Thums Up: The Indian Cola with a Thunderous History

Ogilvy and Thums Up: Olympics 2020 Campaign to break the new brand positioning

Thums Up is a popular brand of cola in India that has a loyal fan base and a distinctive taste. But how did this drink come to be, and what makes it so special? Here is a comprehensive overview of the origin story, the mathematical details, and the company details of Thums Up.

The Origin Story of Thums Up 

Thums Up was created in 1977 by Ramesh Chauhan, who owned part of the Parle company that also produced Limca and Gold Spot, two other soft drinks. Chauhan decided to launch a new cola brand after the American company Coca-Cola withdrew from India due to regulations requiring it to disclose its formula and sell 60% of its equity to an Indian company under a government plan for foreign-owned companies to share stakes with domestic partners.

Chauhan developed the formula for Thums Up from scratch, experimenting with ingredients such as cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. He wanted the drink to be fizzier and spicier than Coca-Cola, and to retain its carbonation even when it was not ice-cold, so it could be sold by street vendors. He originally planned to name the drink “Thumbs Up”, but removed the “b” to make the name unique.

Thums Up quickly became the most popular cola brand in India, achieving a near-monopoly among cola products in India during the 1980s, standing above other cola products such as Campa Cola, Double Seven, Dukes and United Breweries Group’s McDowell’s Crush. Thums Up also introduced a larger 300 ml bottle, branded “MahaCola” (meaning ‘great [in size] cola’; the original size was 250 ml), which gained popularity in smaller towns where people would ask for “Maha Cola” instead of Thums Up.

In 1991, when the Indian government opened the market to multinationals, Pepsi was the first to enter. Thums Up and Pepsi subsequently engaged in heavy competition for endorsements. Pepsi advertisements included major Indian movie stars like Juhi Chawla, while Thums Up increased its spending on cricket sponsorship. In 1993, Coca-Cola re-entered the market, and the three companies competed intensely. Later in the year, Coca-Cola bought the Parle-owned drinks Gold Spot, Limca and Thums Up for $60 million. When these were sold to Coca-Cola, Thums Up had a market share of 85 percent in India.

The Mathematical Details of 100 ml of Thums Up 

Thums Up is known for its strong flavor and high caffeine content. According to its official website, Thums Up contains carbonated water, sugar, acidity regulator (338), caffeine, natural color (150d) and added flavors (natural flavoring substances). The nutritional information per 100 ml of Thums Up is as follows:

  • Energy: 44 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 11 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 7 mg
  • Caffeine: 13 mg

The caffeine content of Thums Up is higher than that of Coca-Cola (9 mg per 100 ml) and Pepsi (10 mg per 100 ml), which gives it a more stimulating effect. The acidity regulator (338) is phosphoric acid, which adds a sour taste and prevents bacterial growth. The natural color (150d) is caramel color, which gives the drink its dark brown hue. The added flavors are derived from natural sources, such as spices and herbs.

Thums Up is sold in various sizes, such as 200 ml glass bottles, 300 ml cans, 500 ml PET bottles, 1.25 L PET bottles, and 2 L PET bottles. The price of Thums Up varies depending on the size and the region, but it is generally affordable for most consumers. According to a report by Statista, the average retail price of Thums Up in India was Rs. 35.5 per liter in 2020.


Thums Up is an Indian brand of cola that is owned by The Coca-Cola Company, which is a global beverage giant based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The Coca-Cola Company operates in more than 200 countries and markets more than 500 brands of drinks, including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Minute Maid, Dasani, Powerade, and Thums Up.

Thums Up is the leader in the cola segment in India, commanding approximately 42% market share and an overall 15% market share in the Indian aerated waters market as of February 2012. It is also one of the billion-dollar brands in the global beverages market as of 2021.

Thums Up has a strong brand personality that is associated with masculinity, adventure, and thrill. It has a loyal customer base that prefers its unique taste and high caffeine content. It has also become a cultural icon that represents India’s spirit of resilience and innovation.

Thums Up has a website where it showcases its products, campaigns, and social initiatives. It also has a presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, where it engages with its fans and followers. It also sponsors various events and activities related to sports, entertainment, and social causes.

Thums Up is not the only company with this name. There is also a Thums Up Limited company based in Motherwell, United Kingdom, which is a private limited company that was incorporated on 30 October 2017. However, this company is not related to the cola brand and is inactive as of now.

Thums Up is a remarkable example of an Indian brand that survived and thrived despite the entry of global giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It has a loyal customer base that appreciates its unique taste and personality. It has also become a cultural icon that represents India’s spirit of resilience and innovation. Thums Up is more than just a drink; it is a symbol of India’s thunderous history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 × 4 =