Soda Pop of the Week: Dr Pepper Soda
“The Friendly Pepper-Upper”
One of the oldest major brands of soft drinks in the country is Dr Pepper. It was created by Charles Alderton of Waco, Texas in 1885, in response to customers’ requests for a new syrup flavor. They were getting tired of the limited flavors that were offered, so Alderton mixed up a variety of fruit flavors to serve at the soda fountain at the Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store where he was employed as a pharmacist. He developed a flavor he liked, and it turned out, the customers liked it too. It became so popular in town that other pharmacy owners bought the syrup from Morrison and he soon found that he could no longer keep up with the demand for the new soft drink flavor.
Morrison approached Robert S. Lazenby, the proprietor of the Circle “A” Ginger Ale Company, also in Waco, to see if he would agree to produce the syrup in his bottling plant. Lazenby had also taken a liking to the new flavor, and agreed to produce it. Although Alderton had created the drink, he was not interested in promoting it, and resigned that responsibility to Morrison and Lazenby.
Dr Pepper was introduced to nearly 20 million people at the World’s Fair Exposition held in St. Louis in 1904. It was presented by Lazenby and his son-in-law, J.B. O’Hara. The soft drink continued to increase in popularity and the two men formed the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company. The name was later changed to the Dr Pepper Company. The company was moved to Dallas in 1922.
The slogan used to promote Dr Pepper from 1910 to 1914 was “King of Beverages”. In the 1920s and 30s the trademark character for Dr Pepper was an old country doctor in a top hat and monocle. The soft drink was promoted as being able to provide energy and aiding in the energy lapse most people feel at different times of the day. The slogan used into the 1950s was, “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4”. In the 1960s Dr Pepper was promoted as a suitable soft drink for the viewers of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand”. Probably the most memorable slogan used to sell Dr Pepper was the “Be a Pepper” slogan introduced in 1977.
Diet Dr Pepper was released in 1963 as “Dietetic Dr Pepper”. It didn’t sell well until three years later when the name was changed to Diet Dr Pepper. Sales increased steadily, and today Diet Dr Pepper is one of the top ten best selling soft drinks in the U.S. It’s now bottled by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. of Plano, Texas.