Dr Pepper Originated in Waco, Texas

Growing up in the central Texas area, Dr Pepper is as common as water. Some joke that mothers put Dr Pepper in their baby’s bottle instead of milk. When you order a coke at a restaurant, you may be asked if you want Coke or Dr. Pepper.

If you’re not from Texas, you may not be aware that Dr Pepper actually originated in Waco, Texas.

Dr Pepper was created around 1885 by Brooklyn-born Charles Alderton who was a young pharmacist at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store. He liked the fruity smells of the fountain drinks being sold in the pharmacy and in his spare time he began experimenting with mixing them to try to duplicate the smell. He found one that he liked and offered it to Mr. Morrison to try who also liked it.

He began to introduce it to a few customers. It was first served around December 1885. In those early days it was requested by patrons at the pharmacy by them asking the person behind the counter to “shoot me a Waco.”

Once Alderton and Morrison began to collaborate on the production, Morrison, being the owner of the drug store renamed the drink “Dr. Pepper”. Some believe that Morrison named it after a friend of his, Dr. Charles Pepper. However, there are various versions of this story. Even the Dr. Pepper site is unclear about the name’s origin. It does seem like an odd name to name a drink even if he was naming it after a friend.

Later in the 1950s, the period was removed from the “Dr Pepper” name because the font being used in the logo made the letters confusing.
Dr Pepper, 12 fl oz cans, 12 pack
Dr Pepper, 12 fl oz cans, 12 pack
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As demand and popularity grew, Alderton and Morrison began having trouble keeping up with manufacturing enough “Dr Pepper” for their customers. Robert S. Lazenby owned The Circle “A” Ginger Ale Company in Waco and was impressed with “Dr Pepper”. Since Alderton did not want to pursue the business and manufacturing end of soft drinks, he agreed that Morrison and Lazenby should take over and become partners. In 1891, Morrison and Lazenby formed the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became the Dr Pepper Company.

In 1904, the company introduced Dr Pepper to 20 million people attending the 1904 World’s Fair Exposition, in St. Louis. That is the same world’s fair that first introduced hamburger and hot dog buns and ice cream cones to the public. Dr Pepper was introduced as a new kind of soda boasting that it was made with 23 flavors. I guess you could say it was the original “suicide drink”.

The Dr Pepper Museum

The Dr Pepper Museum is located in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building in downtown Waco, Texas at the corner of 5th and Mary Streets. It first opened to the public in 1991. This building was the first building to be specifically built to bottle Dr. Pepper and was utilized from 1906 to the 1960s. The museum has three floors of exhibits, memorabilia and a replica of the old drugstore that sells old-fashioned sodas from a working soda fountain.