Dr Pepper is one of the most popular and beloved soda brands. As you know, many soda brands are owned by Coke. Is Dr Pepper a Coke product?
Dr Pepper is not a product of Coke or Pepsi. It is a stand-alone soft drink. Dr Pepper Keurig Group is the company that makes this beverage. The confusion arises because the Keurig Group has some bottling and warehouse partnerships with Coca Cola and PepsiCo.
The maker of Dr Pepper claims that it is the oldest major soft drink in America. Many people assume that it is either a part of Coke or Pepsi. Perhaps this is because there are Coke and Pepsi factories that bottle and store Dr Pepper soft drinks.
Read on to learn more about Dr Pepper, its history and origin, why many mistake it for Coke or Pepsi, its relationship with these two cola giants, and other surprising things you might not know about this beverage.
Is Dr Pepper a Coke Product?
Dr Pepper is not a product by Coke or Pepsi. A separate business entity produces it. The confusion arises because Dr Pepper has some business arrangement with the two major soft drink makers.
Dr Pepper owners utilize the bottling and warehousing facilities of Coke and Pepsi to bottle and store their soft drinks.
Some people must have seen trucks of Dr Pepper soft drinks coming out of Coke and Pepsi warehouses. This causes them to assume that these two companies make this beverage.
The parent company of Dr Pepper is a large conglomerate group that goes by the name of Keurig Dr Pepper. Aside from Dr Pepper, this company owns other big-name consumer brands that include 7Up. Coke does not produce Dr Pepper, so definitely, it is not a coke product.
History of Dr Pepper
The story of Dr Pepper started way back in 1885. No wonder its owner claims that it is the oldest soft drink in the world. At that time, Charles Alderton, an American pharmacist, tinkered with different soda flavors in his desire to blend a beverage that customers will love.
At that time, Alderton was a pharmacist working in a drug store, Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. Alderton asked Morrison to taste his new concoction. Morrison, after tasting the drink, gave it a thumb’s up.
Alderton wanted to call his drink “Waco,” thinking that this name gave it some punch. But his boss, Morrison, thought that Dr. Pepper is punchier. Customers of the store learned of the new drink and started ordering it in droves.
In its early advertisements, the soft drink made some medical claims. These ads claimed that the drink can help in digestion and can restore vim, vitality, vigor.
Alderton launched the drink on a bigger stage at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Visitors at the fair love the taste of the drink, and it became a hit.
In the 1950s, Morrison took out the period from ‘Dr’ to make the brand name more stylish. Then in 1952, the company launched the Dietetic Dr Pepper.
They later renamed it ‘Sugar-Free Dr Pepper, and then changed it again later with Diet Dr Pepper. Alderton made other flavors in the following years. These flavors included Chocolate Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Cherry, and many more.
Is Dr pepper a Coke or Pepsi product? Dr Pepper is not a Coke or Pepsi product. Its maker is the Dr Pepper Keurig Group, and this company has bottling and warehouse agreements with Coke and Pepsi.
Who Owns Dr Pepper?
At present, Dr Pepper belongs to a large conglomerate known as Keurig Dr Pepper. Mondelez owns this conglomerate, an American company, and JAB Holdings, an Austrian company.
Keurig Dr Pepper also owns several other brands, including the following:
- Canada Dry,
- Keurig, and
Among the beverage companies in the United States, Keurig Dr Pepper is the seventh-largest. The company has approximately 25,000 employees operating the facilities at its over 100 distribution centers across the United States.
The company’s business arrangement with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo is quite complex. When Dr Pepper filed for bankruptcy in 2008, Coca-Cola tried to buy it. However, antitrust problems prevented the merger from pushing through.
But still, Coca Cola owns some of the rights to distribute Dr Pepper in other countries such as in select European countries and in South Korea. Likewise, PepsiCo also owns other international distribution rights to Dr Pepper.
But PepsiCo’s rights are only effective in areas where Dr Pepper’s market share is not significant. Dr Pepper also utilizes some of Coca-Cola’s and PepsiCo’s bottling facilities and warehouses for its beverage products.
The Austrian holdings company, JAB Holdings, as of 2019, owns the majority of Dr Pepper’s stocks (about 86%). Mondelez, an American company known as a snack food conglomerate with its Kraft Foods, owns the rest. This company is based in Minnesota.
Nearly 100% of the market of Dr Pepper is in the United States. It uses different bottling companies to bottle its beverages. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo own the majority of these bottling facilities.
Dr Pepper has also made business arrangements with these two soft drinks giants to distribute its products. It provides the syrups or the ingredients and recipes to the bottlers. The bottlers, in turn, pour the liquid beverages into Dr Pepper bottles.
Is Dr Pepper a Pepsi or Coke product? Dr Pepper is a product made by Dr Pepper Keurig Group. Thus, it is not a product by either Pepsi or Coke. But Dr Pepper has an existing bottling and warehouse agreement with said companies.
How to Describe the Taste of Dr Pepper?
As far as taste is concerned, there is not just one taste of this beverage. This brand of soft drink has a total of 23 flavors. With Dr Pepper, there should be a flavor that will satisfy every palate in the world.
The 23 flavors of Dr Pepper are the following:
- Prickly ash
- Coriander juniper
There’s also one thing that makes Dr Pepper attractive as a beverage: you can drink it cold, and you can also drink it hot. Whether hot or cold, Dr Pepper tastes good. There’s no other beverage with that kind of option.
In plastic bottles, Dr Pepper can last three months without refrigeration. But if you get it in glasses or cans, it will last nine months.
Again, is Dr Pepper, a Coke product? Dr Pepper is neither a Pepsi nor Coke product. Instead, its maker is the Dr Pepper Keurig Group. This confusion arises due to the bottling and warehouse agreement of Dr Pepper Keurig Group with Pepsi and Coke.
Dr Pepper Ingredients
As with Coke and Pepsi, the exact formula to make Dr Pepper is a trade secret. Owners kept the recipe (two halves) in two safe deposit boxes in two different Dallas banks.
According to stories, three individuals wrote the original recipe of Dr Pepper on the back of a napkin. The words were written at the time three friends were celebrating a birthday at a bar. The place was Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, located on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The three friends thought of a beverage concoction that is unlike anything that was made before. Then, the owners put the halves of the napkins in two Dallas bank safe deposits. They folded the napkins and placed them inside an original mayonnaise jar from the Blacksmith Shop’s kitchen.
This napkin is now in an iron safe safely hidden in the back office of Dr Pepper’s headquarters in Plano, Texas. There are only three individuals who are privy to the 23 flavors of Dr Pepper.
Does Dr Pepper Contain Prune Juice?
But there is a persistent rumor going around since the 1930s that one of its ingredients is prune juice. However, on Dr Pepper’s official website’s FAQ page, one of the answers definitely stated that the beverage does not contain prune juice.
It further explained that it is a proprietary blend of artificial and natural flavors.
The rumors must have started because of the distinct taste of the drink – that of prune juice. The company now produces soda from high fructose corn syrup, carbonated water, and the other typical ingredients. Understandably, you won’t find any of these ingredients on the label.
If you really want to know a thing or two about its ingredients, you can visit the FAQ on its official website. There you will see some of the questions about its ingredients answered, officially.
Does Dr Pepper Contain Caffeine?
For instance, one question asked whether Dr Pepper contains caffeine. The answer is yes. It even enumerated the flavors that contain caffeine and in what proportion. Here are some of the details:
- Regular Cherry Vanilla – 26 mg. of caffeine for every 8 fluid ounces
- Diet Cherry Vanilla – 26 mg. of caffeine for every 8 fl. oz.
- Dr Pepper Cherry – 26 mg. of caffeine for every 8 fl. oz.
- Diet Dr Pepper Cherry – 26 mg. of caffeine for every 8 fl. oz.
- Regular Dr Pepper – 28 mg. of caffeine for every 8 fl. oz.
Dr Pepper, according to this FAQ, also contains sugar, but not aspartame. All the 23 flavors are gluten-free as well, and they do not contain prune juice.
Surprising Things You Might Not Know About Dr Pepper
Perhaps you are not aware of the following things that I would reveal to you now. Dr Pepper has some things that will surprise you:
1. There is No Period in the Name
Don’t correct anyone who spells Dr Pepper without a period. That is the correct spelling of Dr Pepper. It is not clear if the original owners of this beverage named it after a real doctor.
In fact, they removed the period in the 1950s when they redesigned their corporate logo. Some believe that the modified logo is easier to read.
2. Dr Pepper Is Not Legally Considered as a Cola
In most of Dr Pepper’s history, it was known as a regional delicacy. Its popularity was confined to the South and the Southwest. Coke and Pepsi were the first ones to become nationally popular.
These two giants created exclusive franchise contracts with their bottlers and distributors nationwide and marketed their respective syrups as colas. Dr Pepper was unable to crack these markets because of Coke and Pepsi’s hold on the markets.
But all of that changed in 1963. A federal court gave a ruling that the unique flavor of Dr Pepper is not a feature that can qualify it as a ‘cola product.’ That means bottlers can now distribute Dr Pepper without going against their exclusive deals with Coca Cola and PepsiCo.
By the end of that decade, Dr Pepper became available across the United States.
3. Dr Pepper Is Also Good For Drinking Hot
Frosted colas are very good on a scorching day. But a cold cola is not good to drink when the whole family is gathered ‘round the Christmas tree in freezing winter. In the 1960s, Dr Pepper tried to hype its sales during the holidays by selling hot Dr Pepper with lemon.
They promoted the drink as a good alternative cocktail for winter festivities. People in the South patronized the idea and the product. However, it did not become a usual holiday treat across the country.
Conclusion – Is Dr Pepper a Coke or Pepsi Product?
Neither Coca-Cola nor PepsiCo makes Dr Pepper. So, it is not a coke product. It is a stand-alone soft drink brand. The owner and maker of this beverage are Keurig Dr Pepper. It is a conglomerate that produces other brands of beverages and consumer items.
Many have assumed that either Coca-Cola or PepsiCo owns Dr Pepper because they see trucks containing Dr Pepper soft drinks coming out of Coke and Pepsi warehouses.
Dr Pepper has some business ties with these two major soft drink makers that involve bottling and warehousing of their products.