Coca-Cola: It’s about as American as you get.
It ranks up there with baseball and apple pie; Apple and Nike; beer and “Monday Night Football.”
So how is it then that a pair of Mexican Coca-Cola bottlers have gotten into the business of exporting Cokes to the United States in those old-fashioned 12-ounce bottles? The same kind of bottles that long ago faded from the American landscape, replaced by plastic and aluminum containers?
Mexican Coca-Cola in a bottle can be found just about everywhere in the Las Vegas Valley — in coolers near the cash registers at every Home Depot; by the case at Costco, Sam’s Club and Smart &Final; at the Walgreens in North Las Vegas; at the Targets, the Wal-Marts and the various Smith’s Food and Drugs all over Las Vegas.
They can even be found in some convenience stores at Aria and the Cosmopolitan, if you’re willing to drop $3 for a 12-ounce bottle.
“People love the stuff. They can’t get enough, so I just keep on buying it,” Izzat Shakir says.
He buys Mexican Coke by the case from Costco for just under $17, then sells the 12-ounce singles at $1.79 a piece out of a bucket in front of his cash register at his One Stop Shop at Bonanza Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Shakir suspects the glass bottle is what is hard to resist. As a kid growing up in Pakistan, he fondly remembers drinking Coke from the bottle, shaking it up first to see the fizz explode before downing it.
“America no longer sells anything from the bottle. If you think about it, it’s just too big a country to keep up, so it comes up with cheaper alternatives,” says Shakir, 39. “But in other countries, like Pakistan and Mexico, glass containers are still popular. In Mexico, you can still buy milk in a bottle.”
MAYBE IT’S THE SUGAR
Once regarded as an oddity of a commodity relegated mostly to standup taquerias, Mexican Coca-Cola has taken on a life of its own. With “Hecho en Mexico” clearly printed on its side and “refresco” on its front, the bottles were first introduced in the United States by the Coca-Cola Co. in 2005 to cater to Mexican immigrants: Bottled in Mexico by an all-Mexican workforce for Mexican taste buds.
Yet Coca-Cola Co. officials are quick to say that a “Coke is Coke is Coke,” all made according to a secret formula, regardless of where it is bottled.
“All over the world, Coca-Cola has the same formula, and people everywhere can enjoy the same taste,” company spokeswoman Kerry Tressler said. “Taste is a complex, subjective sense and is affected by many things, including the food you consume with the product, the size of the glass, the amount of ice in the glass, the temperature of the beverage.”
But there’s something different about Mexican Coke. Leave an open bottle sitting out, and it won’t lose its fizz nearly as fast as American-made Coca-Cola. Those obsessed with the stuff have conducted tests.
Find the entire article by Tom Ragan at the Las Vegas Review Journal <here>