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.

Old Doc
Old Doc

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.

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Comments 23 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I love Dr Pepper! (Just don't ask me to choose between this and Pepsi-I'm on the fence). The Chef at one restaurant I worked at marinated a whole pig with Dr Pepper for Easter. Do I have to tell you it was amazing?


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

I have an old Dr.Pepper recipe book. I'm not sure which box it's stored in though. I did find one like it at the Dr Pepper Museum. I don't remember how old it is though. If I were to guess it would be the late 50s, early 60s. I'm really a Pepsi person myself, but I gave up sodas on April 19th. I'm not sure how widely available they are, but we can buy the cane sugar Dr Pepper's here in four pack bottles. They are quite expensive but it's a nice change from the high fructose corn syrup ones.


Richard Ring profile image

Richard Ring 7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

My dad loves Dr. Pepper this is quite interesting. There is a bit of it here in Tokyo but it's not really popular (apparently it and Root Beer tastes like medicine to most people here). Great Hub!


caymanhost profile image

caymanhost 7 years ago from Cayman Islands

You learn something new every day on Hubpages :-) I'd have to say I prefer a Pepsi, but even better, sweet iced tea, southern style, hits the spot.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

My husband is from England and he says many of them think it tastes too much like cough syrup. Of course, with it originating in a pharmacy......LOL


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hey, Caymanhost! I prefer Pepsi if I'm going to have a soda, but I prefer iced tea...nothing in it. My mother's whole family drinks it plain so I grew up drinking it that way. As many of my cousins married men who drank sweet tea, they began to make the switch and began raising their kids that way.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

I have to be honest, I tried it once and it did taste like I was drinking a can of cough mixture. It was DISGUSTING! Could only have two sips and then had to dispose of it. Yugh, so gross!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Hey Cindy! I can certainly see why people would think that if you're used to Coke or other cola type products. I grew up in Waco, so Dr. Pepper dominated the scene more than the others and we got used to both.


caymanhost profile image

caymanhost 7 years ago from Cayman Islands

Nope, has to be sweet for me. Funnily enough though, hot tea with a dash of milk is ruined by adding any sweetener - at least for me.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

In Texas, we don't do hot tea and milk better not get anywhere near our iced tea. :)


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

I thought iced tea was just down south


caymanhost profile image

caymanhost 7 years ago from Cayman Islands

No hot tea? How does hubby get along without PG Tips?? My wife thinks I'm crazy to drink it in 100 degree heat, but it's so refreshing.

As long as you can buy sugar in Texas I'd get along with the iced tea OK ;-)

LOL @ cindyvine, ain't much "souther" than Texas ;-)


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

How much further south do you want me to be Cindy? I'm in Texas.

Oh Caymanhost, hubby still drinks his hot tea, although I did get him started on iced tea this year. This is his 3rd summer here. He drank it with sugar though.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Not a fan of the drink (although my husband is) but did enjoy your hub history.


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks, Jerilee! Glad you enjoyed it!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 7 years ago from Sunny Spain

I ony tried it once and that was enough, it might even have been in Waco, but nearly all the information here is brand new to me. Interesting hub


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks Maggs! Glad I could share something with you that you didn't know. :)


johnb0127 profile image

johnb0127 7 years ago from TX

I live off Dr Pepper. Its like fuel for a car, its MY drink! Haha. I have visited both the Dr Pepper museum in Waco, Texas and the one in Dublin, Texas. Dublin has the good, sugary stuff too! Both are very fun and fascinating. Great experiences too! Great hub from a smart Texan!


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 7 years ago from Central Texas Author

Thanks John. I have yet to make it to Dublin to visit. But, I do enjoy the cane sugar DP's.


Brandy Slowiak 6 years ago

Woe lol I'm having a Science project that includes the whole Dr.Pepper history and I'm a huge fan of Dr.Pepper! it is my favorite soda pop! lol


KCC Big Country profile image

KCC Big Country 6 years ago from Central Texas Author

Good luck on your project Brandy! Dr. Pepper has an interesting history.


Brandy Slowiak 4 years ago

Thank you!(:


myself 4 years ago

I have a dr pepper sign with a white oval shape that says 'dr pepper' in the center. How old is it? How much is it worth??

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