Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Oh, my glass is filled with Dr Pepper, not champagne. Yep, not traditional worldwide, but traditional in my household. Dr Pepper is uniquely American, uniquely Texan, and the oldest major manufacturer of soft drink concentrates and syrups in the United States. Since I was a child, Dr Pepper has been my beverage of choice. Please allow me to tell you about this amazing drink.

Soft drinks have evolved from a combination of discovery, invention and collaboration. This rich history includes the birth of the soft drink in 1783, when Jean Jacob Schweppe perfected the process for carbonating water and created the world's first carbonated mineral water. But I want to share my favorite with you, Dr Pepper.
Dr Pepper Museum, Waco, Texas

Dr Pepper is a “native Texan,” originating at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison's store, is believed to be the inventor of the now famous drink. Alderton spent most of his time mixing up medicine for the people of Waco, but also pitched in to serve customers at the soda fountain counter common to drug stores at the time. He experimented with various flavors of fruits, berries, and herbs that flavored sparkling, carbonated water. Alderton kept a journal, and after numerous experiments he finally hit upon a mixture of fruit syrups that he--and his customers--liked.

Patrons at Morrison's soda fountain began ordering it by name. At the time, it was known only as a “Waco.” Customers would ask him to “Shoot me a Waco." Druggists east and west of the Brazos hounded Wade Morrison about purchasing jugs of syrup for their own shops. To satisfy the demand, Morrison and Alderton began to mix large batches of the syrup. That wasn’t enough, and the two men realized they needed a more efficient operation.

They consulted bottler, R. S. Lazenby. Alderton stepped out of the deal, but Morrison and Lazenby formed the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company with the sole purpose of volume production. By 1891, what had been a pharmacist’s experiment transformed into a gold mine.

Morrison is credited with naming the drink "Dr. Pepper" (the period was dropped in the 1950s). Unfortunately, the origin for the name is unclear. The Museum has collected over a dozen different stories on how the drink became known as Dr Pepper. The drink was called Dr. Pepper’s Phos-Ferrates. Whew, what a name.

Lazenby and his son-in-law, J.B. O'Hara, moved the company from Waco to Dallas in 1923. In 1904, Lazenby and O'Hara introduced Dr Pepper to almost 20 million people attending the 1904 World's Fair Exposition in St. Louis. The exposition was the setting for more than one major product debut. Hamburgers and frankfurters were first served on buns at the exposition, and the ice cream cone was first served in large numbers. On July 6, 1923, in Dallas, the remnants of the old Dr Pepper Company and Circle "A" Corporation officially incorporated as the Dr Pepper Company. Lazenby's son-in-law, John B. O'Hara, was named general manager of the firm. In these early years, the struggling firm developed a small but loyal following in the South and Southwest.

How long since a soft drink cost 5 cents?

In the 1920’s, Dr. Walter Eddy of Columbia University discovered that the human body experiences a natural energy drop at three key times of the day: 10:30 am, 2:30 pm, and 4:30 pm. A contest was held for the creation of an ad using this new information. The winner of the ad campaign came up with the famous advertising slogan, "Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4." Dr Pepper's slogan in the 1950s was "the friendly Pepper-Upper," which led the brand into the 1960s when it became associated with rock and roll music and on Dick Clark's American Bandstand TV show. The familiar clock logo was molded into bottles and has remained a part of Dr Pepper, but the original slogan and its source has been mostly forgotten.

An important 1963 district court ruling enabled Dr Pepper to expand when the United States Fifth District Court of Dallas declared that Dr Pepper was not a cola. This ruling allowed independent bottlers to carry Dr Pepper along with Pepsi-Cola or Coca-Cola, since bottlers could now carry Dr Pepper without violating their franchise contracts, which state that bottlers are not permitted to bottle competing brands. Through close personal contacts and cooperative promotional efforts, Dr Pepper aggressively courted independent bottlers. From 1968 to 1977, under the guidance of Chief Executive Officer Woodrow Wilson Clements, sales increased from $41.9 million to $226.8 million. In the same period net earnings jumped from $4.1 million to $20.3 million. W.W. Clements described the taste of Dr Pepper as one-of-a-kind, "I've always maintained you cannot tell anyone what Dr Pepper tastes like because it's so different. It's not an apple, it's not an orange, it's not a strawberry, it's not a root beer, it's not even a cola. It's a different kind of drink with a unique taste all its own." The unique taste is supposedly a secret combination of 23 fruits and herbs.

In 1986 Dr Pepper merged with the Seven-Up Company and soon thereafter moved its manufacturing operations to facilities in St. Louis, although the company's corporate headquarters remained in Dallas. In 1992 Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Companies, Inc., was the soft drink industry's third largest marketer, with a domestic market share of 11.1 percent. Its products included Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, 7UP, Diet 7UP, Cherry 7UP, Diet Cherry 7UP, Welch's, and IBC soft drinks. The company's net sales totaled more than $658 million in 1992. A collection of Dr Pepper memorabilia formed the core of the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute, which opened in Waco in 1991.

The company now known as DPS has evolved from a combination of discovery, invention and collaboration. This rich history includes the very birth of the soft drink in 1783, when Jean Jacob Schweppe perfected the process for carbonating water and created the world's first carbonated mineral water.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is a leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. Their success is fueled by more than 50 brands that are synonymous with refreshment, fun and flavor including 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drinks, and 9 of 12 leading brands are No. 1 in their flavor categories. In addition to their flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, the portfolio includes Sunkist Soda, 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Crush, Mott's, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, PeƱafiel, Clamato, Schweppes, Venom Energy, Rose's and Mr & Mrs T mixers.

One of the fun ad campaigns was the “Be a Pepper” song and dance in the 1980’s starring David Naughton.

“I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper,
She's a Pepper, we're a Pepper,
Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too?
Be a Pepper. Drink Dr Pepper.”

Drink up, friends! And while we're talking about Dr Pepper, it's the favorite drink of Deputy Sheriff Link Dixon, the hero of my Texas-set mystery, ALMOST HOME. If you like mysteries with quirky characters, give it a try. I think of it as Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes meets Joan Hess's Maggody series. (I should be so lucky as to be compared to either.)


After the death of his wife, Link Dixon moves back to his hometown of Cartersville, Texas with his young son, Jason, to the Victorian home Link inherited from his grandmother. He hopes being surrounded by extended family will help Jason change from the solemn boy he’s become. Link doesn’t begrudge leaving the Dallas PD where he worked for ten years because he and Jason both love their new home. Besides, he’d do anything to help Jason. The Dixon family is thrilled to have Link and Jason in town and Jason is gradually learning to smile again.

Link’s wasted in his job as a deputy on night patrol, collaring drunks like his cousin, Virgil Lee, but it’s the only law enforcement position unless he leaves the county. At the end of Link’s first night on patrol, he’s approached secretly by an old DEA acquaintance who wants him to add to his deputy’s job that of undercover to find the killer of the man he’d be replacing. The kicker is that there may be a leak in the sheriff’s office--Link could be working with dirty cops.

But he can’t refuse, this is Jason and his family’s home. He uncovers clues that lead to more questions. Link contacts an attorney friend from Dallas, Vince Bertolli, who has also recently relocated to Cartersville. When a second person dies, Link is framed for both murders. Help comes from an unexpected source, and Link escapes--helped by a life-long friend with a simple mind, Coy Cox. And then Link’s worst nightmare, Jason goes missing. Who would guess that cousin Virgil Lee would hold the key to retribution?

Thomas Hardy said a man can never go home again.  Almost home is close enough for Link Dixon.


Amazon in Print and E-book

Thanks for stopping by!

KICK 'N' BACK IN TEXAS, Armchair Reader, West Side Publishing Farl 


  1. How interesting, Caroline. I love hearing about how things get started. Leave it to the Texans to come up with a winner like Dr Pepper.

  2. That's interesting history on a soda. I don't drink soda pop except for the occasion while on a cruise and I needed Ginger Ale to settle my stomach.

    The books sounds like a winner, Caroline!

  3. Of course we drank Dr. Pepper as teenagers. I don't think I've had one since. I had a grown niece who drinks only this, and always has. Wasn't it best out of a bottle?
    There's an old bottling company downtown here in San Marcos, closed around 1988. I could have sworn it was Dr. Pepper, but my dh says it was Coke.
    As kids, my California cousing came to visit out on the South Plains, and we introduced them to Dr. Pepper. They declared it was the nastiest thing they'd ever tasted. But thing, nothing was as good in Texas as it was in California!They rubbed that in all the time.
    Fascinating, isn't it? I knew quite a bit of this, but not all, for sure. Thanks for the entertainment and history lessons.

  4. Wonderful history, Caroline! I love Diet Dr Pepper. It's almost as good as the "real" thing. Hubby and I visited the museum several years back and found it very interesting. Thanks for cluing us in on more historical details.

  5. I love Dr Pepper. LOVE IT. When we go on vacation to WV, it stops becoming available along somewhere in KY. By the time we get to Charleston, WV, no need to ask for it. The waitress always comes back with "Is Mr. Pibb okay?" UH....NO, honey, it's NOT okay. I'll take a Coke. It's not available in Minnesota, either, as I discovered when I went up there with Gary on a business trip. OK, maybe it is an acquired taste, but if that's true, why do they offer that horrid alternative Mr. Pibb? When I was little, my mom would heat Dr Pepper and slices of lemon for a cold/sore throat in the winter. I loved your post Caroline!


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