WACO, Texas (NEXSTAR) — Love Dr Pepper?
If you’re a fan, you likely already know that in addition to being the original home of Dr Pepper (more on that below), Waco is also home to the Dr Pepper Museum, which is supported by (though not owned or operated) by Dr Pepper parent company Keurig Dr Pepper.
You may be think you’re a Pepper expert — “Sgt. Pepper,” maybe? — but here’s a few facts you may not know about the maroon megastar. To find this information, we relied on independent research, in addition to the vast historical collection of the museum, and data from Keurig Dr Pepper’s site.
Why was the period removed from “Dr Pepper”?
You don’t notice it until you notice it: why doesn’t “Dr Pepper” have a period after the “Dr”? And didn’t there used to be one?
Dr Pepper says the period was dropped in the 1950s to make it easier to read on the smaller bottles of the time.
The beverage tweeted a reminder back in July 2016, saying: “This just in: There is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper. Less time writing punctuation = more time drinking Dr Pepper #TheMoreYouKnow.”
Dr Pepper vs Guns N’ Roses
Did you know Dr Pepper once had a beef with one of the top bands of the 80s and 90s?
Back in 2008, Dr Pepper delivered a jokey challenge regarding the band’s long-delayed “Chinese Democracy” album: release the decade-in-the-making album by the end of the year and “everyone in America” gets a free can of Dr Pepper.
Lead singer Axl Rose initially said he was “very happy” to have Dr Pepper’s support and the album was ultimately — finally — released in November 2008. As a result, Dr Pepper established a 24-hour window to claim their free can via its web site. But, as the New York Times reports, unexpected demand caused hours-long site crashes and the deadline needed to be extended.
Days later, attorneys for Rose sent Dr Pepper a letter calling Dr Pepper’s actions “a complete fiasco” and expressing negative feelings about the challenge in general and how it could reflect on the band.
“The redemption scheme your company clumsily implemented for this offer was an unmitigated disaster which defrauded consumers and, in the eyes of vocal fans, “ruined” the day of ‘Chinese Democracy‘s’ release. Now it is time to clean up the mess,” a letter from Rose’s attorneys read, according to NYT.
Rose and his attorneys also threatened legal action.
As reported by the Guardian, Dr Pepper did not take the legal challenge and instead issued a statement to “wish Guns N’ Roses the best” and explained, “This was one of the largest responses we have ever received for a giveaway and we’re happy we were able to satisfy the thirst of so many Dr Pepper fans.”
DP added it was “disappointed” that GNR’s lawyers turned a “fun giveaway” into a legal dispute. It appears the situation ended here.
OG soft drink
Did you know? According to Dr Pepper itself, among others, Dr Pepper is the oldest major soft drink brand in the U.S.
While Texas’ signature soft drink was first sold in 1885 at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, the brand was introduced to the world at large at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, according to Dr Pepper.
Dr Pepper’s circa-1885 origin predates that of Coca-Cola (1886) and Pepsi (1898), according to the companies’ websites.
Hot DP for the holidays?
Before there was “Pilk” — the 2022 viral recipe for mixing Pepsi and milk — there was Hot DP.
It turns out, back in the 1950s-60s, hot Dr Pepper was a holiday speciality promoted by the company itself. As reported by the Washington Post, some of the company’s recipes call for heating Dr Pepper in a pan until it reaches 180 degrees but some others recommend heating until it steams. The drink should also include a lemon wedge.
Just this year, Taste of Home contributor Gael Fashingbauer tried the throwback holiday treat. While she wasn’t a fan, WaPo’s Emily Heil was more complimentary. According to Heil, the heat enhanced some of the beverages’ signature 23 flavors (more on that in the next section).
Waco’s Dr Pepper Museum even serves the hot beverage as part of its “Seasonal Favorites” menu section. A representative for the museum says hot Dr Pepper is sold at its soda fountain from Nov. 1 to Feb. 1.
Dr Pepper famously — it’s right there on most labels! — features 23 flavors, both natural and artificial, according to Dr Pepper Museum. While the exact composition remains a trade secret (though educated guesses abound), one flavor you absolutely won’t taste is prune juice.
The museum explicitly addresses the old rumor, saying: “There is no prune juice (or ever was) in Dr Pepper.” Fact-checking resource site Snopes even has an article addressing the “long-lived” rumor, which it reports has been around since about 1930.
While no one knows definitively how the idea started, there are many theories. Snopes posits it could be as simple as Dr Pepper sharing a similar color to prune juice. More insidiously, the site explains the rumor may have begun by a DP rival in order to dissuade people from drinking or ordering it.
The museum itself says it believes the rumor actually stemmed from a comment made by actor Bob Hope during a visit to Waco long ago. We may never know for sure but one thing Dr Pepper is sure of: “it does not contain prune juice.”
‘Muscle Beach Party’
Dr Pepper has been seen in a variety of TV shows and movies but its first official product placement happened in 1964’s “Muscle Beach Party,” a comedy directed by famed “beach party movie” director William Asher and starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.
Beach party movies were a genre of films popular in the 1960s, which featured young people in mostly comedic plots centered around beach settings and music.
But Dr Pepper’s on-screen appearances didn’t end with beach parties. The museum says it’s loaned out items for many movies throughout the years, including two 2011 Marvel Cinematic Universe entries, “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor.”