Dr. Pepper is the oldest major soft drink brand in the United States, having been invented in Waco, TX in 1885 by a pharmacist named Charles Alderton. At the time it was created, carbonated soft drinks were almost exclusively made at drugstores. This is likely why Coca-Cola was invented by another pharmacist, John Pemberton, one year later in 1886.
While “Coca-cola” has some obvious references in its name, however (specifically, coca leaves and kola nut), Dr. Pepper’s name isn’t quite as obvious. It’s not named for the owner of the drugstore where it was created, Wade Morrison. It’s not the nickname of Alderton. The “Pep” has nothing to do with the caffeine found in the drink.
The name reportedly comes from an actual Doctor, Doctor Charles Pepper, who was the father of Wade Morrison’s prospective fiancee. Morrison suggested the name to Alderton, who agreed to it.
Note: prospective fiancee. Morrison never married the young Miss Pepper, which suggests that Dr. Pepper may have been the person who kept the marriage from happening… at the time, a father’s blessing was expected for a marriage, particularly amidst a small community like 1880s Waco.
Whether the name was conferred to the soft drink as a reminder of the fame and wealth the daughter may have shared, or as a thankful nod due to a “bullet dodged”, is absolutely unknown.
What is known is that Dr. Pepper, after more than a hundred years, still has a bit of a romantic streak. That’s why they helped one of their fans to arrange a wedding proposal using a special can… and they filmed it.
Question of the night: What’s a place that holds romantic memories for you?