A Few of my Favorite Things

I decided that I want to write a series of posts about a few of my favorite things. I have a lot of stuff that I just like a lot, and most of it there are reasons behind why I do. Then again, there are some things that there’s not a reason at all why I like it.

The first one I would like to talk about is Dr Pepper.

I love Dr Pepper.

A lot.

I love it enough to know that there is no period after the Dr part because of an old ad campaign that the period made it look strange so they took it out. The font was italicized and it made the top portion of the “r” look wierd, and it came out looking like “Di: Pepper”.

And though the name suggests it, there is no pepper in Dr Pepper. (Coincidentally, there is also no amount of doctor in Dr Pepper. Just sayin’.) Also, contrary to popular belief there are no prunes in Dr Pepper, but one of the ingredients called Propylene Glycol is used in laxatives. Propylene Glycol is used in many things; like cosmetics, food, tooth paste, mouth wash, electronic cigarettes, and bread sticks. Yummy!

Growing up in Texas gave me access to as much Dr Pepper as I could want. Business trips from Dallas to Austin or San Antonio are always fun because I get to stop in at the Dr Pepper museum in Waco, and I always get a Dr Pepper float. Perhaps that explains the expanding waistline. Or perhaps it’s the laziness. Probably the latter.

The story of Dr Pepper is riddled with Shakespearian drama. OK, so not really. But here is the story, directly from the museum’s site.

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 in his spare time he liked to serve carbonated drinks at the soda fountain. He liked the way the drug store smelled, with all of the fruit syrup flavor smells mixing together in the air. He decided to create a drink that tasted like that smell. He kept a journal, and after numerous experiments he finally hit upon a mixture of fruit syrups that he liked.

Yep. It's true.

To test his new drink, he first offered it to store owner Morrison, who also found it to his liking. After repeated sample testing by the two, Alderton was ready to offer his new drink to some of the fountain customers. They liked it as well. Other patrons at Morrison’s soda fountain soon learned of Alderton’s new drink and began ordering it by asking him to shoot them a “Waco.”

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.

Dr Pepper gained such widespread consumer favor that other soda fountain operators in Waco began buying the syrup from Morrison and serving it. This soon presented a problem for Alderton and Morrison. They could no longer produce enough at their fountain to supply the demand.

Robert S. Lazenby, a young beverage chemist, had also tasted the new drink and he, too, was impressed. Alderton, the inventor, was primarily interested in pharmacy work and had no designs on the drink. He suggested that Morrison and Lazenby develop it further.

Morrison and Lazenby were impressed with the growth of Dr Pepper. In 1891, they formed a new firm, the Artesian Mfg. & Bottling Company, which later became Dr Pepper Company. 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.

From 1910 to 1914, Dr Pepper was identified with the slogan, “King of Beverages.” “Old Doc,” a typical country doctor character with monocle and top hat, became the Dr Pepper trademark character in the 1920s and 1930s. During that era, research was discovered proving that sugar provided energy and that the average person experiences a letdown during the normal day at 10:30a.m., 2:30p.m. and 4:30p.m. 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.

With changing times came changing slogans. To broaden its appeal across the nation, Dr Pepper hailed itself as “the most misunderstood soft drink,” and then in the 1970s became “the most original soft drink ever in the whole wide world.” In 1977, Dr Pepper advertising was marked by the famous “Be a Pepper” campaign, followed by “Be You.” The newest slogan out today is “There’s just more to it,” which coordinates with the emphasis on the 23 fruit flavors that give Dr Pepper its unique taste.

That’s probably way more than anyone reading this ever cared to know, but there it is.

This is in my office at work.

My passion for the awesomeness has been a long endeavor. I was co-editor of my school’s yearbook one year and I secretly placed cut out pictures of Dr Pepper cans throughout the book, including one page which featured them heavily. This love affair with Dr Pepper has had its ups and downs, but the love remains. Kinda sounds a little creepy when I put it that way. But whatever; I love it.

So suck it.

I’d like to point out a few things about Dr Pepper that I think non Dr Pepper lovers don’t realize:

If I go to a restaurant and order my Dr Pepper and you don’t have it because you have Mr.Pibb; effen tell me because they ARE NOT THE SAME! I can tell! Mr. Pibb taste like it has been poured through a vat of sugar before leaving the fountain. It’s nasty.

A “Flaming Dr Pepper” actually taste more like RC Cola. For those who don’t know what a Flaming Dr Pepper is: it’s a shot of Amaretto topped with 151 rum. Then it’s set on fire. Then you drop it in half a pint of beer and chug it. It’s really good but it doesn’t taste like Dr Pepper. And I should know.

And lastly, here is an incomplete list of sodas that try to be like Dr Pepper, but inevitably fall short.

Mr. Pibb
Dr. Becker
Dr. Rocket
Doc Shasta
Dr. Smooth
Dr. Slice
Dr. Right
Dr. Fizz
Dr. Topper
Dr. Choice
Dr. Parker
Dr. Randall
Dr. Starr
Dr. Zeppa
Dr. A+
Dr. Chek
Mr. Aahh
Dr. B
Dr. Bold
Dr. Skipper
Dr. Thunder
Dr. Rush

So, as you can see there are a lot of imitators out there. Good for them, but I bet they all taste like… well… something nasty. I hope you learned something about yourself today, because I wasn’t going to teach it to you.

  1. What’s your favorite soda and why?

    • Jason
    • August 2nd, 2010

    Dude…have to say I’m with you on this one all the way. Dr Pepper is by far my favorite soft drink, and for that I thank you for this expansive biography of said drink! Your addiction may be a little out of hand…but hey…at least it’s not meth!

    • Adam
    • August 3rd, 2010

    Dr. Thunder is horrible. I do like Mr. Pibb though. It’s a refreshing difference from Dr. Pepper sometimes, but I still do love my Dr. Pepper.

  2. You’ve actually tasted Dr. Thunder? What’s wrong with you, man?

    • Adam
    • August 3rd, 2010

    When its free at an outing event, the last thing you think is that its probably the most horrible dr. pepper wannabe ever made. All I think is its free and soda, but it is a ruse and a trap, and at that moment the poison hits my tongue all I can think is its somehow Cedric’s fault.

  3. That is no excuse.

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