You would have at least had some Dr. Pepper before since it is the fourth most popular soda in the United States. However, unlike Pepsi or Coke, the ownership of Dr. Pepper can be confusing, with some even claiming that Dr. Pepper is owned by Coca-Cola. Is Dr. Pepper a Coke product?
Dr. Pepper has parts of its operation, market, and branding owned by different companies, including Coca-Cola. Currently, Coca-Cola owns some bottling and distribution rights of Dr. Pepper in some parts of the United States and Europe. PepsiCo also has similar rights to Dr. Pepper.
This article explores if Dr. Pepper is a product from Coke or Coca-Cola. Aside from that, this article will break down the ownership of Dr. Pepper, as it can be complicated to understand.
We also try to answer some common questions you may have about Dr. Pepper, such as if it is a type of Cola and how popular it is compared to Coke or Pepsi.
What Is Dr. Pepper?
Dr. Pepper is a carbonated soft drink. Many drinkers notice the taste of cherry and prune. Still, the secret formula of 23 ingredients is unknown to the public. Originating from Waco, Texas, Dr. Pepper is one of the most popular sodas in the United States and is sold in many countries worldwide.
Dr. Pepper is a carbonated soft drink. It was created in the 1880s by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas, and first served around 1885. It achieved national prominence in 1963 when the court determined that it was not a Cola, allowing it to be bottled by many more bottlers.
Like Coke and Pepsi, the formula for Dr. Pepper remains a closely guarded secret. Dr. Pepper has claimed that its drink comprises 23 ingredients on its website. The formula is kept in a separate Dallas bank safe, with each safe keeping half of the recipe.
When tasted, Dr. Pepper has a different flavor profile than common Cola drinks. Many would immediately notice the taste of prune, cherry, and a small hint of licorice. This led many to speculate these ingredients were part of the recipe for Dr. Pepper.
Dr. Pepper is known to use celebrities related to the word ‘Doctor’ to promote it. For example, Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Dr. J (Julius Erving). Dr. Pepper also roped in actors that had roles as doctors to promote itself, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Kelsey Grammer.
Dr. Pepper has for decades remain one of the most popular sodas in the United States and is widely distributed worldwide across all continents. A serving of 12 Fl Oz (355ml) of Dr. Pepper contains 150 calories, 1.4 ounces (40g) of sugar, and 55mg of sodium.
Who Owns Dr. Pepper?
Dr. Pepper is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper and is part of its portfolio of beverages. The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo own parts of Dr. Pepper’s bottling and distribution operations and regional rights in some countries outside the US.
Dr. Pepper’s ownership can be complicated. This is because parts of the brand are owned by different entities. This is further complicated because the rights to Dr. Pepper may differ across regions worldwide.
As a start, the brand Dr. Pepper is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper. This conglomerate essentially focuses on the production of beverages and coffee-making equipment. Other sister brands of Dr. Pepper under Keurig Dr. Pepper include over 125 brands such as 7Up, Sunkist, Schweppes, Snapple, A&W Root Beer, etc.
When it comes to the brand’s operation, the ownership is shared between several entities. Dr. Pepper engages a number of external bottlers to help bottle the drink, and these bottlers are partly owned by The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. This means Coke and Pepsi help to produce Dr. Pepper but do not own it inside the US.
This confusing arrangement happens because of Keurig Dr. Pepper’s limitations. It does not have strong in-house bottling operations to handle all the sales and productions needed to sell Dr. Pepper. As a result, they contract PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company to help out.
However, ownership becomes even muddled when outside of the US. Coca-Cola owns the rights to Dr. Pepper in Europe. In contrast, PepsiCo owns the rights to the brand in countries such as Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico.
In these countries, The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo often bottle, distribute and manage the sales of Dr. Pepper.
You may like this article: What Is Faygo?
Is Dr. Pepper A Coke Product?
Dr. Pepper is not a Coke product, meaning it is not part of the brands under The Coca-Cola Company. However, inside the US, Coke has dedicated some of its operations to bottling Dr. Pepper. Outside of the US, Coke has the right to bottle, distribute and manage the sales of Dr. Pepper in Europe.
The Coca-Cola Company is often called Coke over its main product. In this case, we will use the term Coke to replace the company.
Coke owns part of Dr. Pepper’s bottling and distribution rights but does not own the intellectual property, brand, or drink recipe. Those are solely under the ownership of Keurig Dr. Pepper. Keurig Dr. Pepper is the parent company of Dr. Pepper.
Brands of drinks under Coke include Coca-Cola, Fanta, Dasani, Minute Maid, Powerade, Sprite, etc. You do not see Dr. Pepper being included in the list of brands under the company on its website.
In the US, Coke only helps Dr. Pepper bottle and distribute the drink. This is because Keurig Dr. Pepper does not have adequate bottling facilities for bottling and producing the drinks for US consumers. However, outside of the US, Coke owns the rights to bottle, distribute and manage the sales of Dr. Pepper in Europe.
Is Dr. Pepper A Pepsi Product?
Dr. Pepper is not a Pepsi Product. Pepsi does not own intellectual rights to Dr. Pepper. Like Coke, PepsiCo only helps bottle Dr. Pepper in the United States. Outside of the US, PepsiCo helps to bottle, distribute and manage sales of Dr. Pepper in countries such as Australia, Poland, New Zealand, and Canada.
Pepsi is a brand under the ownership of PepsiCo. PepsiCo owns many other beverage brands but does not own Dr. Pepper fully. PepsiCo only has some rights to parts of the bottling and distribution of Dr. Pepper in some selected regions.
This is evident when you view the list of the brand on PepsiCo’s website. There is no mention of Dr. Pepper. Instead, you see brands such as Mountain Dew, Mirinda, Doritos, and Lays.
Inside the US, the relationship between PepsiCo and Keurig Dr. Pepper is similar to how things work with The Coca-Cola Company. PepsiCo helps to bottle and distribute Dr. Pepper. This, again, is because Keurig Dr. Pepper does not have adequate bottling facilities to produce adequate Dr. Pepper for US consumers.
Outside of the US, PepsiCo also has the rights to bottle, distribute and manage sales of Dr. Pepper in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, and Mexico.
You may like this article: Does Dr. Pepper Have Caffeine?
Is Dr. Pepper A Mix Between Cola and Root Beer?
Dr. Pepper is a mix of Cola and Root Beer, as the exact formula for Dr. Pepper is secret. However, tasters have attempted to list all the possible ingredients used to produce the drink, with Dr. Pepper not confirming if the list is correct. A court also ruled in 1963 that Dr. Pepper is not Cola.
There has been speculation that Dr. Pepper may be a mixture between Cola and Root Beer. This may make sense since it does sort of hint at both drinks when you taste the drink.
However, this is not true for several reasons. First is that legally, Dr. Pepper is not a cola. A court ruling in 1963 ruled that Dr. Pepper is not a cola, which means the premise of Dr. Pepper is a mixture of Cola and root beer cannot be true.
The second is that Dr. Pepper has never revealed their recipe nor confirmed any recipe proposed by many people. This means there is no way we can tell if Dr. Pepper is a mix of cola and root beer or not.
Some of the ingredients many believe are used to make Dr. Pepper include:
How Popular Is Dr. Pepper?
Inside the United States, Dr. Pepper is the fourth most popular soda by volume, being outsold by only Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Pepsi. Dr. Pepper generated over $11.12 billion in sales in 2020, with Pepsi, Diet Coke, and Coca-Cola at $14.82 billion, $37.27 billion, and $36.5 billion, respectively.
There are plenty of ways to measure and ascertain a brand’s popularity. You can go by sales volume, brand recognition, and brand appeal. However, the ‘gold standard’ to determine a brand’s success and popularity is to look at the number of sales the brand’s product generated.
Newsweek spent some time crunching the numbers and concluded that Dr. Pepper is the 4th most best-selling soda, behind only Pepsi, Diet Coke, and Coca-Cola. Dr. Pepper generated over $11.12 billion in sales in 2020, with Pepsi, Diet Coke, and Coca-Cola at $14.82 billion, $37.27 billion, and $36.5 billion, respectively.
To arrive at the 4th position, Dr. Pepper has to beat out other very popular competitors, such as 7Up, Mountain Dew, Sprite, and Fanta. Dr. Pepper also looks like it should be safe in its position for some time since the 5th place brand, Mountain Dew only recorded around $7 billion in sales. That is a whopping $4.1 billion in sales behind.
Dr. Pepper achieved such success by focusing on creative marketing, using fun slogans such as ‘Drink Slow, Doctor’s Orders.’ Dr. Pepper also leveraged popular, trending brands such as Marvel Cinematic Universe’s characters such as Iron Man and Captain America.
Dr. Pepper is also known to partner with celebrities related to the word ‘Doctor’ for its marketing drive. For example, Dr. Dre (Andre Young) and Dr. J (Julius Erving). Dr. Pepper also roped in actors that had roles as a doctor to promote itself as well, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Kelsey Grammer.