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The History of Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper was created in 1885 at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist at Morrison’s store who also occasionally worked at the soda fountain there, is credited as the inventor of the soft drink. Alderton liked the way that all of the fruit syrup flavorings made the store smell and set out to create a drink that tasted like that scent. After some trial and error, he found a combination of syrups that he liked. Soon customers were ordering Alderton’s custom drink at Morrison’s soda fountain; it was originally simply known as “a Waco.” Morrison himself came up with the name “Dr. Pepper” (the period was later dropped from the name during the 1950s). The drink became so popular that other soda fountain proprietors in the area began sourcing it from Alderton and Morrison to sell at their own establishments. Soon, the two men couldn’t keep up with the demand. Robert S. Lazenby, a young beverage chemist, partnered with Morrison to further develop the soft drink (despite inventing the drink, Alderton was uninterested in developing it further and suggested the two men work together instead). In 1891, Morrison and Lazenby formed the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became the Dr Pepper Company. (In 1923, Lazenby and his son-in-law, J.B. O’Hara, moved the company to Dallas.) In 1904, Lazenby introduced Dr Pepper to the larger world at the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition in St. Louis. Nearly 20 million people tried the drink there. Dr Pepper quickly gained popularity and the company began using slogans to promote the soda. From 1910 to 1914, the slogan was “King of Beverages” and in the 1920s, Old Doc, a country doctor character with a monocle and top hat, became the mascot of the brand. Other slogans that followed included, “Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4,” which capitalized on contemporary research about sugar and energy, and “the friendly Pepper-Upper.” In the 1960s, Dr Pepper was associated with rock ‘n roll music and was even featured on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. One of the soda’s most recent slogans is, “There’s just more to it,” which emphasizes the 23 fruit flavors that create the drink’s distinctive taste. Today, Dr Pepper remains a popular soda in the United States and is in fact one of the country’s oldest soft drinks.

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