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Dr Pepper surpasses Pepsi — is the 2nd-most-popular carbonated beverage in the U.S.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

OK - one of the country's most famous doctors is getting some long-awaited recognition.

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DAVID NAUGHTON: (Singing) I drink Dr Pepper, and I'm proud. I'm part of an original crowd, and if you look around...

MARTIN: Dr Pepper just surpassed Pepsi to become the second most popular carbonated beverage in America. Coca-Cola is still No. 1.

DUANE STANFORD: Coca-Cola classic has about 19% of the carbonated soft drink market in the U.S.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Duane Stanford is the editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.

STANFORD: So then in second place, you've got Dr Pepper, with an 8.3% share.

INSKEEP: Which is now a carbonated bubble or two ahead of Pepsi.

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UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL GROUP: (Singing) Dr Pepper - so misunderstood. It tastes different...

MARTIN: Now, Dr Pepper used to market itself as the plucky underdog of soft drinks, but it is actually older than Coke or Pepsi. It was invented in Waco, Texas, in 1885.

STANFORD: It started off as a regional brand in the Southwest, and it grew over the years, and it's the major national player.

INSKEEP: Which Duane Stanford credits to Dr Pepper's targeted marketing.

STANFORD: They've gone really big on college football. On any given weekend during the championship bowl series, you'll see Dr Pepper.

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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: There you are - college football playoff trophy, presented by Dr Pepper. You are like the Greek god of trophies - classic.

INSKEEP: (Laughter).

MARTIN: I know. The soft drink also has a strong presence on TikTok, where Dr Pepper and pickles has become a thing. Here's TikToker Anna Grace Sims.

ANNA GRACE SIMS: The pickles are in there - I even put some pickle juice in there for good measure - and here goes the Dr Pepper. It's not bad. It's weird, but it's not bad.

INSKEEP: Now, that's a standard for you - weird...

MARTIN: I'll take her word for it.

INSKEEP: ...But not bad.

MARTIN: Yeah.

INSKEEP: Duane Stanford says Dr Pepper has gained ground also because of the choices by the rival it just passed.

STANFORD: Pepsi has invested more in their zero-sugar offerings, and not as much in Pepsi cola. They believe that's the future when it comes to carbonated soft drinks.

INSKEEP: So Pepsi cola's down, Dr Pepper is up - and Stanford anticipates Dr Pepper will stay in second place.

MARTIN: So cheers to Dr Pepper, but OK - the pickles. I...

INSKEEP: No.

MARTIN: The pickles.

INSKEEP: Yeah.

MARTIN: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NAUGHTON: (Singing) I'm a Pepper. He's a Pepper. She's a Pepper. We're a Pepper. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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