Dr Pepper goes private

February 28th, 1984

On this day in 1984, shareholders in the Dr Pepper Company accepted a buyout offer from a New York investment-banking firm, and Texas's preeminent soft-drink company went private. Dr Pepper originated in Waco in 1885. Wade B. Morrison, owner of Morrison's Old Corner Drug, employed a pharmacist named Charles Courtice Alderton, who often served soft drinks to customers. Alderton enjoyed experimenting with various combinations of fruit extracts and sweeteners. One combination proved enormously popular, and Morrison named it after Dr. Charles T. Pepper, a physician and pharmacist for whom he had worked in Virginia. In 1898 the Southwestern Soda Fountain Company of Dallas purchased the rights to produce and sell Dr Pepper, and four years later changed its name to the Dr Pepper Company. The Dr Pepper Company was officially incorporated in 1923. By the early 1980s changes in the soft-drink business led to decreasing profits, and the company began looking for a buyer. After the buyout, Dr Pepper sold a majority of its fixed assets and within a year had reestablished itself as the third most popular soft drink in the U.S. In 1986 Dr Pepper merged with the Seven-Up Company and soon thereafter moved its manufacturing operations to St. Louis, although the company's corporate headquarters remained in Dallas.

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Dr Pepper goes private

February 28th, 1984

On this day in 1984, shareholders in the Dr Pepper Company accepted a buyout offer from a New York investment-banking firm, and Texas's preeminent soft-drink company went private. Dr Pepper originated in Waco in 1885. Wade B. Morrison, owner of Morrison's Old Corner Drug, employed a pharmacist named Charles Courtice Alderton, who often served soft drinks to customers. Alderton enjoyed experimenting with various combinations of fruit extracts and sweeteners. One combination proved enormously popular, and Morrison named it after Dr. Charles T. Pepper, a physician and pharmacist for whom he had worked in Virginia. In 1898 the Southwestern Soda Fountain Company of Dallas purchased the rights to produce and sell Dr Pepper, and four years later changed its name to the Dr Pepper Company. The Dr Pepper Company was officially incorporated in 1923. By the early 1980s changes in the soft-drink business led to decreasing profits, and the company began looking for a buyer. After the buyout, Dr Pepper sold a majority of its fixed assets and within a year had reestablished itself as the third most popular soft drink in the U.S. In 1986 Dr Pepper merged with the Seven-Up Company and soon thereafter moved its manufacturing operations to St. Louis, although the company's corporate headquarters remained in Dallas.

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Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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