Dr Pepper Originated in Waco, Texas
Growing up in the central Texas area, Dr Pepper is as common as water. Some joke that mothers put Dr Pepper in their baby's bottle instead of milk. When you order a coke at a restaurant, you may be asked if you want Coke or Dr. Pepper.
If you're not from Texas, you may not be aware that Dr Pepper actually originated in Waco, Texas.
Dr Pepper was created around 1885 by Brooklyn-born Charles Alderton who was a young pharmacist at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store. He liked the fruity smells of the fountain drinks being sold in the pharmacy and in his spare time he began experimenting with mixing them to try to duplicate the smell. He found one that he liked and offered it to Mr. Morrison to try who also liked it.
He began to introduce it to a few customers. It was first served around December 1885. In those early days it was requested by patrons at the pharmacy by them asking the person behind the counter to "shoot me a Waco."
Once Alderton and Morrison began to collaborate on the production, Morrison, being the owner of the drug store renamed the drink "Dr. Pepper". Some believe that Morrison named it after a friend of his, Dr. Charles Pepper. However, there are various versions of this story. Even the Dr. Pepper site is unclear about the name's origin. It does seem like an odd name to name a drink even if he was naming it after a friend.
Later in the 1950s, the period was removed from the "Dr Pepper" name because the font being used in the logo made the letters confusing.
As demand and popularity grew, Alderton and Morrison began having trouble keeping up with manufacturing enough "Dr Pepper" for their customers. Robert S. Lazenby owned The Circle "A" Ginger Ale Company in Waco and was impressed with "Dr Pepper". Since Alderton did not want to pursue the business and manufacturing end of soft drinks, he agreed that Morrison and Lazenby should take over and become partners. In 1891, Morrison and Lazenby formed the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became the Dr Pepper Company.
In 1904, the company introduced Dr Pepper to 20 million people attending the 1904 World's Fair Exposition, in St. Louis. That is the same world's fair that first introduced hamburger and hot dog buns and ice cream cones to the public. Dr Pepper was introduced as a new kind of soda boasting that it was made with 23 flavors. I guess you could say it was the original "suicide drink".
The Dr Pepper Museum
The Dr Pepper Museum is located in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building in downtown Waco, Texas at the corner of 5th and Mary Streets. It first opened to the public in 1991. This building was the first building to be specifically built to bottle Dr. Pepper and was utilized from 1906 to the 1960s. The museum has three floors of exhibits, memorabilia and a replica of the old drugstore that sells old-fashioned sodas from a working soda fountain.
10-2-4 Dr Pepper Commercial
Lates 70s David Naughton "Be a Pepper"
Dr Pepper's Changing Slogans
From 1910 to 1914, Dr Pepper was identified with the slogan, "King of Beverages."
"Old Doc," a typical country doctor character with monocle and top hat, became the Dr Pepper trademark character in the 1920s and 1930s.
During the 40s, research was discovered proving that sugar provided energy. This was good news to companies selling sugary products. The study discovered that the average person experiences a letdown during the normal day at 10:30a.m., 2:30p.m. and 4:30p.m. Dr Pepper held a contest to create a new slogan that could utilize this new information. The winning slogan was "Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4."See one of the commercials to the right.
Dr Pepper's slogan in the 1950s was "the friendly Pepper-Upper," which led the brand into the 1960s when it became associated with rock and roll music and on Dick Clark's American Bandstand TV show.
In the 60s, to broaden it's national appeal, Dr Pepper began using the slogan "the most misunderstood soft drink"
In the 1970s it became "the most original soft drink ever in the whole wide world." In 1977, Dr Pepper advertising was marked by the famous "Be a Pepper" campaign, followed by "Be You."Who can forget David Naughton singing, "I'm a Pepper, she's a Pepper, he's a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" See one of his commercials to the right.
In recent years they have used "There's just more to it," which coordinates with the emphasis on the 23 fruit flavors that give Dr Pepper its unique taste.
As of 2009, Dr Pepper's slogan is now "drink it slow. doctor's orders". To support this slogan they have recruited celebrities associated with being a "doctor" such as Dr. Dre, Doctor J, and KISS star Dr. Love himself, Gene Simmons to publicly endorse Dr Pepper. The ads each end with the celebrity stating, "Trust me. I'm a doctor." followed by the new slogan appearing onscreen against an ice-cold glass of Dr Pepper.
Other Waco-Related Hubs by KCC Big Country
- Waco Suspension Bridge and the Chisholm Trail
The Waco Suspension Bridge spans the Brazos River near downtown Waco, Texas. Prior to the bridge being built, it was rather difficult to cross the Brazos River. The only way to cross the river was via ferry....
- The Texas Rangers
Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cowboy.jpg There probably isn't a little boy in Texas that didn't once pretend to be a Texas Ranger riding a horse, wearing a big Stetson hat, with boots...
- Madison Cooper and Sironia
- Bernard Rapoport Receives the Franklin D. Roosevelt Distinguished Public Service Award
Bernard Rapoport, known simply as "B" to those closest to him, was born in 1917 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in San Antonio, Texas. He grew up in modest circumstances and worked his way through the...
- The Katy Railroad or MKT Railroad
I've lived all my life within a very short distance of the MKT or Katy Railroad. It's been as much a part of my life as any other facet of my central Texas upbringing. I remember as a small girl, my dad...
- When Cotton Was King-The Waco Cotton Palace
Just imagine it. In 1890, Waco was larger than Dallas, Ft. Worth and El Paso. Waco owes it's explosive growth to several things. One of which was the famous Waco Suspension Bridge , the largest single...
- The Crash at Crush-The Staged Train Wreck of 1896
- Zeebo the Clown
Bowen "Bo" W. McClellan entertained central Texas children in the 1950s and 1960s by transforming himself into "Zeebo the Clown". His wife named him "Zeebo" as a funny French way of saying "Bo" that she...
More by this Author
After visiting Lynmouth in England I was drawn to the tragedy of the 1952 flood there and the lives it impacted. This my research on that topic and my memoriam to those who died there.
The last survivor of the Titanic passed away in 2009.
A fascinating look at Beatrice Wood, the woman James Cameron modeled Rose Dewitt Bukater Calvert after in the movie "Titanic".