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Jason Perlow

Mexican Coke Trafficking

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http://www.beverageworld.com/beverageworld...t_id=1000632881

Few products are as closely associated with the American lifestyle as Coca-Cola. Yet there appears to be growing demand among US cola connoisseurs for foreign-made Coke, which has real sugar and costs more than the everyday variety made with high-fructose corn syrup.

Unauthorized distribution networks for Mexican-made Coke have sprung up to truck the brown, fizzy soda across the Rio Grande and around the country. In Fort Worth, it can be found at outlets from Central Market and Fiesta Mart to family-owned taco stands.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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The one critical thing that the article leaves out that in addition to being made with actual surgar, Mexican Coke (and Mexican Pepsi, Squirt, and Fanta) comes in vintage glass bottles. Actual 12oz retro Coke and Pepsi bottles with crown caps, not the stupid little mini bottles you get in the supermarket at hugely inflated prices.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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But I recently bought an "imported" coke in the big glass bottles at one of our local Mexican restaturants (not Tex-Mex, the real thing), and there was a white paper label stuck to mine that stated the ingredients. Bottled in Mexico, but contained corn syrup - not sugar.


Screw it. It's a Butterball.

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I've seen those and actually tasted those. I'm fairly sure those are generic labels pasted on by the importer, because they get applied to like different manufacturers bottles (I've seen the exact same label on the Coke, Pepsi, Squirt and Fanta bottles). They still taste like they have real sugar in them, and are most definitely a different formulation.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Could the same thing occur from Canada since, I believe, Coke and other soft drinks in Canada use sugar instead of corn syrup?

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I'm surprised that Coke hasn't seized the opportunity to make and market "Vintage Coke" in the US.


John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

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The issue is not just the price of sugar vs. corn syrup.

There are also physical factors involved. Beverage plants in the US have become larger and more centralized. During this process, the plants were built to handle high fructose corn syrup. The actual physical handling of granulated sugar is impossible for most of these places.

I am sure that many of the maufacturers regret this oversight, but at this point it would not be financially feasible to change back to sugar. Shame really. Drinks, generally, are better down there. I used to love getting the liter RETURNABLE plastic bottles (they are super heavy duty, and make a number of reuses) full of real Coke. Delicious.

Dr Pepper in Waco is still made with granulated sugar, as is Barq's in Baton Rouge (and only Baton Rouge and they don't ship it out of a very small radius due to some agreement with Coke-the owner of the rest of the world's dist. rights to Barq's).


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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The Chicago Tribune just printed a front-page article on Mexican coke in Chicago neighborhoods. The cite is:

Savoring the sweet taste of home ; In city's Mexican-American neighborhoods, residents prefer Coke made in their home country; [Chicago Final Edition]

Kevin Pang, Tribune staff reporter. Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: Oct 8, 2004. pg. 1

Available on the Tribune web site for a fee.

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you know how big a case of coke is?hmmm makes me wonder what else there bringing in?

Dave s


"Food is our common ground,a universal experience"

James Beard

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I guess I am lucky being in So Cal that its not to hard to find a good old frosty bottle of "Mexican" Coke...let me tell you, few things go as good with street tacos...except maybe a Modelo or XX beer!


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Is soda that sez "Ecuador" on the bottle the same as the Mexican? I came across pepsi, coke and another soda in the thick glass - virtually nothing on the label except "Ecuador."

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Is soda that sez "Ecuador" on the bottle the same as the Mexican?  I came across pepsi, coke and another soda in the thick glass - virtually nothing on the label except "Ecuador."

There are other Latin American countries producing Coke and its being brought into the US. Ecuador and the Dominican Republic are two of them. I've heard good things about them as well.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I dedicated the last few days to finding a distributor of mexican coke, pepsi, fanta, etc. for my store. Things are not exactly as they appear to be, that is, it is not so easily available unless you're a bodega and/or of Spanish descent.

My shopping was done in Passaic and Newark. I went to areas where distributors of Mexican products are located in clusters. Basically, the distrubutors all sell the same items. I learned my lesson the hard way after making a total fool of myself at the first place I went into by blurting out, I WANT MEXICAN COKE! Sorry senor, only American coke. Bullshit, I saw it as I walked through the warehouse.

The next place I went to I was as little more discrete. The owner levelled with me. They've gotten huge fines for selling the stuff - one was from the town of Newburgh, NY and I forget the other town. It may be completely legal for them to do what they're doing, but that doesn't prevent the government from harrassing them. According to the owner, his lawyer told him he did nothing illegal, but to fight it would cost more than to pay the fine. Supposedly, the reason for the fine was that the bottles were a safety hazard - they've been known to explode. If that be the case, wouldn't they be illegal? I can't figure out why the harrassment, except that Coca Cola has "influenced" the right people.

I went to about 5 places and it was basically the same thing. Either they won't sell it to me or will only sell it if I pick up, pay cash and no receipt. I wouldn't mind the latter so much but I don't have enough room in my car to be transporting cases of soda regularly. And you basically have to luck out that they have it in stock, so it would be hit or miss.

The reason they won't sell to Americans is that they justifiably or not feel they'll run into trouble. I'd really love to know the real reasons for the harrassment that has turned the distribution, at least in the NJ area, into an underground operation.

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I had a couple bottles (7 ounce) of Coke from Holland for Christmas. The main thing I noticed was that there was no "burn" to the tongue that I associate with Cola. It wasn't flat because I did get foam when I poured it over ice, but it didn't have a carbonated taste.


"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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What I guess I mean, is that Dutch Coke tasted more like fountain Coke than US bottled Coke.


"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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I buy the Mexican Cokes all the time, as I live a few blocks from the mostly Hispanic part of town. However, I have never seen them for sale in a form that wasn't just one-bottle-at-a-time, which is a little annoying. Mine, too, have the paper "nutrition info" label stuck onto it, which lists the sweetener as "high fructose corn syrup and/or sugar". So who knows. They are tasty Cokes, though. I just wish I could buy them by the six-pack or whatever, to use in cocktails and for cooking country ham.


Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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I dedicated the last few days to finding a distributor of mexican coke, pepsi, fanta, etc. for my store.  Things are not exactly as they appear to be, that is, it is not so easily available unless you're a bodega and/or of Spanish descent.

Try these folks:

Gourmet Award Foods Northeast

4294 Albany Street

Albany, New York 12212

Telephone: 954 384 8005

Toll Free: 800 490 3463

Fax: 518 456 1429

I know they wholesale Mexican Coke to other parts of the country.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Supposedly, the reason for the fine was that the bottles were a safety hazard - they've been known to explode.  If that be the case, wouldn't they be illegal?   

Well that's a real load of horse hockey. The mexican coke bottles are THICK solid glass--they aren't going to easily shatter. I suppose "explode" could be describing the caps blowing explosively off, but how is this a new thing with soda?

One point is that they may not have proper FDA approval, or something like that.


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Are there any concerns about lead with Mexican coke like there are with Mexican candies?

I have heard that the lead in the leaded gasoline still in widespread use in Mexico, often makes its way into commercial food products. The story I heard described how often candy is made in drafty factories and somehow lead just wafts in and settles on the product. It seemed kind of an improbable contamination mechanism, but the candy does test with a high level of lead.

Could lead be found in Mexican coke? Uh... would it at least, uh, like, settle at the bottom?

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Kosher Coke.

Has anyone tried it? It seems that if Coke can make the soda with sugar for Jewish people during Passover, the argument that the facotories are not set up to handle sugar doesn't seem correct.

If you bought Kosher Coke, where did you purchase it? I'm in SF, and I don't believe we have a big enough Jewish population for it to be available here. However I do get to LA ever now and then.

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If I had to take a wild guess, it would be that not all bottlers make Kosher Coke. I'll bet it's one or two bottlers who supply the entire country. Still, it might be easier to chase down than Mexican Coke.

But the glass bottles seem to be part of the Mexican equation too. The Kosher Coke is still in plastic, I believe.


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Specifically guys, its Kosher for Passover Coke. Coca Cola is normally Kosher.

You're correct Jon, I think the Coca Cola Bottling Company of NY is the ONLY bottler that does it for the whole US during Passover. As I understand it, local supermarkets in the NY area run out within a day or two after receiving the entire production run for Passover.


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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