How Dr. Pepper was Created

By Phin Upham


The very official sounding name “Dr. Pepper,” has almost no connection to medicine. A doctor did not create it, a pharmacist did. Charles Alderton worked at Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas. In his spare time, he liked to mix different flavored syrups together. He claimed he enjoyed the smells. At a certain point, he became obsessed with creating something that tasted the same way that it smelled.

The owner of the drug store is said to have fallen in love with the drink, and he proposed to name it after a friend of his: Dr. Charles Pepper. They began selling it in stores, but demand forced them to scale and they brought their drink to other merchants in their local area. Rather than brewing their drink, they sold the syrup to make it, so the merchants mixed it in the shop and people got Dr. Pepper from concentrate (which was a first of its kind).

Alderton eventually grew tired of the business and sold Dr. Pepper to Morrison. Morrison, seeing something of a hit, took the idea to Robert Lazenby. Lazenby had some experience in the beverage industry, having launched a somewhat successful ginger ale company. Lazenby wanted something big, some stage with which to promote the beverage in grand style. The venue they chose was the 1904 World’s Fair Expo in St. Louis, which is the same place where the hamburger and the ice cream cone were first introduced to public consumption.

Since then, Dr. Pepper has been one of America’s favorite soft drinks. It’s available at almost any restaurant, and the beverage is sold on almost every store shelf.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.