Coca-Cola is a cola (a type of carbonated soft drink) sold in stores, restaurants and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), which is often referred to as simply Coca-Cola or Coke. Coke is the world's most recognizable brand, according to BusinessWeek.
Originally intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton, Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft drink market throughout the 20th century. Although faced with criticisms of its health effects and various allegations of wrongdoing by the company, Coca-Cola has remained a popular soft drink to the present day.