The Italian connection with… Coca Cola

Jul 10, 2024 163

BY: Maria Gloria Rando

The reason Coca-Cola and not green tea is consumed in copious quantities by today’s youth in Japan is a story with an Italian connection, namely Francis Gragnani, an Italian-American born in Fall River, MA. During the latter part of World War II, he was assigned as an Army Air Corps Captain to the 10th Air Force in the China, Bruma, India Theater of Operations to fight a country where he was later to spend 27 years of his life. 

At the end of the war, he returned to his original sales position with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Rhode Island. He soon discovered that his appetite had been whetted for the Far East so he applied for a position with the Coca-Cola Export Corporation for a foreign assignment in Asia and was accepted in April 1947. After a few months training, he left the United States for Japan.

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