Pemberton's product was a resounding success; the ads for Pemberton's French Wine Coca said it was for "scientists, scholars, poets, divines, lawyers, physicians, and others devoted to extreme mental exertion."
Apparently ads weren't charged by the letter back then, because we suspect it would've been cheaper to write, "BOOZE: Now With COCAINE." That shit kind of sells itself.
Prohibition happened. Alcohol was suddenly illegal. But, instead of responding in the hornswoggling fashion his neighbors did, Pemberton instead removed the alcohol from his coca wine and replaced it something people like almost as much: gigantic amounts of sugar. Coca-Cola was born.
"Come gents, let us imbibe sugar water and enjoy this so-called 'jazz' music."
Pemberton claimed his new drink cured "morphine addiction, dyspepsia, neurasthenia, headache, and impotence."
"I say, either I'm piss proud right now or this tonic has made me one randy bull."
With alcohol quality and quantity slowly dwindling, Pemberton and his sweet ambrosia filled the gap ... mainly because his drink still contained cocaine. Pemberton wasn't an idiot, he was a pharmacist. Knowing people would come back for that high, he advertised his drink as a temperance beverage--a drink to ease people off of booze--and the rest is soft drink history.
As for Pemberton himself, well, maybe he should have gotten an intervention: A crippling addiction to morphine forced him to sell off all rights to the company a few years later.