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The Friendly Pepper-Upper: The Dr. Pepper Museum

Posted at 11:05 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 00:06:59-04

WACO, Texas — This historic building at the corner of 5th and Mary is home to the nation's only non-profit museum telling the story of the soft drink industry. Of course, it's centered around Dr. Pepper, the nation's oldest soft drink brand.

Dr. Charles Alderton was a pharmacist in 1885 at the old corner drug store- where it all began. He would fill prescriptions and in his free time, experiment with soda flavors.

His concoction of 23 flavors became quite popular. It was known as “a Waco”. We know it today as Dr. Pepper.

"This building was built in 1906 to house the company headquarters for Dr. Pepper. “ said Mary Beth Farrell, director of development and communication for the museum.“At that time, it was called the artesian manufacturing and bottling company and it was built in this location because they had access to this artesian well where they could get water to make the Dr. Peppers."

The museum showcases that original artesian well and the early bottling process used to produce the soft drink. It really took off after being introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair. All the Dr. Pepper slogans and commercials through the years are on exhibit too.

"The 10, 2, 4 is one of their longest-running and most popular advertising campaigns they did," said Farrell. "It started in the 1920s with some information they got from a university that did a study about when your blood sugar gets low during the day."

The study found your blood sugar dips around 10:30 in the morning, and 2:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. The company took that information and ran with it.

"They actually had a contest within the company to see who could come up with the best slogan," Farrell said. "The man who won came up with 'drink at a bite to eat at 10, 2, and 4' which was genius because it was telling people you need three Dr. Peppers a day to get through the day."

The successful ad campaign lasted from the 1920s all the way through the 40s.

Since its 1991 opening, the non-profit museum has welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors. It has more than 300,000 artifacts— encompassing the Dr. Pepper story and more.

"Dr. pepper is our main example but we love all soft drinks here at the museum and we just want to tell the story of that industry," said Farrell.

For a fee, you can have enhanced experiences, with the make-a-soda experience you get to write your name and date on the bottle and take it home with you!

And for the serious Dr. Pepper lover, $75 gets you a private tour including photo ops throughout the museum.

And don’t forget a Dr. Pepper float to wrap up your visit to the museum which, by the way, is celebrating a milestone.

"It's our 30th birthday this year," said Farrell. "So we're excited for the next 30 years."

So from the fascinating history to a delicious Dr. Pepper float, you will enjoy your visit to the Dr. Pepper Museum.