Spanish town believes Coca-Cola got secret syrup recipe from local distiller

A distillery in a small Spanish town has claimed it invented the original Coca-Cola recipe and now wants recognition.

The recipe for what was originally called "Kola-coca" is reportedly kept in a safe at Destilerías Ayelo, in the village of of Aielo de Malferit, south of Valencia, so the owner Juan Juan Micó, 79, claims.

The drink Kola-coca is said to be a precursor to the now world famous brand, according to Micó and the village’s officials.

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Although there is no direct proof that Coca-Cola started life in Spain, the village’s authorities have written to the U.S. company asking permission to publicly explain the connection.

A snow-covered statue of Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton holding a glass of Coke is seen in Atlanta's Pemberton Plaza.

A snow-covered statue of Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton holding a glass of Coke is seen in Atlanta's Pemberton Plaza. (Reuters)

The people in the village of just 4,700 inhabitants believe the syrup that John Pemberton used in Coca-Cola was originally concocted by the local distillery.

“Everything points to this being the case," the town’s mayor, José Luis Pinter, told the Spanish newspaper El País.

“Our aim is to get Coca-Cola to acknowledge the project so that the town will get recognition. We’re not seeking anything more than that.”

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The original Coca-Cola recipe contained coca leaves, kola nuts and soda water with the only difference with Kola-coca was that the Spanish drink was mixed with fresh rather than soda water.

While Coca-Cola became a worldwide popular drink, Kola-coca eventually went out of production.

People in the village believe that reps from Coca-Cola visited the distillery to buy up Kola-coca. The owners allegedly sold the brand for between $210 to $350.

According to the story, the distillery was opened by three local entrepreneurs — Enrique Ortiz, Ricardo Sanz and Bautista Aparici — 138 years ago.

Aparici was the sales representative for the trio and travelled around marketing their products with a suitcase of samples, including the 'Kola-coca Superior Syrup'.

It's believed he went to Philadelphia in 1885 and that, a year later, Pemberton put Coca-Cola on the market in Atlanta.

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A Coca-cola spokesman told the paper: “The brand has taken off in such a way that it now belongs to the entire world.

“This has happened in other parts of the world and for us it’s a source of pride.”

This article originally appeared in The Sun.