Dr Pepper

The history of Dr Pepper, a beloved American soft drink, spans over 130 years and is filled with fascinating stories of innovation, expansion, and cultural impact.

From its humble beginnings in a Waco, Texas drugstore to its current status as a global beverage icon, Dr Pepper has consistently captured the hearts and taste buds of generations.


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1880s — Origins of Dr Pepper

Pharmacist Charles Alderton creates Dr Pepper in Waco, Texas. Alderton worked at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store, where he experimented with various ingredients to create a unique beverage.

The drink's distinct flavor was a blend of 23 different flavors.

1885 — A Brand Name is Born

Dr Pepper is first served at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas.

Customers enjoyed the drink and began requesting it by asking for a "Waco." Morrison is credited with naming the beverage "Dr. Pepper" and the name is first used commercially this year.

The drink is mainly sold in soda fountains and hutchinson bottles.

1891 — Incorporation

Morrison and Lazenby form the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later becomes Dr Pepper Company, to sell the drink.

1904 — Louisiana Purchase Exposition Debut

Dr Pepper is introduced nationally in the United States at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World's Fair.

The exposition helped increase public awareness and popularity of the soft drink.

1910s-1940s — Distribution and Early Marketing

Source: Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper grows in popularity and expands its distribution. The company uses various advertising slogans to promote the drink, such as:

  • "Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2, and 4 o'clock" (1920s-1940s), which encouraged people to drink Dr Pepper for an energy boost.
  • "Good For Life" (1930s-1940s), emphasizing the drink's supposed healthful properties.

During this period, Dr Pepper began to establish itself as a nationally recognized brand and continued to expand its market presence throughout the United States.


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1920s-1940s — America's Most Misunderstood Soft Drink

Dr Pepper expands its distribution and becomes a well-known brand across the United States.

The company uses slogans like "America's Most Misunderstood Soft Drink" to differentiate itself from other popular soft drinks and build its unique brand identity.

1950s-1960s — Dr Pepper Popularity Spike

Source: Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper continues to grow in popularity, and the company introduces new marketing campaigns to maintain its momentum.

The slogan "The Friendly Pepper Upper" is used to position the drink as a positive and uplifting choice for consumers.

Dr Pepper starts selling the beverage in an aluminum can.

Yoo-Hoo sponsors baseball legend Yogi Berra for more than a decade.

1960s — 10-2-4

The company reintroduces the memorable "10-2-4" advertising campaign, which encourages consumers to drink Dr Pepper at 10 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm for an energy boost.

1970s-1990s — New Ad Campaigns

Source: Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper continues to expand its market presence and introduces new ad campaigns to appeal to a wider audience.

The famous "Be a Pepper" campaign, featuring David Naughton, becomes a cultural touchstone and helps solidify the brand's place in popular culture.

The slogan "Hold Out For the Out of the Ordinary" is introduced to emphasize the drink's unique qualities.

The Great Root Bear named Rooty is launched to promote A&W root beer.

1970s — Going Public

Dr Pepper Company is acquired by Forstmann Little & Company and becomes part of a publicly traded company.

1980s-2000s — Worldwide Expansion

Source: Keurig Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper becomes widely available across the United States and in many international markets through a complex network of bottling partnerships with Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottlers.

The company goes through various ownership changes and mergers during this period:

  • 1982: Dr Pepper acquired Canada Dry from Norton Simon, Inc. The deal involves major products like Cactus Cooler and tonic water.
  • 1984: Dr Pepper is acquired by Forstmann Little & Company and merged with Seven Up to form Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.
  • 1995: Cadbury Schweppes acquires Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.
  • 2008: Cadbury Schweppes spins off its beverage division, creating the Dr Pepper Snapple Group as a separate publicly-traded company. Brands brought under the umbrella include:

Throughout this period, Dr Pepper continues to innovate with new product offerings, marketing initiatives and acquisitions like Squirt, to maintain its position as a leading soft drink brand.

The famous Snapple Lady commercials are launched in the 90s to promote Snapple.


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2000s — It Makes the World Taste Better

Source: Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper enters the new millennium with fresh marketing initiatives and product innovations.

New slogans like "Dr Pepper, It Makes the World Taste Better" aim to broaden the brand's appeal.

The company introduces flavor variations such as Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper to cater to changing consumer preferences and maintain excitement around the brand.

Dr Pepper Red Fusion is introduced, but is discontinued two years later.

2006 — Cadbury Schweppes

Source: Schweppes

Cadbury Schweppes, a British confectionery and beverage company, acquires Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.

This acquisition helps expand Dr Pepper's international distribution through strategic partnerships with Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottlers worldwide.

It also brings in a catalogue of brands like Vernors, Crush and Sunkist.

2008 — Dr Pepper Snapple Group & Big Red

Source: Big Red

Cadbury Schweppes spins off its North American beverage division, creating the Dr Pepper Snapple Group as a separate publicly-traded company.

This move allows the company to focus solely on its beverage brands and pursue new growth opportunities.

In 2008, Keurig Dr Pepper acquired a minority interest in Big Red, Inc., allowing the beverage giant to play a crucial role in the iconic brand's distribution, with nearly 80% of the annual supply flowing through their extensive network.

Keurig Dr Pepper acquires the 1919 root beer brand, IBC.

2010s — 125 Years

Dr Pepper celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, marking a significant milestone in the brand's history.

The company launches new marketing campaigns that focus on the drink's unique blend of 23 flavors, highlighting its distinctive taste and heritage.

The product line expands with the introduction of Dr Pepper TEN, a low-calorie version targeted at men, and the release of Dr Pepper made with real sugar, tapping into the growing trend of nostalgia-based marketing.

2015 — A Year of Innovation

The company continues to innovate, introducing the Dr Pepper Snapple Variety Pack, which includes regular, diet, and caffeine-free versions of Dr Pepper, 7UP, and A&W Root Beer in Keurig K-Cup pods, making it more convenient for consumers to enjoy their favorite drinks at home.

2018 — Keurig Green Mountain

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In a major development, Bob Stiller's Keurig Green Mountain, known for its single-serve coffee machines, acquires Dr Pepper Snapple Group for $18.7 billion.

The merger forms Keurig Dr Pepper, a beverage giant with a diverse portfolio of iconic brands.

Dr Pepper becomes a key brand in the combined company's lineup, benefiting from Keurig's extensive distribution network and innovative technology.

This acquisition positions Dr Pepper for continued growth and success in the highly competitive beverage industry.