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Kola Román is currently distributed by the Coca-Cola Company. Photo: Kola Román official website
Kola Román is currently distributed by the Coca-Cola Company. Photo: Kola Román

Kola Román: The world's oldest soda is Colombian

Know the history of the first commercialized soft drink in the world, invented in Cartagena, Colombia.

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Although Coca-Cola was the first beverage to be marketed by John Pemberton in 1886, Kola Roman, a product of Cartagena, was the first soda to be marketed in the world.  

Kola Roman was born in 1865 in the city of Cartagena, being one of the oldest beverages of its kind in the world, created by Juan Esteban Hurtado, who brought some soda making machines back from a trip he took to London. 

Its original characteristics were similar to those of a typical Champagne Kola and it was not widely consumed when it was launched because consumers were not used to drinking the beverages, but it changed when the company Industrias Román S.A. positioned itself as the number one soft drink on the Colombian Caribbean Coast.

"My great-great-grandfather Manuel Román y Picón arrived in Cartagena in 1834, together with the Marquis of Valdehoyos, as a result of a shipwreck off Galerazamba. He was a pharmaceutical chemist, and a year after being in the city he founded La Botica Román (as pharmacies were called at that time), which in turn was Laboratorios Román because he had his laboratory there," Henrique Román, a great-great-grandson of Román y Picón told the magazine Donde Cartagena.

Today, the drink is still marketed in the Caribbean, as it is not only ideal to accompany all kinds of typical dishes such as fried fish and patacones, but is also used to prepare platanos en tentación and bolis. 

Kola Román is also more than a commercial product of the city, it has become a reminiscence of Cartagena in every sip, and is a symbol of the Caribbean idiosyncrasy that fills its residents with pride. 

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