The oldest major manufacturer of soft drink concentrates and syrups in the United States, Dr Pepper was first manufactured and sold in the United States beginning in 1885 in the central Texas town of Waco. Considered the national drink of Texas, no trip to Waco is complete without a visit to the Dr Pepper Museum.
Located in what was originally the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building, the Dr Pepper Museum opened to the public in 1991. The first building to be constructed specifically to bottle Dr Pepper, the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building was completed in 1906. Dr Pepper was bottled there until the 1960s.
A private non-profit organization, the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is not owned or operated by Dr Pepper’s parent company, but its mission remains to educate and entertain the general public through the preservation, interpretations, collection, and exhibition of objects related to the history of this country’s soft drink industry. While not owned or operated by the parent company of its primary product, the museum does receive some monetary support from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
The W.W. Clements Free Enterprise Institute works to educate school children in the state of Texas about the economic system that underlies American life. Using the soft drink industry as a model to teach students about producing, developing, and marketing products, the Institute has constructed an exhibit dedicated to Clements and his philosophy of life on the top floor of the museum.
The museum, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the “Home of Dr Pepper,” has three full floors of exhibits, a gift store filled with Dr Pepper memorabilia, and a working old-fashioned soda fountain. The gift shop used to sell Dr Pepper that was bottled in the oldest still-operating plant in America. Bottled in Dublin, Texas, the Dr Pepper was made with Imperial Pure Cane sugar and not corn syrup that is used by all other soft drink manufacturers. Dublin Dr Pepper ceased production in 2012.
Know Before You Go
Take IH35 into Waco. Exit at the 4th and 5th Streets exit. Turn West on 4th Street. Go to Mary Ave. Turn Left on Mary. The Museum is on the corner of 5th Street and Mary.