Happy Birthday, Dr Pepper!

 

DALLAS, TX — Today, July 6, marks a significant milestone in the history of an iconic Texan (and American) beverage, Dr Pepper. Officially incorporated on July 6, 1923, the Dr Pepper Company has been a staple in the soft drink industry for over a century, with roots deeply planted in the heart of Texas.

The story of Dr Pepper began in Waco, in 1885, within the walls of Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store. Here, pharmacist Charles Courtice Alderton concocted a unique blend of 23 flavors, which quickly became a favorite among patrons. Originally called a "Waco," the drink was later named Dr Pepper by the store owner, Wade B. Morrison. Although the origins of the name remain shrouded in mystery, Dr Pepper's popularity was undeniable.

As demand surged, Morrison, alongside beverage chemist Robert S. Lazenby, established the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company in 1891 to produce Dr Pepper on a larger scale. The drink made its global debut at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904, captivating audiences with its distinct flavor.

The evolution of Dr Pepper continued as the Southwestern Soda Fountain Company of Dallas acquired the rights to produce and sell the syrup in 1898. By 1902, the company rebranded as the Dr Pepper Company and moved its operations to a new state-of-the-art facility in Waco in 1907. This site is now the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, preserving the rich history of the brand.

The Dr Pepper Company faced financial challenges in the early 1920s but reemerged stronger after its official incorporation on July 6, 1923, in Dallas. Under the leadership of John B. O'Hara, the company leveraged innovative advertising strategies, including the iconic "10-2-4" slogan, which suggested drinking Dr Pepper at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. to boost energy levels. This marketing genius helped solidify Dr Pepper's place in the market.

During World War II, Dr Pepper's clever promotion of sugar as an energy booster for soldiers and workers further cemented its indispensability. The post-war years saw the company flourish, with significant expansions and the introduction of new products such as Diet Dr Pepper and caffeine-free Pepper Free.

The 1970s and 1980s brought both successes and challenges. Dr Pepper launched memorable advertising campaigns, including the beloved "Be a Pepper" campaign, which propelled the brand to new heights. However, financial difficulties led to a series of ownership changes and mergers. By 1986, Dr Pepper had merged with Seven-Up, Inc., forming Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Companies, Inc., with continued growth under various corporate umbrellas.

A notable chapter in Dr Pepper's history is the story of Dublin Dr Pepper, which holds a special place in the hearts of many Texans. Located near Stephenville and on the way to Fort Worth via US 67 from San Angelo, Dublin, Texas, was home to the oldest Dr Pepper bottler in the world until 2012. The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company, founded in 1891, was renowned for its commitment to the original Dr Pepper recipe, using pure cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

Dublin Dr Pepper became a beloved variant of the classic drink, attracting soda enthusiasts from far and wide. Despite franchise limitations restricting sales to a 44-mile radius around Dublin, the plant's dedication to authenticity made it a popular destination for fans seeking the nostalgic taste of the original formula. Each year, as many as 80,000 visitors flocked to Dublin to experience the historic bottling process and savor the unique flavor.

In 2012, a trademark dispute led to the discontinuation of Dublin Dr Pepper. However, the legacy of the Dublin Bottling Works lives on, as the facility continues to produce various sugar-sweetened soda products, celebrating the rich heritage of Dr Pepper.

Today, Dr Pepper is part of Keurig Dr Pepper, a leading beverage company in North America. The company's legacy of innovation, resilience, and unique flavor continues to delight fans around the world. The Dr Pepper Museum in Waco remains a testament to its storied past, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich history of this beloved soft drink.

As we commemorate this special anniversary, we celebrate Dr Pepper's journey from a small Texas drugstore to an international icon. Here's to over a century of refreshment, innovation, and the timeless appeal of Dr Pepper. Cheers!

Dr. Pepper - "I'm a Pepper" TV Commercial 70's
The original Dr Pepper Bottling Plant in Waco.

The original Dr Pepper Bottling Plant in Waco.

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