So one of the first things which popped into my mind when I saw the picture for this adverstisement was that it was a symbol of American economic and cultural imperialism. However the blurb below the picture then caught my attention.
It says that Coca-Cola was bottled by the San Miguel Brewery. I looked up the history of the San Miguel Brewery on the Internet and found that it was established in the late nineteenth century when the Philippines was still a Spanish colony.
Not only was it apparently the first brewery in Southeast Asia, it was very successful and the company diversified into other areas, such as the export business, and soft drinks. In 1927, when the Philippines was an American colony, San Miguel started to bottle Coca-Cola.
Ok, so a dairy business which San Miguel tried to set up in Calcutta, India in the 1930s didn’t work so well, but think about that – a Filipino company tried to set up a dairy operation in Calcutta, India in the 1930s!!!
This got me thinking. People have researched and written endlessly about Western colonialism and imperialism, but I don’t think much has been written about the successful economic tactics of some of the colonized. The history of the San Miguel Brewery looks like a great place to start.