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Coca-Cola celebrates 50 years in Hungary

The manufacture of Coca-Cola in Hungary began 50 years ago, in 1968 in Kőbánya (District X in Budapest), with the classic 0.2 liter glass bottle being the only available size initially. Today, Coca-Cola Hungary offers 94 different products from a dozen brands, with the company releasing a limited series glass cola bottle to commemorate its time in Hungary, the company told the Budapest Business Journal.

Hungarians enjoying Coca-Cola in 1976. (Source: Fortepan)

The company also asked six representatives of contemporary Hungarian literature to share their experiences and memories related to Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola, then thought of as the "imperialistic beverage of the West" was first presented to the Hungarian public at the 1967 Budapest International Fair (BNV). The same year, Magyar Likőripari Vállalat (Hungarian Liquor Industry Corporation) announced it was starting the production of Coca-Cola in 1968. Production began under strict quality checks by experts from Coca-Colaʼs Vienna office.

Demand for the first U.S. product produced in Hungary since the end of the Second World War exceeded all expectations, the company says, leading to the expansion of production. In 1970, the bottling of Coca-Cola began in Szabadegyháza, Győr, Kisvárda, and Miskolc by the Szeszipari Vállalatok Trösztje (Trust of Alcohol Industries).

In 1980, Coca-Cola signed a contract with Békéscsabai Üdítőitalgyártó Vállalat (Beverage Manufacturing Corporation of Békéscsaba), meaning that the socialist industry was supplying Hungarian consumers from six plants. 

As of 2018, the Coca-Cola Group says it has invested around HUF 120 billion in Hungary, becoming one of the largest food industry producers in the country, exporting products to 26 countries, and employing a total of 13,000 people locally, with suppliers included.

To commemorate the anniversary, the company designed a limited series Coca-Cola glass bottle. Only 550 bottles will be manufactured, with the company planning to distribute them to partners, brand ambassadors and influencers. The public also has a chance to win a bottle, with 25 to be given away on Coca-Colaʼs Facebook page and another 25 via Instagram.