You can't beat the real thing, but you can take credit for inventing it.

A man in the small Spanish town of Ayelo is taking credit for Coca-Cola, claiming his family is responsible for creating the world's most popular soft drink.

Seventy-two-year-old JuanJo Mica runs his family's distillery, originally known as Cola Coca, which features a syrup with a hint of vanilla in it. Company records specify the first year it was used was 1884 - two full years before Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton is credited with unleashing his carbonated goodness on the world.

Mica says, "My great-great uncle took his Cola Coca syrup to America that same year, 1884, and won a prize at a fair in Philadelphia. Supposedly, the Americans tried it, liked it and two years later their soft drink, Coca-Cola, was born."

Mica's claim goes down about as smoothly as a can of Shasta with Coca-Cola historian Phil Mooney, who says, "We have had, at various points in time, claims from places like Scotland and India that the formula originated there. One of the great things about having a secret recipe is that these sorts of stories pop up periodically."

Mica further says his distillery dropped its Cola Coca name in the 1940s when Coke bought the moniker for $1,700 in an attempt to sell its product in Spain. Unfortunately, neither Mica nor Coke has any record of the sale, although Mica says, "My ancestors probably thought Coke was just another soft drink that would disappear after a year or two. And we'd get the name back. Coke still wasn't famous and we didn't know how popular it would become."

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