The unusual deal - Pepsi Cola in exchange for warships

At the American National Exhibition in Moscow on July 24, 1959, Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev had what later became known as the "Kitchen Debate" in front of the cameras. Donald M. Kendall, Marketing Vice President of Pepsi, knows how to take advantage of the moment and hands the thirsty Khrushchev a cup of Pepsi.

Pepsi Cola in exchange for warships
© Photo by David Mark on Pixabay

As a result, Pepsi was produced, marketed and distributed in the USSR from 1972. Pepsi supplied its cola concentrate to the Soviet Union and in exchange received Stolichnaya vodka for exclusive distribution in the USA.

In 1989, however, a new solution had to be found because Donald Kendall wanted to double the Pepsi business in the USSR - but twice as much Stolichnaya vodka could not be sold in the USA. In May 1989, a new deal is finally agreed: Pepsi receives (in addition to the vodka) 17 decommissioned submarines, a navy cruiser, a destroyer and a frigate. Just a few days later, these were sent to a Swedish shipbreaking yard. In this way, Pepsi came into possession of the sixth largest naval fleet at the time, at least for a few days.

But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the deal became a loss for Pepsi, as did another deal for ocean-going freighters and tankers for Pepsi. In 2004, Donald Kendall received the Order of Friendship of Russia.

You might also be interested in


Selected Topnews from the beverage industry