Inca Kola (also known as “the Golden Kola” in international advertising) is a soft drink that was created in Peru in 1935 by British immigrant Joseph (or sometimes José) Robinson Lindley using lemon verbena (verbena de Indias or cedrón in Spanish). The soda has a sweet, fruity flavor that somewhat resembles its main ingredient, lemon verbena, locally known as hierba luisa. Americans compare its flavor to bubblegum or cream soda. Sometimes categorized as a champagne cola, it has been described as “an acquired taste” whose “intense color alone is enough to drive away the uninitiated.”
The Coca-Cola Company owns the Inca Kola trademark everywhere but in Peru. In Peru, the Inca Kola trademark is owned by Corporación Inca Kola Perú S.A., which since 1999 is a joint venture between the Coca-Cola Company and the Lindley family, former sole owners of Corporación Inca Kola Perú S.A. and Corporación José R. Lindley S.A..
Inca Kola is a source of national pride and patriotism in Peru, a national icon. Inca Kola is available in parts of South America, North America and Europe, and while it has not enjoyed major success outside of Peru, it can be found in Latin American specialty shops worldwide. Inca Kola is sold in glass and plastic bottles of various sizes and cans of the same color with an Inca motif.
In 1910, in Rímac, one of Lima’s oldest and most traditional neighborhoods, an immigrant English family began a small bottling company under their family name, Lindley. In 1928, the company was formally chartered in Peru as Corporación José R. Lindley S.A., whereupon Joseph R. Lindley became its first General Manager.
By the early 1930s, the company had a line of ten flavors of soda including Orange Squash, Lemon Squash, Champagne Kola, and Cola Rosada. In 1935, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Lima’s founding, Lindley introduced what was to become its most noted product, Inca Kola, whose flavor was based on Lemon Verbena (Spanish: Verbena de Indias or Cedrón). He had experimented with various mixtures, other ingredients and levels of carbonation, until finally he came up with this combination of thirteen special plant-derived flavors. The company launched “Inca Kola” under the slogan “There is only one Inca Kola and it’s like no other” (Inca Kola sólo hay una y no se parece a ninguna).
By the mid-1940s, Inca Kola was a market leader in Lima due to an aggressive advertising campaign. Appealing to the Peruvian nationalism that was prevalent among the population, the company positioned Inca Kola as a traditional Peruvian drink, using national and indigenous iconography and images. This advertising campaign was very successful, and bottling volume expanded greatly.
Inca Kola reached levels of 38% market penetration by 1970, eclipsing all other carbonated drinks in Peru and firmly establishing itself as “Peru’s Drink” (La Bebida del Perú). A common logo in the late 1970s and early 1980s featured the slogan “Made of National Flavor!” (¡De Sabor Nacional!), later changed to “The taste of Peru” (El Sabor del Perú).
On January 22, 2009, Inca Kola partnered with D’Onofrio, an iconic Peruvian ice cream brand owned by Nestlé, to launch an Inca Kola flavored ice pop.
In the United States, Inca Kola is manufactured by the Coca-Cola company and sold in supermarkets in 2-liter (68 U.S. fl oz) bottles, cans, and individual bottles.
It is one of eight international soda flavors featured and available for tasting at Club Cool in Epcot.
Text from Wikipedia