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Weird Facts about Dr Pepper®

  • Dr Pepper is purportedly named after a Virginia physician, Dr. William R. Pepper, whose daughter, Minerva, captured the heart of local pharmacist Wade B. Morrison. Customers at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, familiar with the story of the short-lived romance, named the bittersweet soft drink after Dr. Pepper.
  • In 1885, Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Wade Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in the central Texas town of Waco, also served carbonated drinks at the soda fountain. Realizing that customers were tired of drinking the same old fruit flavors, he began experimenting with flavors of his own until he hit upon one he liked—which he tested on Wade Morrison, who also liked the new soft drink.
  • Alderton then offered his new drink to some of his soda-fountain customers. They liked it, too. Word spread, and soon everyone at Morrison’s soda fountain was ordering the new soft drink, called a “Waco,” because Waco was the only place it was available.
  • Patrons suggested that Morrison name the new fountain drink after Dr. Pepper, the Virginia physician who purportedly refused to let him marry his daughter. Legend holds that Wade Morrison returned to Virginia and finally won the hand of Dr. Pepper’s daughter, but in fact he married Carrie B. Jeffress in 1882 and remained married to her until his death in 1924.
  • Soon other soda-fountain operators in Waco began buying the syrup from Morrison and serving it. Morrison decided to bottle the drink, and in 1891 formed the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottle Company (named after the many artesian wells in the area that supposedly supplied healthful water). Robert S. Lazenby, a young beverage chemist hired to run the plant, perfected and stabilized the formula for bottling. Alderton, the soft drink’s originator, remained more interested in the pharmacy than the soft-drink business.
  • In 1904, Robert S. Lazenby introduced Dr Pepper to almost twenty million people attending the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition in St. Louis.
  • Dr Pepper was invented one year before Coca-Cola (1886) and six years before Pepsi-Cola (1901).
  • The original formula for Dr Pepper did not contain caffeine or cocaine because some researchers at the time considered caffeine and cocaine dangerous, even though both substances were legal.
  • In 1917, Robert Lazenby, president of the company, decided to add caffeine to Dr Pepper. In 1939, Dr Pepper executives took the caffeine out and added vitamin B-1, reasoning that the drink would be healthier and therefore more popular. Unfortunately, the vitamin caused the soft drink to go bad and changed the taste. Vitamin B-1 was promptly taken out of Dr Pepper.
  • The original advertising slogan for Dr Pepper was “Liquid Sunshine.”
  • Twenty-three fruit flavors make up Dr Pepper.
  • When Dr Pepper made its debut at the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition in St. Louis, the exposition also marked the first time in history that hamburgers and hot dogs were served on buns. The exposition also witnessed the introduction of the edible ice cream cone.
  • In 1906, the Dr Pepper Company bought the Freckleater Company, which manufactured an ointment for removing freckles from the skin. In 1907, Dr Pepper sold the Freckleater Company back to its original owner for the same price it was purchased.
  • Dr Pepper Company is the oldest major manufacturer of soft-drink concentrates and syrups in the United States.
  • During the 1920s and 1930s, while Dr Pepper was sold by “Old Doc,” a typical country-doctor character with monocle and top hat, Dr. Walter Eddy, a professor at Columbia University, discovered that the average person experiences a slump of energy during the normal day at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. Since research also showed that the sugar in Dr Pepper provided energy, J. B. O’Hara originated the famous advertising slogan, “Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4,” which was eventually abbreviated to the mysterious “10- 2-4” on the bottles.
  • Dr Pepper’s advertising slogans have included “If Atlas were on earth, he would recommend Dr Pepper,” and “It leaves a pleasant farewell and a gracious call back.”
  • The period after “Dr” was dropped in 1950.
  • In the 1960s, Dr Pepper, “the friendly Pepper-Upper,” sponsored Dick Clark’s American Bandstand television show.
  • In 1963, Dr Pepper introduced “Dietetic Dr Pepper,” but changed the name three years later after realizing that people confused the word dietetic with diabetic.
  • Dr Pepper went from being “the most misunderstood soft drink” in the 1960s, to “the most original soft drink ever” in the 1970s.
  • In 1977, Dr Pepper launched the famous “Be a Pepper” commercial jingle, prompting Saturday Night Live to do a sketch starring Bill Murray leading the Not Ready for Prime Time Players as Peppers.
  • In 1991, the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute opened in the classic 1906 “Richardsonian Romanesque” building in downtown Waco, Texas, that served as the national headquarters for Dr Pepper until 1922. The building stands three blocks from the original site of Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store, where Dr. Charles Alderton first created Dr Pepper in 1885. The building is the only surviving early headquarters for a major American soft drink. Aside from showcasing the history of Dr Pepper, the museum boasts one of the largest soft-drink collections in the world, a working antique soda fountain, and a gift shop with a catalog offering more than 1,500 items.
Copyright © 1995- Joey Green. "Dr Pepper" is a registered trademark of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.
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