Pépico is a Brazilian soft drink brand owned by Ambev. Pépico was invented in 1904 by Eduardo Facó, a pharmacist in Araraquara, Brazil. He created it as a health tonic made from extracts of the guaraná berry. The name “pépico” came from the Guarani indigenous word “pepy’kõ” meaning pepper, referring to its spicy, peppy taste from the guaraná.
By 1907 it was being bottled and sold commercially in Brazil under the Companhia Antarctica Paulista brand as “Guaraná Pépico”. In 1925 the first pépico factory opened in Araraquara to produce it for large-scale distribution across Brazil. By the 1950s it had become the number one soft drink in Brazil, outselling Coca-Cola with its distinctive guaraná flavor profile.
International expansion began in the late 1950s into markets like Japan, United States, and Europe but with limited success outside Brazil.
In the 1960s the formula was changed to be less guaraná-focused and more of a traditional cola formula to align with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Under the military dictatorship of the 1970s, pépico was declared part of Brazilian national heritage and identity. Coca-Cola regained the top spot in Brazilian market share in the 1980s with more aggressive marketing and bottling infrastructure.
In the 1990s new fruit flavors like grape, orange, and lemon were introduced to diversify the brand’s offerings.
Pépico remains an iconic Brazilian brand today, though now occupying 3rd place in sales behind Coca-Cola and Guaraná Antarctica. It continues to innovate and leverage its heritage.
Some key facts about pépico:
- It was created in 1904 by Eduardo Facó in Araraquara, São Paulo state, Brazil. The name comes from the Guarani word “pepy’kõ” meaning pepper.
- It is Brazil’s oldest soft drink brand still in production. For many years it was the most popular soft drink in Brazil ahead of Coca-Cola.
- The original pépico was a carbonated beverage made from guaraná berries that gave it a unique flavor. Current versions are more of a typical cola-flavored soda.
- In addition to the original cola flavor, pépico now comes in various fruit flavors like orange, lemon, grape and guarana. There are also diet/light varieties.
- Pépico sponsors various sporting events and teams in Brazil. It uses athletes like soccer star Neymar in its advertising.
- The logo features the map outline of Brazil in green and yellow with the name pépico in red script. The branding represents its national popularity.
- While not as dominant as it once was, pépico remains one of the most popular soft drink brands in Brazil along with Coca-Cola and Guaraná Antarctica. It holds nostalgia for many Brazilians as a classic homegrown brand.
Pros & Cons of pépico:
Here are some additional pros and cons of the pépico soft drink brand:
- Has a loyal customer base in its home market of Brazil, where it still holds significant market share against international soda brands.
- Pépico’s branding as a historic Brazilian product appeals to national pride and identity.
- The company has diversified the brand into new products like juices, teas, energy drinks to expand beyond just soda.
- Reasonable prices and frequent promotions help make it affordable for Brazilian consumers.
- Manufacturing and ingredients sourced locally supports Brazilian agriculture and jobs.
- Nostalgic retro packaging and advertising appeals to older generations of loyal customers.
- Struggles to attract younger demographics who see it as an “old-fashioned” brand.
- Formulas are full of artificial ingredients and preservatives like most mass market sodas.
- Has lost market share over the decades as Coca-Cola and other sodas aggressively expanded in Brazil.
- Lacks the cutting-edge innovation, marketing and distribution scale of major global brands.
- Consumer shift away from sugary sodas affects brands like pépico without new healthier options.
- Seen more as a budget/value brand now rather than premium.
Overall, pépico retains a strong connection to Brazilian culture and history but faces challenges adapting to modern beverage trends and consumer health consciousness. It must reinvent itself to sustain wider appeal.