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Not quite the real thing

Coca-Cola is possibly the world's most recognizable brand, an almost inescapable symbol of the global appeal of American-style consumer culture. There are only two countries in the world where Coke doesn't officially operate, and one of them is North Korea.

But even the North is developing quite a taste for cola — though the iconic red-and-white labeled bottles the cola comes in likely are not exactly the Real Thing and their twist tops need a bit more than the usual caution. They have a tendency to leak or refuse to come off at all.

North Korea and Cuba are the only countries where Coca-Cola Co. has no operations, said communications director Ann Moore. Coke doesn't do business with either because of sanctions.

That doesn't stop Coke making its way over the North Korean border, however.

Coke bottled in China and bearing Chinese labels isn't hard to find in North Korea's capital, Pyongyang. It is sold in upscale grocery stores and can be quaffed in international hotels. 

The cola served at restaurants and lining the shelves in stores where more typical North Koreans shop are likely to be local imitations.

One has the same Coke bottle shape, but says "Cocoa-flavoured Sweet Soda Drink" on the label.



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