Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft drink in the United States and a fan favorite since it was first served in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, in 1885.
Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist educated in England, worked at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store where he also served carbonated soft drinks at the soda fountain. He had noted that customers soon tired of drinking the same old fruit flavors. The inventive Alderton decided to make something new by blending several fruit-based flavors. After numerous experiments, he finally created one he liked, and so did the store patrons.
A replica of the soda fountain at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store can be found at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas.
Dr Pepper gained such widespread consumer favor that other soda fountain operators in Waco began buying the syrup from Morrison. This soon presented a problem for Alderton and Morrison, as they could no longer produce enough syrup at their fountain to supply the demand.
Robert S. Lazenby, young beverage chemist and proprietor of The Circle "A" Ginger Ale Company in Waco, agreed to produce the syrup in his bottling plant. As Alderton was more interested in the pharmacy side of the business, Morrison and Lazenby developed the drink further.
In 1904, Lazenby and his son-in-law, J. B. O'Hara, introduced Dr Pepper to almost 20 million people attending the World's Fair Exposition in St. Louis. The exposition was the setting for more than one major product debut – hamburgers and hot dogs were first served on buns at the exposition, and the ice cream cone was introduced.
In subsequent years, Morrison and Lazenby remained impressed with the growth of Dr Pepper and they formed what later became Dr Pepper Company. Lazenby and O'Hara moved the company from Waco to Dallas in 1922 and opened their new operation in 1923. Today, Dr Pepper continues to grow as one of the namesake brands of Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
The slogan “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4” was created in the 1930s based on research indicating that sugar produces energy and that the average person typically experiences a sense of fatigue during a normal day at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
As the original Dr Pepper icon and later trademark in the 1920s, "Old Doc" featured a typical country doctor character with monocle and top hat.