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Love is in the air!

March 9, 2015

Valentines_Logo2Some of you may be aware that we have a variety of spaces that are available for renting here at the Museum.  Over the years, we have hosted a variety of Christmas parties for local businesses, birthday parties in the soda fountain, and even proms for local high schools.  Recently we have noticed that love seems to be in the air!  Rehearsal dinners, receptions, and even a wedding or two!

rehearsal dinner tables

rehearsal dinner tables


rehearsal dinner dessert tables

“Sam did a great job in helping me with all of my questions and making sure everything went smoothly.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a unique location to hold an event.” – Michelle Robins


wedding portrait by Dr Pepper truck at the Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

Wedding portrait outside Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

photograph of rental gallery at the Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

dance floor at wedding reception at the Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

Dr Pepper cupcakes


Dr Pepper bottle as wedding favor

photograph by Ashley Munn

Dr Pepper bottle as wedding favor

photograph by Ashley Munn

For more ideas on developing your own Dr Pepper themed wedding, visit us on Pinterest.

So if February saw something shiny and sparkly land on your finger, book the Dr Pepper Museum for your special day.  Learn more here.  Facilities Manager Sam Torres is ready and waiting to assist you!


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own
Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Devilishly Different

January 20, 2015

We have a few 1.698objects in the museum that have been raising a lot of questions lately. All of these objects revolve around one idea – HOT Dr Pepper. That’s right, Dr Pepper that is served hot like tea. Many people wonder how this idea got started or if it even really was something that people drank. Often times, it is hard for us to get past our preconceived notions such as soda should be cool and refreshing, not something that is warm and comforting. As Dr Pepper has done many times throughout the years with their distinct taste, in the late 1950s they began challenging these preconceived notions people have about soft drinks by serving HOT Dr Pepper.

So, if people were used to soft drinks being served cold, how in the world did the HOT Dr Pepper fad get started? It all began in September of 1958 when Wesby R. Parker, President of Dr Pepper Company, had an idea to create a warm and comforting version of Dr Pepper. While visiting a bottling plant during a blizzard, one of the rouSnowman HOT Dr Pepperte salesmen joked that they needed a hot drink to sell during winter weather. This sparked an idea in Parker and he began to experiment in his kitchen. Through trial and error, he experimented until he found the perfect way to serve Dr Pepper warm. Dr Pepper simply needed to be heated to 180 degrees and poured over a thin slice of lemon to create this delicious and comforting concoction. Through his experiments he determined that overheating the drink scorched it and ruined the Dr Pepper flavor and that a slice of lemon was important because it gave the flavor of the rind.

After find the perfect formula for HOT Dr Pepper, Parker had to tell Dr Pepper Company employees of his discovery. Of course, his idea was received with hesitation. Who drinks hot soda? So many companies had marketed their drinks as cool and refreshing through the years that no one would think of turning a soda into something warm and comforting. Although there was some hesitation initially, after some taste tests at the Dr Pepper Company, employees soon realized they could quite possibly have a hit on their hands and an edge over other soda companies in the market. They began sampling the drink across the country and eventually, after taste tests proved favorable, they began marketing the drink. They marketed the drink under the taglines “Devilishly Different” and “Winter Warmer”, which paved the way for it to be used as an alcoholic mixer. Rum became the favorite choice to mix with HOT Dr Pepper and was known as the “Schuss-Boomer”. HOT Dr Pepper proved to be the ideal beverage for cold weather and fit in nicely during winter holiday celebrations.

By the reactions we receive to the Hot Dr Pepper promotionHOT Dr Pepper items on display, you would think that it was just a passing fad. However, this is not the case. From the time HOT Dr Pepper was introduced in the late 1950s, it proved favorable with taste testing and was a popular holiday drink well into the 1970s. And even though the drink became more obscure over time, HOT Dr Pepper merchandise was sold well into the 1990s. There have even been references to the drink in popular culture such as when it was included in the 1999 movie “Blast from the Past”. Today, loyal Peppers will still occasionally serve HOT Dr Pepper at holiday functions. So, if you have been to the museum and have seen the HOT Dr Pepper items or have just read this blog and became curious about what HOT Dr Pepper tastes like, why don’t you give it a try! You can even get one served up in our Soda Fountain if you want an authentic experience!


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own
Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Root Beer as a Cure-All?

November 19, 2014

Root Beer logo for blogIn our last blog, the list of potential ingredients in root beer grew longer and longer.  So many of those ingredients were used for curing a variety of ailments.  So…

Is Root Beer medicine?

Just like Dr Pepper, many of the early varieties of root beer began in pharmacies. There were many pharmacists trying to create cure-all drinks, often coming up with liquids containing roots, berries, bark and flavorings. Many of those herbs, roots, and berries mixed together to create root beer were thought to have medicinal or healing properties.

Hires syrup container in soda fountainCustomers would buy the root beer flavored syrup from the pharmacist, take it home and then experiment with how much water or even seltzer water to mix it with. The result tasted both sweet and bitter.

Hires extract bottlesCharles Hires came across a recipe for a wonderful tasting tea.  He developed it into a root beer of more than 25 herbs, roots and berries. This elixir was then brewed by consumers at home.  In 1876 he introduced it at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition and the public loved it.  In 1880 he had a liquid extract ready to go for use at home.  By 1893 it had become so popular it was bottled and sold as a soft drink.

In traditional herbal medicine, many root beer ingredients are thought to contain a variety of health benefits. Now obsolete in natural and herbal medicine, sassafras was traditionally used as a diuretic and thought to cleanse the blood and promote skin health. Sarsaparilla, similarly, was typically used to beautify the complexion and as a diuretic.  Traditionally, wintergreen leaf was thought to prevent gas and to ease digestion, and it was also typically used to ease nerve pain.  Licorice root was used in folkloric medicine for its ability to ease digestive distress and some clinical evidence suggests it can be beneficial in the treatment of ulcers.  Other herbs and ingredients used in homemade root beer: ginger, dandelion, hops, birch have also featured widely in traditional herbal medicine.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own
Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.



October 29, 2014

Root Beer logo for blogIn follow up to our last blog about the brands of root beer, let’s consider those flavors again.  What exactly are the flavors in root beer?  Is it really made of roots?

Root Beer Recipes

Local ingredients account for the variety of root beer flavors and recipes around the country. The primary flavor found in any old-fashioned homemade root beer recipe is sassafras, a deciduous tree in North America.  The characteristic sweet flavor comes from the tree’s roots, giving us the name root beer. Now, the primary flavor we associate with root beer is wintergreen, not sassafras.

As the pilgrims came to America they had to have liquid to drink and water stored in wooden kegs spoiled too quickly.  Therefore, beer was often the beverage consumed.  The colonists did not have barley or other grains for brewing at first, so they used the ingredients that were available: berries, bark and roots.  The alcohol was the preservative.  The beer was boiled and brewed like tea to blend the flavors and kill the germs.  It was then cooled and fermented with yeast.  Root beer was made one of three ways: from the leftovers of the strong beers, with small amounts of grain, or was consumed during its early stage, while still sweet, before fermentation was complete.


There are now hundreds of root beer brands in the United States, produced in every state and yet there is no standardized recipe. In 1960, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of sassafras oil as it was found to be a carcinogen causing cancer. The root beer industry quickly started experimenting to find a replacement, while preserving the flavor. Inventors discovered that sassafras could be treated prior to the removal of the oil, keeping the flavor and eliminating any risk. Today artificial flavorings can be used.

Common Root Beer Ingredients

Wowbobwow12 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], from Wikimedia CommonsSassafras is a genus of three living and one extinct species of deciduous trees in the family Lauraceae, native to eastern North America and eastern Asia. Sassafras is commonly found in open woods, along fences, or in fields. It grows well in moist, well-drained, or sandy soils and tolerates a variety of soil types, but does best in southern and wetter areas of distribution.

Wintergreen Leaf also goes by the common names of Canada tea, hilberry, checkerberry, boxberry, grouse berry, deerberry, partridge berry, mountain tea and redberry tea. It is commonly found from the northeastern parts of North America all the way down to Alabama.

FountainSpringsWintergreenEuropean settlers learned to use wintergreen from Native Americans, who made the herb into a tea, as well as to freshen breath. During the American Revolution, wintergreen tea was an alternative to imported tea, which was heavily taxed by the British.

Sarsaparilla Root is native to South and Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  It has been used over the years to treat many different ailments.  It was primarily used to treat syphilis in the 1800s and was exported to Europe for this express purpose.  Health tonics were manufactured and sold with the claims that they were useful as diuretics, blood purifiers, and general health boosting agents.  Although it is not used as frequently for syphilis anymore, the other health claims still stand up, and many make tea using the roots of this plant to help detoxify and strengthen the body.

Licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra that a somewhat sweet flavor can be extracted from. The licorice plant is a legume (related to beans and peas) that is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia.  It has been cultivated in Belgium, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.  In recent years, it has been commercially grown in northern India and has had some success in the United States.

In addition to flavoring candy, gum, and soft drinks, it is used for many ailments including asthma, athlete’s foot, baldness, body odor, bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, colds and flu, coughs, dandruff, emphysema, gingivitis and tooth decay, gout, heartburn, HIV, viral infections, fungal infections, ulcers, liver problems, Lyme disease, menopause, psoriasis, shingles, sore throat, tendinitis, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, prostate enlargement and arthritis.

Ginger Plant vsGinger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale.  It is consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.

The traditional medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger. It was frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Tea brewed from ginger is a common folk remedy for colds. Ginger ale and ginger beer are also drunk as stomach settlers.

Juniperus communis conesA juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers.  It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice, particularly in European cuisine, and also give gin its distinctive flavor.

There are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere. The juniper is an evergreen tree native to Europe, Asia, and the northern parts of North America and it is especially abundant in central Texas and Eastern Oregon.

Juniper is frequently used by herbalists for urinary tract and bladder infections and inflammations. Nibbling a few juniper berries or sipping juniper berry tea one hour before meals is often recommended to those troubled by indigestion.

Baton de cannelleCinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum.  Cinnamom verum accounts for 7,500-10,000 tons of the spice produced, with the remainder produced by other species. In Sri Lanka, only C. verum is cultivated; Sri Lanka still produces 80-90% of the world’s supply, and this species is also cultivated on a commercial scale in Seychelles and Madagascar. Global production of the other species averages 20,000-25,000 tons, of which Indonesia produces around two-thirds of the total, with significant production in China. India and Vietnam are also minor producers.

Many ancient societies used cinnamon to treat bronchitis. Additional folk or traditional uses include gastrointestinal problems, loss of appetite, and control of diabetes, as well as a variety of other conditions.

Vanilla 6beansVanilla beans are the fruit of the vanilla orchid, the only orchid plant that produces an edible fruit. Because of its shape, and because the Melipone bee, historically responsible for the pollination of the orchid, is found only in Mexico, the orchid needs assistance in order to produce fruit. Today, the orchids are grown in Mexico, the Bourbon Islands, Tahiti, Indonesia, India, Uganda, and Papua New Guinea. They are hand pollinated, hand harvested and hand cured by farmers in a process that takes anywhere from 13 to 14 weeks.

Vanilla extracts have reportedly been used to help alleviate toothache. Vanilla pods have been used as an antispasmodic and to treat fevers. Vanilla is added to various foods and beverages as a flavoring. It is also used in various body care products and aromatherapy for its purported relaxant effects.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Fall Flavors

October 15, 2014

Root Beer logo for blogWhen fall comes around every year, we begin to think about different flavors than what we enjoy during the summer.  Do you think of cinnamon, nutmeg, maple, or even ginger?  Around here at the Dr Pepper Museum those flavors bring to mind root beers.  When you think about your favorite root beer, most likely one of the major brands comes to mind, A&W, Hires, IBC, Stewarts, Barq’s, Mug or even the up and coming Thomas Kemper Root Beer. These seven root beers have earned their spot in the root beer hall of fame as some of the most widely distributed and popular varieties. These brands are owned and bottled by the major soft drink companies, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi Co. and Big Red Inc. Here’s a bit more about your favorite brands.

Hires Root Beer

Hires Root Beer Logo - the original Root BeerThe entrepreneurial spirit inspired the founder of this brand to develop innovative mixtures and packaging. Charles E. Hires, a Philadelphia pharmacist, kick-started the root beer craze by improving upon an old herbal tea recipe he stumbled upon while on his honeymoon in the early 1870s. Roots, berries, and herbs combined with water, sugar, and yeast created a refreshing, carbonated drink that could be created by anyone at home by mixing all of the ingredients together. Hires impacted the soft drink business by innovatively pushing his product through advertising campaigns previously unseen. His product, synonymous with quality, rose to national prominence when introduced at the 1876 World’s Fair in Philadelphia. Across the country, households used Hire’s home brew root beer kits to create their drinks at home. In 1989, Cadbury Schweppes acquired the brand, eventually spinning it off with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

A&W Root Beer

In Lodi, California, what started as a simple street vending operation during a parade on June 20, 1919Snoopy A&W can turned into a successful restaurant franchising business that spun off their signature product. During the parade celebrating the homecoming of World War I veterans, Roy Allen sold his root beer at 5 cents a mug. His parade profits were enough to entice a business partner, Frank Wright. The prevalence of the A&W roadside franchises exploded simultaneously with the automobile boom of the 1950s. In 1963, following Allen’s retirement from the business, the A&W Root Beer Company was sold to the J. Hungerford Smith Company that has manufactured the soft drink concentrate for the restaurants since 1921. In 1971, A&W was first available bottled in grocery stores. The company still had more tricks up its sleeve when in the 1980s, new flavors, A&W Cream and Diet Cream Sodas, were introduced to the product line. Cadbury Schweppes later acquired this root beer in 1993. This brand was then spun off into the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

 IBC Root Beer

IBC Root Beer 6 packIn 1919 the Griesediek family, operators of the Independent Breweries Company (IBC) developed an alternative to their usual line of alcoholic beverages in response to prohibition. The result was a tasty root beer native to St. Louis and was a local hit. Unfortunately, the brewery closed. The trademark for the tasty beverage changed hands twice during the 1920s-1930s, appearing in local restaurants. The drink experienced a major resurgence after World War II, when The Seven-Up Company purchased IBC and began promoting it throughout the Midwest and South. In 1986 The Dr Pepper Company purchased The Seven-Up Company, finally making IBC available nationwide. Presently, the product is part of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, alongside the spin-off sodas, Cream Soda and Black Cherry.

Stewart’s Root Beer

Stewart’s Root Beer and fellow spin-offs, Black Cherry, Oranges ‘n Cream and Berries ‘n Cream, too, are Stewarts_RootBeer_wMug_logo_cmyk 2013owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group following the split with Cadbury Schweppes. In 1924 Frank Stewart was looking to supplement his schoolteacher’s salary and began his own root beer stand by selling his brew in ice-cold mugs. In the early 1990s, Stewart sold his soda, and then cream soda and ginger beer were added to the Stewart’s family. Today the Stewart’s line is available in stores nationwide.

Barq’s Root Beer

Barq's Root Beer bottleBarq’s Root Beer was first produced by Edward Barq in the late 1800s at his bottling company, Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works in Mississippi. Originally, the marketing strategy emphasized stressing the product’s differences compared to root beers on the market at the time. In fact, the product avoided calling itself a root beer to avoid infringing upon Hires, who was attempting to trademark the term, “Root Beer.” Barq’s was caffeinated, with less sugar and a stronger sarsaparilla base. Barq’s grew a faithful following, and two companies bottled the product independent of each other. In the mid-1970s, legal disputes arose between regional bottlers when attempting to take the product national, but all conflicts were settled by the Coca Cola Company in 1995.

MUG Root Beer

Native to San Francisco, California, MUG Root Beer began as a product of the Belfast Beverage CompanyMug Root Beer logo who marketed the drink locally. After reviewing local success, the company renamed itself MUG Old Fashioned Root Beer, and took the product nationwide. The product sold, and a sugar-free variety was added to its line up in the 1960s. Adding a companion cream soda happened soon after. During the 1980s, PepsiCo bought the products, adding a quality product to a powerhouse company.

 Thomas Kemper Root Beer

Thomas Kemper logoIn 1990, during a wildly popular Oktoberfest celebration in Poulsbo, Washington, the Thomas Kemper Brewing Company resident brewmaster crafted the first batch of root beer using honey as a sweetening agent.  A year following the first batch, the Thomas Kemper Soda Company was formed to deliver the product to the people. Throughout the 1990s, the company changed hands many times, all while still producing the remarkably smooth root beer that made them famous. The rich formula became synonymous with a premium product in 2008, when all traces of high fructose corn syrup were replaced with pure cane sugar. Big Red acquired the soda company in 2011, determined to expand the product into new markets.


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own
Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Faces of Dr Pepper – David Naughton

October 6, 2014

David NaughtonThe last group to share about their spokesperson from The Faces of Dr Pepper exhibit are Jennifer and Stephanie. They developed their portion of the exhibit on David Naughton, the Pied Pepper. Here is what they have to share.

If you’ve had a chance to visit our newest exhibit, The Faces of Dr Pepper, you know all about David Naughton’s role as spokesperson for the famous “Be a Pepper” campaign. But what do you know about Naughton’s career after Dr Pepper? For example, did you know that Naughton’s last appearance as a Dr Pepper spokesperson was not in 1981, when his contract expired? Let’s take a closer look at David Naughton’s post-Pepper life, including his last Dr Pepper dance number.

Even before David Naughton’s contract with Dr Pepper expired, he had begun exploring other avenues of fame. In 1979, Naughton was cast as the main character of the sitcom Makin’ It, which aired on ABC. Unfortunately, this role did not last long; the show was canceled after just nine episodes. Naughton soon bounced back however, when he transitioned from the small screen to the big screen by landing a role in the 1980 film, Midnight Madness.

Because of the visibility he achieved through the “Be a Pepper” commercials, David Naughton became America’s heartthrob. Peppers everywhere were eager to see more of him and their wish was granted when the horror film An American Werewolf in London was released in August of 1981. This role showcased Naughton’s range as an actor and put him in a light that sharply contrasted the peppiness he had radiated as a Dr Pepper spokesperson.

David NaughtonIn the years after the success of An American Werewolf in London, David Naughton returned to the small screen as a member of another sitcom, My Sister Sam. This show had more success than his initial venture in television. My Sister Sam aired for two seasons from 1986 to 1988, and had a total of 44 episodes. 1988 also marked David Naughton’s first return to his role as a Pepper spokesperson in the Diet Dr Pepper commercials that began airing during that year. In the past 28 years, Naughton has also had guest roles on other popular TV shows like Psych, The Mentalist, and Grey’s Anatomy.

And now we come to the question we asked at the beginning of this post – do you know when David Naughton’s last and most recent appearance as the “Be a Pepper” spokesperson was? If you guessed in January of 2010 at the New York Stock Exchange, you are correct! To kick off Dr Pepper’s year-long celebration of the drink’s 125th anniversary, David Naughton agreed to reprise his role as the singing and dancing Pied Pepper. He and a handful of backup dancers stormed the floor of the NYSE in the form of a surprise flash mob. At the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone up 23 points, the same number of flavors in Dr Pepper!


The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.


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