Dr Pepper is the very definition of a soda slow burn.

Founded in 1885, before Coca-Cola or Pepsi were on the market, it has always played a supporting role among America’s soft drinks. Now, however, the soda that claims to blend 23 flavors is ready for its time in the spotlight—and consumers are ready to meet it there.

New data from Beverage Digest shows Dr Pepper has surpassed Pepsi as the nation’s second-favorite soda brand, capturing 8.3% of the market to narrowly edge out its larger competitor. (Coca-Cola has a firm lead with a 19.2% market share.)

Beyond beating Pepsi, that puts Dr Pepper ahead of Sprite, Diet Coke, and other well-known (and more frequently publicized) brands. To put the ranking into perspective, 20 years ago, Dr Pepper was tied at sixth place with Sprite among the U.S. cola sales.

The brand has always had a core cult following, but the recent surge in popularity comes as the company has embraced experimentation, rolling out new flavors like Creamy Coconut and Strawberries & Cream.

Those combinations of sweet and spicy (the Pepper in Dr Pepper) are leaning into a national trend. Coke has embraced this as well, with a new permanent addition to its lineup earlier this year—Coca-Cola Spiced.

Dr Pepper has also increased its marketing budget in recent years and focused heavily on TikTok, wooing younger consumers.

It’s a long way from the company’s origins. Dr Pepper got its start in 1885, one year before John Stith Pemberton developed Coca-Cola. Charles Alderton, the pharmacist who created it, wanted to make a drink that emulated the smell of the drugstore where he worked. Using cherry, vanilla, and other spices, he concocted the unique beverage, which held its own even in the midst of the cola wars between Coke and Pepsi.

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