Dr Pepper Group Shot

Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft drink in the United States. It is a "native Texan" originating at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in the town of Waco in 1885.


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Dr Pepper's original slogan made a statement. "Old Doc," a typical country doctor character with monocle and top hat, followed as a trademark in the 1920s.



This slogan was created in the 1930s by J.B. O'Hara when he discovered research indicating that sugar produces energy and that the average person typically experiences a sense of fatigue during a normal day at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. It lasted into the '50s.



Introduced in 1955, "The Friendly Pepper-Upper" slogan led the brand into the 1960s, when Dr Pepper became associated with rock 'n' roll music on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" television show.


Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist educated in England, worked at Wade Morrison's store, where he also served carbonated soft drinks at the soda fountain. He had noted that customers soon tired of drinking the same old fruit flavors. The inventive Alderton decided to make something new by blending several fruit-based flavors. After numerous experiments, he finally created one he liked.

Alderton tested his drink first on Morrison, then on select patrons. Other patrons at Morrison's soda fountain soon learned of Alderton's new drink and began ordering it. Dr Pepper was born.

Dr Pepper gained such widespread consumer favor that other soda fountain operators in Waco began buying the syrup from Morrison. This soon presented a problem for Alderton and Morrison, as they could no longer produce enough syrup at their fountain to supply the demand.

Robert S. Lazenby, young beverage chemist and proprietor of The Circle "A" Ginger Ale Company in Waco, had also tasted the new drink and was favorably impressed. Morrison suggested Lazenby produce the syrup in his bottling plant, and Lazenby agreed. Alderton, the originator, was primarily interested in the pharmacy and had no designs on the drink. He suggested that Morrison and Lazenby develop it further.

In 1904, Lazenby and his son-in-law J.B. O'Hara introduced Dr Pepper to almost 20 million people attending the World's Fair Exposition in St. Louis. The exposition was the setting for more than one major product debut. Hamburgers and hot dogs were first served on buns at the exposition, and the ice cream cone was introduced.

In subsequent years, Morrison and Lazenby remained impressed with the growth of Dr Pepper. They formed a new firm, the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became Dr Pepper Company. Lazenby and O'Hara moved the company from Waco to Dallas in 1922 and opened their new operation in 1923.

In 1963, Diet Dr Pepper was introduced as "Dietetic Dr Pepper." Sales were initially slow because of the unfortunate name, which was changed three years later to "Diet Dr Pepper." In 1991, Diet Dr Pepper was reformulated and sales soared. In 2002, as Americans became increasingly health-conscious, Diet Dr Pepper became a top 10 soft drink in the United States, a position that it holds to this day.

In 1996, Dr Pepper launched a new proprietary 20-ounce PET (plastic) bottle, the Dr Pepper "Angle Bottle," in test markets. Many bottlers switched to this new package in 1997. From 2002 through 2008, Dr Pepper offered several delicious flavor extensions, including Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Berries & Cream, and Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper. In 2011, Dr Pepper introduced Dr Pepper Cherry, and consumers fell in love with its smooth kiss of cherry.

In 2010, Dr Pepper celebrated its 125th anniversary as America's oldest soft drink. Today, Dr Pepper continues to grow as one of the namesake brands of Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group, an integrated refreshment beverage business marketing more than 50 beverage brands throughout North America.

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