What are the only two countries where you cant buy Coca-Cola?


What are the only two countries in the world where you can’t buy coca-cola? The answer is North Korea and Cuba right? Well no it is not for you can buy it in both countries. I know this because I have done this over the last 15 years.

This is one of the may urban myths about North Korea that tend to do the rounds. This one though does at least come from somewhere, although it has now been seriously exaggerated.

Can you buy coke in North Korea?

North Korea actually has its very own #ColaQuest entry in Ryogjin Cola which has been in the country since at least the early 2000’s. This really is not all that great though to be fair! I think I gave it a Cola Quest 4/10.

What you have to remember about North Korea though is that they get most of their consumer goods and the like from their huge neighbor, as in China. China makes its own Coca-Cola, Sprite and the like under license. These much like most other consumer goods then end up in North Korea and at places like Kwangbok Department store.

In fact I once remember buying Tanduay Rum in Anju County and drinking it with coke. Surreal, but very nice.

So what led to this rumor? Essentially North Korea does not bottle its own coke, nor have any kind of agreement with Coca-Cola. This has thus led to people adding 2 and 2 and getting 9.36. Coke is not illegal, banned, or indeed unavailable.

Can you buy Coke in Cuba?

Coke in Cuba closely follows the story of coke in North Korea. Cuba indeed makes its own cola, namely TuKola which was introduced in the 1980’s. This is very very good, but before it was available, when it was available and now you could always get Coke – if you had the money.

And that is because people with money and indeed other socialist countries could always buy western goods at foreign currency stores if they had access to foreign currency.

During the period when the majority of the economy was under state control though restaurants and bars would for the most part use the indigenous cola, and quite rightly so.

And due to sanctions Coca-Cola cannot contract, or do business directly with Cuba, so much like in North Korea the Coke you get in Cuba comes from 3rd parties. In this case mostly Mexico.

Of course everyone knows that Mexican coke is far superior meaning that you get better in Cuba than in the US of A…

Are there any other countries where you cant get Coke?

In reality no there is not, but there are countries where Pepsi leads the market to such a huge degree that Coke is just not important. This was the case in the Cayman Islands when I lived there.

This meant that while Coke could be purchased at stores Pepsi had the monopoly in bars and restaurants. This would lead to the peculiar site of people ordering rum and Pepsi by default. And this was not the only country where this is, or was the case.

For many years also Coke was banned from the USSR, but Pepsi were very much there legally.

Is McDonalds illegal in North Korea?

Not exactly linked to what are the only two countries in the world where you cannot buy coke, but one we will deal with anyway. As part of my research into what countries do and don’t have McDonalds there was a section on where McDonalds was banned. This included places like Bermuda where that seems to be the case, but also North Korea.

In actuality McDonalds has never been legislated against in the DPRK and at certain times, such as the Trump-Kim summit talk about Ronald McDonald marching into Pyongyang have even arose.

This has yet to happen, but much like with Coke North Korea already has its own version…..

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