It’s official. Dublin Dr Pepper is the oldest bottler in the world, as recognized Saturday by the Texas Historical Commission at 10:24 a.m.
The date and time, which not only celebrated the well-known past time of mixing peanuts in Dr Pepper at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., officially mark a history that has been in the making since 1891. It was that year that Sam Houston Prim traveled to Dublin “with $680 worth of bottling equipment, purchasing property at the southeast corner of Patrick and Elm Streets to house his Bottling Works,” the marker states.
The marker describes how Prim continued to bottle the product until 1925, when he chose a distribution territory of 44 miles in each direction, with Dublin placed strategically in the middle.
“At the time of Prim’s death, Dr Pepper executives noted he had bottled the soft drink longer than any other individual,” the marker reads. “The company has remained in operation since that time, making it the oldest Dr Pepper bottler in the world.”
Several key players in Dublin Dr Pepper’s history were at the celebration, including Karen Wright of the Dublin Historical Society, also executive director of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, who is credited with assisting in the historical marker process.
Wright said the advantage of a small franchise area “made Dublin Dr Pepper a limited commodity.”
“The desire and determination to produce a desirable product was something Sam believed, his daughter believed and when the Kloster family took over ownership, they believed,” Wright said. “Because of Billy Kloster Dublin Dr Pepper doesn’t just house a museum, it is a museum.”
Billy took over the operation of the plant in 1991 after the death of Grace Lyon Prim. It was with Billy that Dublin Dr Pepper became an overnight success and a world wonder.
“He loved Dublin. He loved Dublin Dr Pepper. He relished every opportunity to tell a story about the plant, take someone on a tour or show someone his collection,” Bill Kloster, Billy’s son, said regarding his father.
Bill, who was present to unveil the marker, accredited the success of Dublin Dr Pepper to all its family members, past and present.
“There is no way Sam (Prim) could have envisioned what this plant has turned into,” Bill said. “I believe this plant can survive another 118 years. I want to see it grow, prosper, expand and stay in the family. It’s strength is in its pedigree.”