bradham

Birth Name:
Caleb Davis Bradham
Birth Date:
May 27, 1867
Birth Place:
Chinquapin, North Carolina
Death Date:
February 19, 1934
Place of Death:
Slover-Bradham House, 201 Johnson Street, New Bern, North Carolina
Cause of Death:
Hardening of the arteries with complications
Cemetery Name:
Cedar Grove Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Business and Finance
Caleb Bradham was an American pharmacist who is best known as the inventor of soft drink Pepsi. Around 1890, he dropped out of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, owing to his father's business going bankrupt. After returning to North Carolina, he was a public school teacher for about a year, and soon thereafter opened a drug store in New Bern named the "Bradham Drug Company" that, like many other drug stores of the time, also housed a soda fountain. Middle Street and Pollock Street in downtown New Bern is where Bradham, in 1893, invented the recipe—a blend of kola nut extract, vanilla, and "rare oils"—for what was initially known as "Brad's Drink." On August 28, 1898 was Bradham renamed the drink Pepsi-Cola, named after a combination of the terms “pepsin” and “cola,” as he believed that his drink aided digestion much like the pepsin enzyme does, even though it was not used as an ingredient. His assistant James Henry King was the first to taste the new drink. At the peak of success in 1922, Bradham had authorized Pepsi-Cola franchises in over 24 states.

Fun Facts

He opened Bradham’s Pharmacy in a building at the corner of Middle and Pollock: that building has since burned down, but the Pepsi Store is on the same spot in the building that replaced it.

So how did Caleb Bradham lose his company and the #2 cola drink in America? On May 31, 1923, Bradham and his Pepsi-Cola Company declared bankruptcy. The major factor for Bradham’s business failure was the price of sugar immediately following World War I, when prices went up to 28 cents per pound (it was three cents per pound pre-war), and Bradham had purchased a large amount of sugar at that price but the price of sugar nosedived soon after he purchased it. The assets of his company were sold to the Craven Holding Company for $30,000. After declaring bankruptcy, Bradham returned to operating his drug store.

As of January 2021, the company possesses 23 brands that have over $1 billion in sales.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Cedar Grove Cemetery

808 George St, New Bern, NC

New Bern, North Carolina, 28560


North America

Grave Location:

Plot 1233, CD Bradham

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery from the side entrance on George Street nearest Cypress Street, drive 100 feet and park. Take the wide grass path to your left and walk to the second raised bed grave site and there you will find the family of Caleb Bradham.

Grave Location GPS

35.114025665365666, -77.04392799292374

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