Who Owns Dr. Pepper?

who invented dr pepper

If you are a fan of soda, especially Dr. Pepper, you may have noticed that it is sometimes with Coca-Cola or with Pepsi depending on the location.

This article discusses Dr. Pepper’s ownership, its association with Coke and Pepsi, and other historical facts about this inimitable drink.

Who Owns Dr. Pepper?

Since 2018, Dr. Pepper is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper. Keurig Green Mountain acquired Dr. Pepper Snapple in 2018 to form Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP) which owns and makes Dr. Pepper.

Keurig Dr. Pepper has a portfolio of 125 brands that include coffees and teas, soft drinks, water, and juice drinks. Some of these popular brands are 7up, Mott’s, Canada Dry, Snapple, Kahlua, and Green Mountain coffee roasters.

Is Dr. Pepper a Coke or Pepsi Product?

No, Dr. Pepper is neither a Coca-Cola nor a PepsiCo product. However, in regions where Dr. Pepper’s parent company has no bottling plants or can not handle distribution, it has licensed the bottling and distribution rights to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

This means that some bottling facilities that are owned by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo receive Dr. Pepper concentrate from Keurig Dr. Pepper and simply bottle and distribute the product. So, Coke and Pepsi do not manufacture this special concentrate.

How A 1963 Federal Court Ruling Allowed Independent Bottlers to Bottle Dr. Pepper Alongside Coke and Pepsi

As we have discussed above, although Dr. Pepper, Coke, and Pepsi are competitors, in some regions, their parent companies work together in strategic partnerships such as distribution rights.

However, this was not always the case as evidenced in a 1963 court ruling that “Dr. Pepper is not a cola”. This ruling permitted independent bottlers who had franchise contracts with Coke and Pepsi to bottle Dr. Pepper and deliver it to the vendors alongside Pepsi and Coke.

Under the franchise contracts, the bottling plants were prohibited from bottling competing cola soft drinks other than Pepsi and Coke.

After the ruling, Dr. Pepper Company began courting the autonomous bottlers to grow its distribution.

Who Invented Dr. Pepper?

Dr. Pepper was invented in 1885 by Charles Alderton, a pharmacist at a corner drugstore in Waco, Texas. In the early 1980s, Charles had been experimenting with different mixtures of sweeteners and fruit extracts and selling them at the drugstore’s soda fountain.

One of the blends quickly became popular with the customers.

This blend had 23 flavors that gave the drink an inimitable taste. This drink was initially known as a Waco before Wade Morrisson, Charles’ employer, named it Dr. Pepper.

Dr. Pepper’s popularity continued to rapidly grow around Texas and it wasn’t until the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 that it was introduced to the rest of America and the World.

Why is Dr. Pepper Called Dr. Pepper?

There are two main unsubstantiated theories about where Dr. Pepper got its name from:

  • One theory suggests that Wade Morrisson named it after Charles T. Pepper, a doctor who had given Morrison his first job
  • The other theory suggests that Morrisson named the drink after a Mr. Pepper, the father of a girl that he was in love with. This was Morrisson’s way to impress the said Mr. Pepper. This theory is supported by another suggestion that the initials “Dr.” were added to the drink to support its earlier advertising claim that it restored vim, vigor, and vitality and helped digestion.

Is Dr. Pepper Older than Coke?

Dr. Pepper is a year older than Coke which was first served in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia. Interestingly, both Dr. Pepper and Coke were invented by pharmacists, Charles Alderton and Dr. John Stith Pemberton respectively, and were first sold in soda fountains in drugstores.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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