Dr Pepper Museum, courtesy Waco and the Heart of Texas
The Dr Pepper Museum is more than a storehouse of soda pop memorabilia.
Housed in the 1906 building where Dr Pepper was once produced, the museum salutes Waco’s best-known beverage with the requisite soda bottles, vending machines, advertising signs and bottling equipment used for Dr Pepper and many other brands.
But the Dr Pepper Museum is much more than its exhibits. It uses the soda industry to encourage free enterprise and kick-start entrepreneurs, an appropriate mission for the museum that celebrates the oldest major U.S. soft-drink brand.
Programs developed for the museum’s W.W. “Foots” Clements Free Enterprise Center are popular with school groups but could easily be adapted for adults.
In one exercise, teams make, taste-test and market their own soda using 20 types of syrup that the museum supplies. Other programs focus on the entrepreneurial spirit and business basics.
“All of the soft-drink industry started small and then became gigantic companies,” museum director Jack McKinney said. “Jobs and Wozniak started in a garage. The message we try to deliver is ‘Everything has not been invented.’ If you have an idea and you know how to take it to market, there is still plenty of opportunity.”
As an homage to the soda fountains where various soft drinks, including Dr Pepper, were concocted and served, the museum dispenses its share of treats from a replica of a drugstore soda fountain.
After a tour or team building, groups can gather for ice cream floats, milkshakes or glasses of handmade Dr Pepper, Circle A ginger ales or Triple XXX root beer.
“It’s very 1890s,” McKinney said. Ice cream floats incorporate another Texas-made product: Blue Bell Ice Cream.