When we received an email Tuesday morning with the subject line, “Dr Pepper launches petition to become the Official Soft Drink of Texas,” our first reaction was, “Wait — it’s not? Texas must not have an official soft drink.”
According to Netstate.com, a website that lists all sorts of info about all 50 states, we’re right: Texas (along with a lot of other states) does not have a state drink. There are other surprises on the list, such as the state drink of Kentucky is not bourbon or even a mint julep but ... milk. In fact, if you look at the list, you’ll see that milk gets around quite a bit.
But back to Texas and Dr Pepper and its petition, which is available at www.change.org. As of 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, 98 people had signed the petition, and it was growing pretty quickly. Dr Pepper is also pushing the social-media hashtag #DrPepperLovesTX as part of the petition drive.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, which has a really long entry about the soft-drink industry on its website, Dr Pepper’s Texas roots date back to 1885, when Charles Aderton, a Waco pharmacist, originated Dr Pepper Phos-Ferrates (a year before Coca-Cola was invented in Atlanta ... Georgia, not Texas). The drink is a combination of 23 flavors. According to the press release, it’s the oldest major soft drink in the United States.
The entry continues: “In 1885 Wade B. Morrison, who owned the Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, arranged with Robert Sherman Lazenby, owner of a small bottling plant, to mix and ship Dr Pepper Phos-Ferrates syrup to area drugstores. In 1891 a feed-store operator in Dublin, Texas, began bottling soda waters, including Dr Pepper.”
By 1929, the state had ten Dr Pepper plants, the entry says. “Dr Pepper started franchising in 1925 and offered the drink to Coca-Cola bottlers, who declined to accept,” it goes on. (Turns out that Dr Pepper has its own biography, which was a source for the TSHA item.) The company is currently based in Plano.
Dr Pepper is celebrating its Texas heritage with a Texas-inspired bottle collection that includes 15 labels with artwork depicting Texas landmarks and landscapes. Some are kind of whimsical (the desert scene with the armadillo, snake and prickly pear), some are pretty (bluebonnets), some just use words (“I’m fixin’ to drink this Dr Pepper) and some pay tribute to cities (the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Dallas skyline), The 20-ounce bottles are available in the Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and Waco areas.
And now, allow us to give many of you an earworm ....