Dr. Pepper: The Beverage Prince

The story of Dr. Pepper is one of the greatest stories in the history of American business that almost never gets discussed. The founder of the beverage, Charles C. Alderton, actually beat Coca-Cola to the punch—obtaining a patent for Dr. Pepper’s formula in 1885 while John Pemberton didn’t start swirling Coca-Cola in Atlanta until 1886, making Dr. Pepper the oldest carbonated beverage in the world.

The company had drugstore roots. Alderton was a pharmacist in Waco, Texas who worked for a sole proprietor named Wade Morrison at “Morrison’s Corner Drug Store.” The invention of the soda foundation was losing its novelty because everything was flavored vanilla which did not mix well in the Texas heat in a world before air conditioning—either the vanilla sodas would be warm, or they’d be loaded with ice and the sodas would taste flat as the ice melted.

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