Dr Pepper Ties Pepsi as America’s No. 2 Soda

Jennifer Maloney, reporting for The Wall Street Journal (News+):

There is a new contender in the cola wars, and it isn’t a cola. It’s Dr Pepper.

The 139-year-old soda brand is now tied with Pepsi-Cola as the No. 2 carbonated soft drink brand in America behind Coke. The regular versions of Pepsi and Dr Pepper are neck and neck in a spot that Pepsi has held nearly every year for the past four decades, according to sales-volume data from Beverage Digest.

Dr Pepper’s new ranking follows a steady climb over the past 20 years. Its ascent is a product of big marketing investments, novel flavors and a quirk in Dr Pepper’s distribution that has put it on more soda fountains than any other soft drink in the U.S. At the same time, consumption of regular Pepsi has fallen as its drinkers switch to Pepsi Zero Sugar or migrate to other drinks.

The overall Pepsi brand, including Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Zero Sugar, remains the No. 2 soda trademark in the U.S., though its market share has been slipping. Coke is the largest, with more than twice the market share by volume of any of its rivals.

I seldom drink sugared soda anymore, but when I do, it’s almost always either a Coke or a Dr Pepper, both of which I’ve enjoyed since childhood. (If you’re at a place that lets you pour your own fountain drinks, try mixing Coke and Dr Pepper half-and-half — delicious.) And I’ve always despised both the taste and branding of Pepsi. Dr Pepper, on the other hand, has long handled its status as the upstart in a fun way.

Via Kevin Drum, who, like me, is surprised that the no-sugar variants of these brands aren’t more popular.

Lastly, from the DF archive back in 2003: “Pop Culture”.

Monday, 3 June 2024