March 17, 2013
I took a long drive from Hilton Head to Atlanta via back roads through Augusta. I have to say I was a little disappointed in the longer drive. While I passed by some interesting swampy areas and a few lodge pole pine forests, I think I was still on the winters side of things, so most the trees were still bare.
In addition, with the Masters being so prestigious, I expected Augusta to be upscale, at least in the sense of the buildings being well maintained. Perhaps I missed the “nice” areas. I did a quick drive through of Olde Augusta…a quaint downtown. The fountains were colored bright green, the tulips were in full bloom, and the azaleas were beginning to flower. In other words, the median was lovely. The surrounding downtown buildings, however, needed a facelift. A little paint would have livened up the place! Oh well, I satisfied my curiosity.
I arrived in Atlanta just in time to make my 4 p.m. tour of the World of Coca-Cola. The World of Coca-Cola includes 13 exhibits ranging from meeting the Polar Bear mascot to tasting different colas from around the world, to unlocking the secret Coke formula, to admiring old Coke memorabilia and Coke commercials as well as surviving the 4D movie theatre. I would only recommend the 4D movie only if you choose the non-moving seats or unless you want a free chiropractic session. You don’t have to worry about motion sickness as suggested, only whiplash, as the row of seats jerk back and forth.
My favorite exhibit, as always in places like this, was the Bottle Works center which explained the bottling process. I’m always amazed by the machines used to complete the process so efficiently. The bottling process starts with the clean in place unit which sends sanitizer and 180° F water to all the equipment in the bottling line.
The syrup tank holds 1,000 gallons of syrup (a mixture of the Coke formula, sweetener, and water), which is enough to make 104,000 8 ounce bottles of Cola. Before the bottles can be filled, the bottles must be pressurized, drawing the beverage into the bottle with little or no foaming.
A Bottle Inspector Machine takes a picture of every bottle to examine its interior for any defects. Good bottles are rinsed with de-ionized air and bad bottles are discarded. De-ionized air breaks the static charge and removes any particles clinging to the bottles.
The Packaging Robot unloads empty bottles and puts them into production to be filled. It also stacks filled bottles as they come off the line. Most bottling plants use two different machines for these tasks.
The syrup and treated water are mixed in the Blender. Then carbon dioxide is added to create the finished beverage. Once the bottle is filled and capped, a Fill Inspector measures the density of each bottle. If the fill level is incorrect, the bottle is discarded.
With the exception of four year stay in a vault in a bank in New York, the secret Coca-Cola formula has always been protected in Atlanta. The formula was purchased by Asa Griggs Chandler for $2,300 is the late 1800’s.
The Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in 1892 in Georgia. By 1912, Chandler was elected mayor of Atlanta. In 1919, the Chandler family sold The Coca-Cola Company for $25 million. Not a bad ROI!
After my tour, I met up with another cousin, Fontaine and his girlfriend Cassie, for dinner. We went to the Juke Joint. It was packed on a Sunday night. I couldn’t help my curiosity and asked our waiter, “If it was always like this or was there a special event?”
He replied, “Oh, on the weekends, you have to have a reservation. There is live music seven days a weeks, R&B, jazz…”
It was great. We had the best southern, comfort food! I went with grilled shrimp and grits (at least the shrimp were healthy). Fontaine and Cassie got fried chicken, greens, and Mac ‘n cheese (at least the greens were healthy) haha. That meal definitely called for an extra workout, but it was mouth watering good and fed a small army!! The jazz was good too! We got totally lucky that Fontaine randomly made a reservation on the website because he could…good move…and good times to catch up. It had been a few years given his service in the Air Force (Thank You!). A nice afternoon and evening in Atlanta…I’m looking forward to a morning at the Georgia Aquarium before heading back to Denver.