Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple Group which covered my travel expenses while I attended the DPS Carteret plant tour.

September ended on a high note for Beauty and the Bump.  Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) invited Beauty and the Bump to a behind-the-scenes look at its Carteret facility (located approximately 20 miles from NYC).  The company flew in its Director of Communications, Chris Barnes, from Plano, Texas for the occasion.  We were also hosted by the plant manager Saul Cruz.  He leads the team of 180 employees who work at the 150,000 square foot northern New Jersey facility.

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BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Back Down Memory Lane

Chris began the morning with a presentation covering interesting details about the Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and its portfolio of over 50 brands.  It was like a stroll down memory lane for me.  For some reason I got excited – perhaps overly excited – to see Hawaiian Punch, Orangina, Nantucket Nectars, Sunkist, Crush, etc. pop up on the conference room’s projector screen.

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It literally brought back memories – happy, fun memories. I remembered popping open cans of Hawaiian Punch with a can opener as kid. I remembered trips to the corner store meant I had to have an Orange Mango Nantucket Nectar. I wasn’t walking out without one. Seeing Crush soda brought me back to high school. For Valentine’s Day we would send Crush sodas to the people we had a crush on or thought were cute. It was a corny tradition, but it was our tradition. And of course there’s Snapple. Everything I ate went better with a Snapple. A Kiwi Strawberry and a slice. A Mango Madness and a beef patty. A Peach Tea with a buttered bagel. A Raspberry Tea with a burger. All of these memories kept coming to mind.

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The technical facts, like the Dr Pepper Snapple Group’s rankings and financials, caught my attention too. Dr Pepper Snapple Group operates mainly in North America but its reach extends internationally through its global strategic partnerships. Its three major brands are Dr Pepper (of course), Snapple (of course), and Mott’s. All told, DPS put together $6.2 billion in sales in 2015. Not too shabby for a company whose oldest brand, Schweppes, was the first soft drink in England dating back to 1783. Its portfolio also boasts the oldest major soft drink in the U.S.  I bet you didn’t know that Dr Pepper predates all the other popular soft drinks out there in its flavor category. Yes, all of them!  Including the one I know you’re thinking of right now!

TOURING THE PLANT: “Do Not Touch Anything”

The morning ended with a tour of the Carteret facility led by the plant manager. Saul gave our group an idea of what to expect. He told us it would be very loud, to stick with him at all times, to ask before taking photos, and then gave us one final rule that absolutely had to be followed: “DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING.”  In that moment it reminded me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but my best judgment told me to take him at his word and trust his 20 years of experience in the beverage industry.  Saul outfitted us with safety goggles, hair nets, and ear plugs then escorted us into the plant.

Cool Facts about the Carteret Plant

  • The DPS Carteret plant manufactures DPS products including: Snapple, Mistic and Nantucket Nectars.
  • The 150,000 sq. ft. plant is home to 170 employees and during peak demand times, operates 24/7.
  • The Carteret plant can produce up to four million bottles of Snapple in one day and 30 million cases of Snapple in one year.

There was action going on in every nook and cranny. Either something was whizzing by or something was being filled.  Sometimes both were happening at the same.  The atmosphere though was calm, coordinated, and extremely clean despite the noise and constant motion. We saw every stage of the production process.  At one point during the tour the realization struck me that everything I was witnessing directly contributed to a $6.2 billion business!

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Saul showed us where the natural flavors are mixed and where the drinks are first brewed. I thought it was cool to learn that the beverages are a piping hot 180°F right as the bottles are filled.  Ironically these just-filled hot bottles were the only thing on the production floor we were permitted to touch. Saul handled the bottle and we each placed our hand on it to see for ourselves just how hot it was. The heat is used to sterilize the contents. The bottles are then immediately cooled in the next step.  It only took 5 minutes for 5,000 bottles to be filled; that amounts to close 600,000,000 bottles produced each year at this one plant alone. Dr Pepper Snapple Group has five other plants across the country.

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THE FINAL EXAM: The Taste Test

The day closed with lunch following the tour.  Great because all that walking had made me hungry and thirsty.  Good thing there was an endless supply of Snapple all within arm’s reach. Where was this tour when I was 14 years old?  This would have been the closest thing to hitting the lottery when I was a teenager.

A taste test accompanied our meal. We were given 10 different samples of Snapple and had to guess each flavor.  I absolutely aced my final exam!  I got 6 out of the 10 correct. LOL! Fortunately scoring 60% was all it took to beat out the other people in my tour group.  My reward for all of my hard work?  Saul and Chris gave me a box filled with an assortment of Dr Pepper Snapple Group drinks, including tons of Snapple.  Again I ask, where was this tour when I was 14 years old?

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Learn more about the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and the Carteret Facility here: https://www.drpeppersnapplegroup.com/

Get social with them on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple Group which covered my travel expenses while I attended the DPS Carteret plant tour.

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David S.
Contributing Editor
If super dad and husband had a face, David's would be it. He's an insurance agent by day, and full-time husband and dad of one. He loves spending time with his family, traveling, eating, sports (Let's Go Spurs) and enjoying a great craft beer with family and friends. He prides himself on being a natural wordsmith, and most would say he has the gift of gab.
  • This is so fascinating. I love finding out what goes on behind the scenes and finding out how the products I love are produced!

  • This tour looks really cool! My husband loves Dr. Pepper. He would have loved the taste test.

    • David S.

      It was such a fun day. Thanks for reading and commenting Jennifer.

  • Tiffany Heard

    This seemed like a great tour. I think like you the drinks probaly would have had me feeling noslagic. I love snapple, now you make want to go buy one, I haven’t had one in a very long time..

    • David S.

      Tiffany it’s funny how these brands become a part of your life like that.

  • Tamika Hall

    How awesome! I personally love love love, Dr. Pepper, so I would have been ecstatic to travel to the plant, lol.

    • David S.

      The behind-the-scenes tour was a lot of fun. Thank you for reading and commenting Tamika. Be well.

  • OMG I had no idea there was a Dr.Pepper/Snapple Factory to tour! So much fun I love snapple one of my favorite drinks!

    • David S.

      Thanks for reading Kiwi. Definitely participate in a tour if you get an invite.

  • Anitra Durand Allen

    This is fascinating. My family and I were just talking about bottling versus branding at dinner today. I didn’t know Dr Pepper and Snapple merged.

    • David S.

      I didn’t know they’d merged either Anitra. I learned it happened about 10 years ago. As a result, the roster of brands is deep. What were you all discussing in regards to bottling versus branding?

      • Anitra Durand Allen

        We were dining at Frisch’s who recently converted from Coke to Pepsi (monumental shift in a history long brand partnership). We were explaining how companies owned multiple “brands” (flavors) and discovered that Pepsi bottles Dr. Pepper outside the US. It was an interesting discussion with my 9 and 11 year old.

  • This sounds like such a fun tour. I love getting to see what happens behind the scenes to create the products we know and love.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

    • David S.

      Thanks for reading Allison. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I was surprised about just how clean and organized it was.

  • LaQuisha Hall

    What an awesome experience!! Your pictures are too cool! Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • David S.

      You’re welcome LaQuisha. Thanks for reading. Glad you liked the post.

  • This sounds all kinds of dope. I was totally experiencing flashbacks of my childhood. I would love to do this tour. Congrats on your win.

    • David S.

      Thank you Mimi and thank you for reading. Be well.

  • Tia

    As a foodie and inquisitive person in general, I am always interested in knowing how the products I consume are produced. It would be great to have a tour of a facility like this. I am sure this was super informational.

    • David S.

      Tia, you would’ve enjoyed this then. We got to see everything behind-the-scenes. We also heard about their charitable efforts through Let’s Play. I was impressed. Anyone can nominate a not-for-profit for a Let’s Play grant.

  • Melissa Velazquez

    Cherry Dr Pepper is my favorite soda and who does not LOVE Snapple. I don’t think I realized they were parts of the same company. This post just educated me and made me a little jealous lol.

    • David S.

      Melissa I had no idea they had merged either. This all happened about ten years ago.

  • Aw, that was a cool trip. The tour guide did seem all business but you have to be nowadays. I would have loved that taste test and goodie box. Not sure if I would get many right though.

    • David S.

      Actually Stacie, Saul was quite the jokester, but not when it came to safety out on the floor of his plant. Otherwise he had us rolling. I’ll tell Kim that maybe we should do a giveaway because I can’t drink all this Snapple by myself.

  • carlana

    Looks like a fun and interesting experience. At first glance took the photo of the guy at the bottom for Dr Dre. I was like WHAT! And then I scrolled back up and realized that I was mistaken!

    • David S.

      That’s pretty funny Carlana. I really did laugh out loud when I read that. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Dang, that was pretty cool. I don’t think anyone ever thinks about what foes into making those products. Great insight.

    • David S.

      You’re Ty. Thanks for reading. I was curious about that too.