Dr. Pepper is kind of a soft drink, carbonated to add the fizz. It tastes like prune, licorice, and cherry to a lot of people.
Although they are known to have a secret recipe. Origination of Dr. Pepper was in Texas and it is the fourth most popular in the United States, behind Pepsi and Coke.
1. The History of Dr. Pepper
It is believed that in the late 1800s, Dr. Pepper was created by a pharmacist named Charles Alderton in the city of Waco. In 1963 it achieved national prominence and the court declared that it is not cola and hence could be bottled by many bottlers.
It was a very difficult process because Coke and Pepsi were trying their best to not let any new competition come into the picture. After the court’s ruling the brand became a big hit.
It was such a problem before the ruling that Dr. Pepper once even tried to modify some things and sell their beverage as a warm drink but that did not work out and finally, they settled on a cold drink, which is how it is consumed to date.
Keurig Dr. Pepper is the parent company of Dr. Pepper which is the seventh largest in the United States in the category of beverage brands. It has over 100 distribution centers and employs close to twenty-five thousand people.
They are owned by Australian company JAB Holdings and American company Mondelez, they also own other brands like Cinnabon, Canada Dry, and Kahlua.
2. The Recipe of Dr. Pepper
It is believed to be composed of 23 ingredients, although the recipe remains a secret; and is said to be safe in Dallas, in a bank safe.
Although, in 2009 a recipe did come out which was said to be for “D Peppers Pepsin Bitters.” After much hustle and bustle, the company claimed that the recipe found was of some other product and not their iconic beverage.
3. Types of Dr. Pepper
Although it is now known very widely, the beverage has three types
- Dublin Dr.Pepper – Primarily sold in Texas and nearby places. The most popular flavor is Raspberry. It is even produced in Dublin.
- Diet Dr. Pepper – This is the calorie-free version of the beverage as they use Aspartame in the production, although available nationally it is largely sold in central and south Texas. The most popular flavor is cherry.
- Original Formula Keurig Dr. Pepper – For anybody living not in Texas, this is the drink you consume.
4. Coke vs Dr. Pepper
Both beverages are pretty similar, which is why in the beginning Dr. Pepper had to work very hard to declare that it does not taste like Cola.
Both beverages contain caffeine, natural flavors, corn syrup, sugar, and caramel color.
Coke has a higher level of sodium content, as well as caffeine and even more carbonation.
Both the beverages primarily differ in the taste undertone, while Coke has an undertone of citrus fruits and the other one has a little more sweet fruits. The packaging and the bottle sizes are also distinctive.
5. Who Owns Dr. Pepper?
This is a very complicated question, although Dr. Pepper is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola own some parts of the operations in countries other than the United States.
So, there are different parts of the brand, and these are owned by different companies. Plus its rights vary around the globe.
Keurig Dr. Pepper produces coffee-making equipment along with beverages; some of the brands under it are Sunkist, Snapple, and 7Up to name a few among the long list of 125 brands.
Further ahead, the ownership is not under a singular party rather it is between some. Dr. Pepper has bottlers outside the US also and some of these bottlers are owned by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, hence the confusion.
The primary cause of the confusion however rises due to the problems of bottling, they do not support a robust system in-house that can handle all the processes in the production cycle, so they have contracts with other companies for these processes.
As we move outside the States, the situation gets more complicated. In countries like New Zealand, Canada, and Australia PepsiCo owns the brand and in Europe, Coca-Cola owns the rights of the brand; and by owning the rights it means that they bottle, distribute and work on the sales of the product.
This further means that when we ask if Dr. Pepper is a Coke Product, then it is not. This is because it is not a brand under the Coca-Cola company as it does not own the brand Dr. Pepper, the recipe, or the intellectual property, all that remains with the parent company itself.
Similarly, Pepsi which is a brand under PepsiCo does not own Dr. Pepper it does not even list it on its website because of the same reason stated above.
6. How did Dr. Pepper Grow?
With hurdles like Coca-Cola and Pepsi on the way, the brand had to work hard on their marketing so they started with creative punchlines like ‘Drink Slow, Doctor’s Orders.
They also brought celebrities on board for promotion like Neil Patrick Harris and Kelsey Grammer.
They even used ongoing trends roped in Marvel characters like Iron Man under their marketing strategy.
7. Final Thoughts
The complete ownership argument is puzzling and a single owner can not be stated; the ownership, rights, operations, sales, and other processes are handled by different brands in different regions of the world.