Weekend Heller: Ich Bin ein Fanta

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Lots of everyday consumables were developed for war, and commercialized once it was over. For instance, T-shirts came from World War I, Spam from World War II. Did you know that Fanta, the ’70s–’80s popular soft drink, was a Nazi-era German invention?

It began as an alternative to Coca-Cola when the Coke syrup was embargoed from import into Nazi Germany. In order to thwart the ban, Max Keith, chief of Coca-Cola Deutschland, created a new soft drink solely for German consumers, comprised of German ingredients, including whey and apple pomace. Keith called them the “leftovers of leftovers,” a kind of soft grappa, grape-based pomace. The name came from Keith’s urging that his team use their “imagination”—(Fantasie in German). Joe Knipp, a salesman, immediately coined the word “Fanta!”


The plant was effectively cut off from Coca-Cola headquarters during the war. When it was over, the Coca-Cola corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product—as well as the profits the plant made during the war.

Fanta was discontinued when the parent company was reunited with the German branch. Following the launch of several drinks by the Pepsi corporation in the 1950s, Coca-Cola competed by relaunching Fanta in 1955. The drink was heavily marketed in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.

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