Is Dr Pepper A Coke Product?


Is Dr Pepper a Coke product? Well, if that question has been bothering you, it should come as a welcome relief to know that you are not alone. Many people mistakenly think Dr. Pepper is a Coke product because of their close ties. This article highlights essential facts about Dr Pepper and why it is not a coke product. 

Despite close association, Dr. Pepper has never been a Coke product. Cadbury Schweppes acquired Dr. Pepper in 1998, but 10 years later, the company split into two. One of the companies retained the Dr. Pepper brand and traded as Dr. Pepper Snapple Group until 2018. The brand is currently owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper following a merger between DPSG and Keurig Green Mountain.   

Is Dr. Pepper a Soft Drink or Health Drink?

Dr. Pepper is a soft drink that was created in 1885 by Charles Alderton, a Texas-based Pharmacist. It has been around for over a century, making it one of the oldest beverages in the world. Initially marketed as a health drink, it was later rebranded to “a different kind of soft drink .”It has a unique and distinct formula that sets it apart from cola drinks.

Attempts to offer a hot drink version of Dr Pepper have not particularly been successful. As such, Dr Pepper has primarily been sold as a soft drink in various flavors. 

Is Dr. Pepper a Real Person?

It is not clear whether Dr. Pepper is a real person or not. In fact, there are two contradicting theories explaining the origins of the name. The first theory holds that the drink was named Dr. Pepper by Wade Morrison, the former boss of Charles Alderton. 


It is claimed that Morrison might have named it after Charles Taylor Pepper, an American Physician, and Surgeon. Charles Pepper is the husband to Isabella Howe of the Rural Retreat.  

The other theory claims that it was named after Charles Alderton’s daughter, who visited and helped him with the recipe. According to the proponents of this theory, the prefix Dr could have been used to anchor it as a health drink. And Pepper might have been used to signify the owner’s initial intention to offer it as a hot drink. 

What Flavors Does Dr. Pepper Have?

Dr. Pepper has over 23 flavors. The typical flavors of Dr. Pepper include Licorice, prickly ash, cardamom, cola, cherry, lemon, Pepper, birch, amaretto, blackberry almond, among many others. It is also good to note that Dr. Pepper can be taken in hot and cold conditions. This is not the case with other soft drinks like Coke which are better taken in cold conditions. 

What is the Link between Dr. Pepper & Coke?

Coke and Pepsi have distribution rights for Dr Pepper, especially in non-US markets. This is probably why many people think Dr. Pepper is a Coke or Pepsi product. Dr Pepper has to rely on them to reach the overseas market, given their global presence. 

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Coke and Dr. Pepper have endured a bittersweet relationship. Despite the distribution rights, Coke has never been the accommodative brother. In fact, there is nothing Coke has not done to try and halt the journey for Dr Pepper. Fortunately for Dr. Pepper, none of Coke’s schemes has seen the light of day.  

In 1963, Coke and Pepsi teamed up to stop Dr. Pepper from gaining a foothold in the market, claiming it’s a cola. But a federal court ruled in favor of Dr. Pepper, underlining that it is not correct to consider Dr Pepper a Cola. 

Emboldened by the landmark ruling and increased market acceptance, Dr. Pepper gained a foothold in the US market and never looked back. 

The History of Dr Pepper

1885: Created by Charles Alderton, a Texas-based Pharmacist. 

1904: Debuts at the 1904 World fair in St Louis, Missouri, USA.

1950: Period dropped from “Dr”

1960: Dr Pepper becomes a renowned brand in the US.

1962: Dietetic Pepper introduced later renamed diet Dr Pepper (other flavors followed in later years.

1963: Coke and Pepsi team up to remove Dr Pepper from the market. 

doctor pepper

1963: Landmark ruling gives Dr Pepper lifeline. 

1998: Cadbury Schweppes acquires Dr Pepper 

2008: Cadbury Schweppes splits into two companies. 

2008: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group emerges from the split and retains the Dr Pepper brand.

2008: Coke attempts to buy Dr Pepper when it files for bankruptcy. Antitrust issues prevent the merger

2009: A book collector discovers a recipe belonging to Dr Pepper brand in a food store in Oklahoma. Dr Pepper brand points out that the recipe is for a digestive aid and has nothing to do with their famous drink.

2018: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group merges with Keurig Green Mountain, and Keurig Dr. Pepper is born.


Dr Pepper is one of the oldest soft drinks in the market today. Despite its close ties with Coke, it cannot be considered a Coke product. It is also not a cola because of its unique and distinct formula. Dr. Pepper has many different flavors and targeted offerings such as diet Dr Pepper and sugar-free Dr Pepper. 

Coke and Pepsi have played a key role in helping Dr Pepper access the overseas market. But their relationship has primarily been “a marriage of convenience.”

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