Dr Pepper can on dark reflective surface. Dr Pepper can on dark reflective surface.

Wait, is Dr. Pepper Actually a Coke Product?

Well, I will tell you this – the answer will surprise you, much as it did me. Now, I know that many of us love Dr. Pepper. It is kind of a peppy soft drink. Some of us would argue that it tastes like prune, licorice, and cherry – but I like it anyway. Say what you want.

What I didn’t know though is this – Dr. Pepper originated in Texas and it is the fourth most popular in the United States, behind Pepsi and Coke. And interestingly, as my research tells me, it is partly owned by both these two giants – Pepsi and Coca Cola! I was always under the thought that only one company owned this drink- and I couldn’t be more wrong.

I will tell you why, but first, tell you what made me fall in love with Dr. Pepper.

1. For one, I love its origin story

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.  

I heard from historians that 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.

Today, my research tells me that they are owned by Australian company JAB Holdings and American company Mondelez, they also own other brands like Cinnabon, Canada Dry, and Kahlua.  It’s also cool because I don’t think you have many drinks like this one – which has so much of variety – even after being sort of a single drink.

2. I love The Recipe of Dr. Pepper

And believe me, this recipe isn’t simple. It is believed to be composed of 23 ingredients, although the recipe remains a secret. Where is the recipe hidden, you ask? It is said to be safe in Dallas, in a bank safe.

Now, I will remind you that in 2009 a recipe did come out which was said to be for “D Peppers Pepsin Bitters.” And there was a lot of controversy in the news. After much hustle and bustle, the company claimed that the recipe found was of some other product and not their iconic beverage. 

3. I like that I can try out Different Types of Dr. Pepper

Although it is now known very widely, the beverage has three types, and I hope you get to taste all of them.  

  • 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. But if you’re like “I taste the fizz more in Coke”, I will tell you why.

Name Brand vs Non-Name Brand Soda Challenge

I will say that this is because 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. Now let me tell you Who Owns Dr. Pepper

And the answer to this very complicated question will surprise you. 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.

And well, we can add to the complexity here. 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.

I asked around for the issue. Sources tell me that the primary cause of the confusion arises 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. But then 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.

Dr. Pepper Godzilla Commercial

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. I hope you remember the Iron Man ads with Dr. Pepper – they were pretty popular in their time. But as I say, and my mother says, you can “achieve the impossible”, if you set your mind to it.

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. 

Last Updated on April 6, 2024 by soubhik

Author

Anushree Khandelwal
  1. The article on Dr Pepper’s ownership shed light on its corporate parentage. Understanding the brand’s affiliations is interesting. Engaging and informative for soda enthusiasts!

  2. As a person who often watches English and American dramas, i was actually curious about dr.pepper drink. Always thought how would it taste. This article provides more information about it.

  3. The ownership of Dr. Pepper is quite intricate. While Keurig Dr. Pepper owns the brand, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have stakes in operations outside the United States. The brand is multifaceted, with Keurig Dr. Pepper producing a range of beverages and coffee-making equipment. The global ownership involves different parties, including bottlers owned by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, adding to the complexity of understanding its ownership structure.

  4. It was insightful to know more about the famous Dr. Pepper which is constantly referred to in most of the English dramas and movies. It’s like it quenched my thirst for its knowledge.

  5. As a student of commerce, the origin and rise of Dr. Pepper was truly fascinating! A lot of knowledge is delivered in fewer words, which is the barometer of a successful write-up.

  6. This article about who owns Dr Pepper was very interesting and surprising. I didn’t know that Dr Pepper was not owned by Coca-Cola or Pepsi, but by a separate company called Keurig Dr Pepper. The article also explained the history and the evolution of Dr Pepper and how it became one of the most popular soft drinks in the US. I think this article is very entertaining and informative for anyone who loves Dr Pepper or wants to know more about it.

  7. The ownership of Dr. Pepper was the subject of this intriguing and unexpected article. I had no idea that Keurig Dr Pepper, a distinct business, owned Dr Pepper instead of any big corporation. The history and development of Dr Pepper, as well as how it got to be one of the most well-liked soft drinks in the US, were also covered in the article. I think anyone who like Dr Pepper or wants to learn more about it will find this post to be both highly fun and educational.

  8. This comprehensive overview of Dr. Pepper’s history and attributes highlights its resilience in the face of strong competition. The secret recipe, diverse flavors, and strategic marketing campaigns contribute to its enduring popularity. The intricate ownership structure adds an interesting layer, showcasing how different companies handle various aspects of the brand globally. Dr. Pepper’s ability to adapt and grow, coupled with its unique taste, solidifies its place in the beverage landscape.

  9. I’ve always wondered about Dr Pepper and its connection to Coca-Cola. This article not only answered that question but also delved into the history of Dr. Pepper. Learning about its creation by pharmacist Charles Alderton in the late 1800s and its national prominence in 1963 was fascinating. It was also fun to learn different types of Dr Pepper, including Dublin Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Original Formula, which expanded my appreciation for this iconic beverage.

  10. Dr. Pepper’s ownership structure is convoluted. Although Keurig Dr. Pepper owns the brand, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have interests in businesses abroad. Keurig Dr. Pepper is a multipurpose brand that manufactures a range of beverages and coffee makers. Whoever like Dr Pepper or wants to learn more about it will find this piece to be entertaining as well as informative.

  11. It is no secret that Dr. Pepper and Coke have a striking resemblance. It turns out that they are related after all although only in the bases of ownership. Now I know that Coke owns a part of Dr. Pepper.

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