The Story Behind Dr. Pepper: Experiments at the Soda Fountain

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Have you ever asked yourself where did the name Dr Pepper come from? Dr. Pepper is one of America’s favorite drinks, I know it is mine.

Dr. Pepper is a carbonated soft drink marketed as having a unique flavor. The beverage was created in the 1880s by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas. The soft drink was first served around 1885 making it the oldest major soft drink brand in the United States and is still one ofn the mostb popluar selling soft drnks worldwide.

The drink was first nationally advertised in the United States in 1904. The soft drink is sold in Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America, New Zealand and South Africa as an imported good.

Dr Pepper’s tagline is called, “one of a kind.” But was there really a Doctor Pepper, or is the name simply clever marketing? Well, the answer is, both.

Experiments at the soda fountain

The unique beverage was invented by a pharmacist, Charkes Alderton-Wo was not a doctor. Alderston worked at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, TX. Alderton would often try mixing different flavors and experiments.

Pahrmacies, back in the old days would often serve as soda fountains. Alderton

He eventually settled on not one, not two, but 23 flavors, plus phosphoric acid. And to this day, the company holds fast to the line that “Dr Pepper is a unique blend of 23 flavors. The formula for Dr Pepper is proprietary information.” Talk about top secret!

It would appear that there was actually someone named Doctor Pepper once upon a time, though he had nothing to do with the invention of the beverage.

The drink was concocted by a pharmacist—not a doctor—named Charles Alderton, who worked at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, TX. In those days, pharmacies often doubled as soda fountains, and Alderton was known for trying different flavor combinations rather than simply pouring the usual fruit options. He eventually settled on not one, not two, but 23 flavors, plus phosphoric acid. And to this day, the company holds fast to the line that “Dr Pepper is a unique blend of 23 flavors. The formula for Dr Pepper is proprietary information.” Talk about top secret!

 

Dr Pepper isn’t just a soft drink in a can

Sure, you might like to crack open a can of Dr Pepper with a meal, but did you know that you can actually enjoy Dr Pepper heated up as well? According to the official site, Hot Dr Pepper was created years ago for a warm winter beverage! You simply heat the soda in a saucepan to 180 degrees, place a lemon slice at the bottom of a mug, and pour the heated Dr Pepper over it. We’re intrigued!

So, who is Dr. Pepper?

Alderton started serving the drink, and the regulars kept coming back for more. They originally called it a “Waco” after the name of their town, but pharmacy owner Wade Morrison sensed they were onto something and wanted to give it a better name. According to the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, there isn’t an official account of how the soda got its name, and they have more than a dozen different stories behind it—none of which can be verified.

According to popular legend though, Morrison suggested naming the drink Dr. Pepper (the company ditched the period after Dr in the 1950s) after an old colleague of his from Virginia named Dr. Charles T. Pepper. Those who crave a little more intrigue like to say that Pepper’s daughter was an old love interest of Morrison’s, but this story doesn’t really add up.

Whoever the real Dr. Pepper was, we’ll just continue to picture him as the bespeckled, top hat-wearing country doctor from its 1920s label. That makes as much sense as anything.

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