If you love Dr Pepper, it’s only natural that you are curious to know about its origins. Who owns Dr Pepper is an interesting question because most people only consider it as part of the renowned Coca-Cola Company while others believe it’s associated with Pepsi.
All of the claims have an element of truth to them, which is precisely what makes this question an interesting one. In this post, we’ll take a look at the current owner of the company (Keurig Dr Pepper) and also address the claims about its previous ownership and its possible association with Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Let’s take a look at the current owner first before diving into the drink’s history.
Current Owner of Dr Pepper
You may have heard of the famous conglomerate Keurig Dr Pepper, if not then let me mention a few names so you can get an idea of the entity’s ownerships: 7up, Keurig, Snapple, Canada Dry, and others. This is the giant that owns Dr Pepper.
Keurig Dr Pepper owns many subsidiaries including beverages, coffee, and tea companies. I can’t mention them all as those are beyond the scope of this post. Overall, it has over 120 brands under its aegis.
It’s only since 2018 that the drink has been owned by Keurig Dr Pepper but the drink has been around for over a century. Who has been the owner before them? Well, this is the reason why it has been associated with the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Why is Dr Pepper Associated With Coca-Cola & Pepsi
Dr Pepper has got nothing to do with either of the two famous beverages. However, in some regions, Dr Pepper did not have vendors for outsourcing bottling and distributing their drinks so it entered into strategic partnerships with Coca-Cola & Pepsi for these purposes.
South Korea and Europe are the regions where Pepsi and Coca-Cola own the distribution rights for the drink.
Another reason why some people believe Dr Pepper is owned by Coca-Cola is that in 2008, Dr Pepper filed for bankruptcy after running into financial trouble and Coca-Cola tried to buy it out. The merger could not take place due to some technical issues at the time.
So the association is purely strategic and beneficial from a business point of view.
I’ve already covered this in a separate post, you can check it out here.
Is Dr Pepper A Cola
The simple answer here is no. However, there’s a story behind this scene as well and (you guessed it right) it involves Pepsi & Coca-Cola. For many years after the drinks were launched, Pepsi & Coke tried to undermine Dr Pepper’s efforts to become a major shareholder (as a cola) in the beverages market in the US.
These efforts backfired in the year 1963 when a federal court in the US ruled in favor of Dr Pepper. The ruling was an important milestone in the history of this soft drink. Earlier, the franchise contracts did not allow for vendors to bottle rival companies.
For example, if under a franchise contract, a vendor was bottling Coca-Cola bottles, they wouldn’t be allowed to enter into a similar contract with Dr Pepper because it was a rival at the time and would be a conflict of interest for the contract holder. The ruling shifted these dynamics in Dr Pepper’s favor because now it wasn’t considered a rival cola but just a refreshment beverage. So it could easily enter into such contracts.
This boosted their sales across the US and later across many regions of the world.
After the antitrust issues during the 1990s and the company’s insolvency in the 1980s, the problems for Dr Pepper continued. Finally, in 2008, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. was formed that became the parent company of Dr Pepper and Dr Pepper/7up, Inc. The beverage somehow survived this debacle in 2008.
The company is quite big and distributes and bottles more than 40 brands under its name including Dr Pepper.
The rest is history as the drink is still popular in many parts of the world. Like any other business, it did see its share of ups and downs.
How Old is Dr Pepper (As compared to Coke & Pepsi)
Well, in terms of age, Dr Pepper has been in the market since 1885, whereas Coke has been there since 1886. So technically, it’s one year older than Coca-Cola. Pepsi came into the field much later in 1898, almost a decade after Dr Pepper and Coca-Cola hit the market.
It’s interesting to note that all of these drinks were invented by pharmacists and chemists working at the drugstores. Little did they know that their formula would one day take over the world and the drinks would make it to almost every corner of the world.
Many companies have tried to gain a strong foothold in the market after them but these giants have retained their quality and name for over a century now. Some could only take a few regions and not go beyond those borders. But Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi are a global phenomenon.
This was all about who owns Dr Pepper. I hope you found this information useful. Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Also, do you like Dr Pepper? If yes, then which flavor? It’d be interesting to hear your thoughts on the drink.
See you next time!