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Dr Pepper is a soft drink, marketed as having a unique flavor. The drink was created in the 1880s by Charles Alderton of Waco, Texas and first served around 1885. Dr Pepper was first nationally marketed in the United States in 1904 and is now also sold in Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand (as an imported drink) and South America.


The U.S. Patent Office recognizes December 1, 1885, as the first time Dr Pepper was served. I

t was introduced nationally in the United States at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition as a new kind of soda pop, made with 23 flavors. Its introduction in 1885 preceded the introduction of Coca-Cola by one year. It was formulated by Brooklyn-born pharmacist Charles Alderton in Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. To test his new drink, he first offered it to store owner Wade Morrison, who also found it to his liking. Patrons at Morrison's soda fountain soon learned of Alderton's new drink and began ordering a "Waco". Alderton gave the formula to Morrison who named it Dr Pepper.

Product Variants

  • Dietetic Dr Pepper
  • Pepper Free
  • Caffeine Free Dr Pepper
  • Dr Pepper TEN
  • Dr Pepper Red Fusion
  • Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper
  • Dr Pepper Berries and Cream
  • Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper
  • Dr Pepper Cherry
  • Heritage Dr Pepper (aka Dr Pepper Heritage)
  • Dr Pepper "Made with Real Sugar"


There are many theories about the origins of the soft drink's name. One conjecture is that the "pep" refers to pepsin.

In 2009, an old ledger book filled with formulas and recipes was discovered by a man named Bill Waters while shopping at an antiques store in the Texas Panhandle. Several sheets and letterheads hinted that it had come from the W.B. Morrison & Co. Old Corner Drug Store (the same store where Dr Pepper was first served in 1885) and faded letters on the book's cover spelled out "Castles Formulas". John Castles was a partner of Morrison's for a time and worked at that location as early as 1880.

One recipe in the book titled "D Peppers Pepsin Bitters" was of particular interest, and some speculated it could be an early recipe for Dr Pepper. However, Dr Pepper Snapple Group insists it is not the formula for Dr Pepper, but is instead a medicinal recipe for a digestive aid. The book was put up for auction in May 2009 but no one purchased it.

Other Products

  • Dr Pepper has a line of jelly beans made by the Jelly Belly company.
  • A Dr Pepper gum was marketed for a time in the early/mid-1980s, but has since been discontinued.
  • Dr Pepper collaborated with Vita Food Products to produce Dr Pepper Sweet & Kickin' BBQ Sauce and Dr Pepper "More than Mesquite" Marinade.
  • Cosmetics company Bonne Bell includes Dr Pepper among its licensed soft drink flavored "Lip Smackers" lip balms.
  • Brach's has a line of hard candy that features Dr Pepper, Orange Crush, A&W Root Beer, and 7 Up flavored hard candies in Brach’s Soda Poppers.
  • Dr Pepper has an ice cream topping syrup also manufactured by Vita Food Products in 2009 called "Dr Pepper cherry dessert topping".
  • Dr Pepper also created an iPod skin cover, but it was discontinued.
  • Dr Pepper Slurpee.
  • Dr Pepper Flavored Freezies are currently available with Grape Crush and Hires Root Beer Flavors.

Legal History

In 1951, Dr Pepper sued the Coca-Cola Company for US$750,000 asserting that nickel Coca-Colas were sold below cost and were a restraint of trade.

In 1972, Dr Pepper sued the Coca-Cola Company for trademark infringement based on a soft drink marketed by Coca-Cola called "Peppo". They tried naming it Dr. Pibb, which was also determined to violate the trademark. After losing a lawsuit filed by Dr Pepper manufacturers who disputed Coke's original use of the name "Peppo," Coke settled on the name "Mr. PiBB" for important brand-identification purposes. A combination of an abbreviated formal title and a one-word surname would serve the purpose of helping consumers associate the new product with the "Dr Pepper-type" flavor.

In 2001, Mr. PiBB was later renamed, and reformulated as Pibb Xtra.

Dr Pepper became insolvent in the early 1980s, prompting an investment group to take the company private. Several years later, Coca-Cola attempted to acquire Dr Pepper, but was blocked from doing so by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Around the same time, Seven Up was acquired from Phillip Morris by the same investment company that bailed out Dr Pepper. Upon the failure of the Coca-Cola merger, Dr Pepper and Seven Up merged (creating Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., or DPSU), giving up international branding rights in the process. After the DPSU merger, Coca-Cola obtained most non-U.S. rights to the Dr Pepper name (with PepsiCo taking the Seven Up rights).

Dr Pepper was a frequent player in the 1990s antitrust history of the United States. As part of these activities, economists and the courts have weighed in with the opinion that Dr Pepper is a "Pepper" flavored drink and not a "Cola". In 1995, the FTC blocked a merger between The Coca-Cola Company and Dr Pepper on grounds that included concerns about a monopoly of the "Pepper" flavor category of soft drinks. In 1996, Dr Pepper was involved in an antitrust case involving Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys, NFL Properties, Nike, and other commercial interests active at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. Jones had made deals with Dr Pepper and the other companies that, the league said, violated their exclusive marketing contracts with Coca-Cola and other businesses. The NFL agreed to allow Jones and other teams to pursue their own agreements.

In 1998, the "Pepper" flavor soda category was a major part of the analysis supporting an antitrust case between Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

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