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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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?


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

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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.