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Bootlegging Dr Pepper

The demand for sugar-sweetened Dublin Dr Pepper has never been higher — just ask the bootleggers

Pretty Peggy Pepper contestants are high school seniors who compete in sportswear and evening gowns as well as in onstage interviews. The judges consider each contestant's grades in school as well as her charm and appearance. The winner gets to wear the Pretty Peggy Pepper outfit, which looks like a majorette's uniform, while representing Dublin Dr Pepper at fairs, parades and the 10-2-4 Dr Pepper Collector's Club Convention.
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At McCain's Market, a hip sandwich shop and food store on Heights Boulevard in Houston, I found a bottle of Dublin Dr Pepper in the drink case right beside the trendy Jones Soda. The little eight-ounce bottle of Dublin DP cost me $1.15 plus tax. I drank it in the parking lot.

The rush of cane sugar flavor brought back memories. The image of empty pop bottles rattling around in a bicycle basket flickered across my mind. I chuckled as I recalled riding around on my bike gathering empties for the two-cent deposit when I was nine years old. When I had enough, I'd buy a soda and chug-a-lug it on the front step of the Dickie-Lou convenience store. A soda was a rare treat in those days. We didn't drink it at home.

Look around the natural food stores these days, and you'd think soda made with cane sugar was health food. In the last few years, organic food experts have started encouraging enlightened consumers to avoid chemically processed high-fructose corn syrup in favor of natural sugars. Whole Foods and Central Market are both selling sodas made with fruit flavors and cane sugar under their own labels.

The backlash against high-fructose corn syrup seems to be gaining momentum lately. HFCS was patented by a Japanese scientist in 1971. It gained quick acceptance in the American processed food industry because it solved a lot of political problems. Price protections on domestic sugar had raised the cost of the nation's most common sweetener. Meanwhile, farm subsidies had created a persistent glut of corn.

HFCS was substantially cheaper than sugar and a gold mine for Midwestern corn farmers and agribusiness giants such as Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. It fit right in with our corn-­centric system of agriculture and quickly replaced sugar in a staggering variety of processed foods.

HFCS first became suspect in some circles following the Surgeon General's 2001 Report on Obesity. An article published by two scientists in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2004 compared the data for the increase in obesity with data for the rise in consumption of HFCS and pointed out the amazing correlation between the two. A book called Fat Land by Greg Critser also linked high-fructose corn syrup with America's weight ­problem.

Critser and others pointed out that since bottlers began replacing sugar with cheaper high-fructose corn syrup starting around 1980, the price of soft drinks has dropped by about one-third. And in the same period, per capita consumption of soft drinks has increased by around 40 percent.

Beverage industry analysts argue that the difference in cost between HFCS and sugar has little to do with sales growth. But whether the flood of cheap soft drinks over the last 30 years is a result of cheaper sweetener, cheaper plastic packaging or the marketing concept known as "supersizing," everyone agrees that the spike in soft drink consumption is a major cause of the rise in obesity.

Some scientists have advanced the premise that the body processes HFCS differently from the way it does regular sugar and that the highly processed sweetener should be avoided altogether. Natural foods experts recommend against it because it is a highly processed food that doesn't occur in nature. Other nutritionists argue that sugar and HFCS are equally bad for you. The scientific controversy is still being debated.

Thoughtful food writers, such as Michael Pollan, argue that it doesn't matter if HFCS is actually worse than sugar. There are lots of other good reasons to avoid it. Chief among them is voting with your consumer dollars against the overproduction of corn, which is taking over our diet and our entire system of agriculture. Pollan also condemns the labeling of products containing HFCS as "all ­natural."

Since the anti-HFCS backlash began, demand for Dublin Dr Pepper has surged. Articles in newspapers began to mention it, along with Mexican Coke and Jones Soda, as an alternative soft drink for people trying to avoid HFCS.

On a philosophical level, I am all in favor of avoiding HFCS. It's just that I'm not willing to stop dipping my fries in ketchup or pass on a smoked brisket sandwich because there might be HFCS in the barbecue sauce. Like Bobette Riner, I am ready to forgo sodas containing HFCS in favor of those made with pure cane sugar because I like the flavor better anyway.

But I am not even sure that cane sugar is inherently better tasting than HFCS.
_____________________

On a recent Tuesday, just before lunchtime, I stood in the hall of my newspaper's office handing out Styrofoam cups of Dr Pepper. Each passerby who agreed to participate in my taste test took a cup marked "A" and one marked "B." One was filled with a sample of regular Dr Pepper with HFCS and the other was filled with Dublin Dr Pepper. I asked each taster which one they preferred and why. And then I asked their age.

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My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
Magnus Thunderson
Magnus Thunderson

feel betayed as I found I realy liked the sugar verson and cant stand the HFCS version so will stick with M-dew throwback and sierra mist

Lex
Lex

I just want the old Dr. Pepper back. Please! Pepsi puts out old sugar flavor, why not Dr. Pepper? I drank the old flavor last year and I can't drink the new stuff no more. For the love of god, please!

How many emails or letters do we have to set up to get Dr. Pepper's notice? Somebody should start up a website for this. seriously.

Joe
Joe

I had Dublin Dr. Pepper for the first time when I was graduating Basic Training in the Army. One of my platoon was from Dublin, and had his family bring up several cases of Dublin Dr. Pepper to share with his newfound family. It's like liquid crack. Best thing I've ever tasted.

Susan Lipin
Susan Lipin

If you are looking for cheap prescription drug pharmacy, I would recommend you all to shop at eshoprx.com They are reliable, fast and believe me CHEAPEST.

StoogeFan
StoogeFan

FYI, it's "paging Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard."

Marie
Marie

TRY ***JONES*** COLA WITH REAL CANE SUGAR! I tried it again for The 1st time since they removed the awful high fructose corn syrup,diabetes,cancer causing ingredient in people and rats/out of the drink.Let me tell you I am not a big Cola drinker(I prefer DUBLIN DOC. myself) but this is some REALLYreally great soda.(My husband and I shared one and later on in the day we could not resist having another:) We cannot stand the BIG soda company's that SHIP_OUT the real -sugar based- cola around the world and stick us with the bottom of the barrel CORN SYRUP laced crap. You know in other country's CORN SYRUP and HYDROGENATED OILS AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS ARE illegal, and RIGHTFULLY SO, Americans are finally READING LABELS and have started to take action. Why doesn't the FDA do anything about allowing company's to INJECT the PROVEN CANCER CAUSING SODIUM NITRATES in our meets.MOST people think sodiun NITRATE IS A SALT additive -WRONG! Companies wouldn't have to add SODIUM NITRATE to gray colored meat if they would feed the animals we eat a regular diet , with out growth hormones and pesticide ridden grains. LADY'S & GENT'S this is just the beginning,START emailing companies ask them to provide products with out harmful additives,EX:ask Heinz ketchup why do the citizens in England get Ketchup with real sugar and we get the cheap, unnatural , corn syrup in our bottles,in our restaurants.Even chick-fillet uses Corn syrup ketchup.HOWEVER Jason DELI is GREAT,food is the same price as eating at a fast food restaurant these days. also LOOK OUT for products that say NATURAL FLAVORS,that is how company's can legally put natural on their product without breaking the law.LOOK TO BUY FOODS WITH ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS -NOT all natural FLAVORS

In everything you eat their will always be a natural flavor in it so it is a legal term. READ YOUR LABELS,SUPPORT COMPANIES that sell REAL FOOD-like my daughter says.

Here are some more CORN SYRUP FREE PRODUCTS *Mexican COKE *HANSONS *IZZY LIZZY *BOYLYNNS(served at JASONS DELI,check out their corn-syrup free salad bar,they are 99% cornsyrup free!) *WALLGREENS brand bottled soda(it acually says CORNSYRUP FREE ON THE FRONT and is priced nice.) *SOBE-LIFE WATER(watch out for OTHER SOBE drinks because MOST of their products DO contain cornsyrup *SWEET LEAF,made in AUSTIN with litte old lady on front,the mint tea is yummy. *ACCELERADE-way better then TOXIC Gatorade but pricy. have a great day & teach someone else about natural ingredients:)

marie
marie

TRY ***JONES*** COLA WITH REAL CANE SUGAR! I tried it again for The 1st time since they removed the awful high fructose corn syrup,diabetes,cancer causing ingredient in people and rats/out of the drink.Let me tell you I am not a big Cola drinker(I prefer DUBLIN DOC. myself) but this is some REALLYreally great soda.(My husband and I shared one and later on in the day we could not resist having another:) We cannot stand the BIG soda company's that SHIP_OUT the real -sugar based- cola around the world and stick us with the bottom of the barrel CORN SYRUP laced crap. You know in other country's CORN SYRUP and HYDROGENATED OILS AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS ARE illegal, and RIGHTFULLY SO, Americans are finally READING LABELS and have started to take action. Why doesn't the FDA do anything about allowing company's to INJECT the PROVEN CANCER CAUSING sodium NITRATES in our meets.MOST people think sodiun NITRATE IS A SALT additive -WRONG! Companies wouldn't have to add SODIUM NITRATE to gray colored meat if they would feed the animals we eat a regular diet , with out growth hormones and pesticide ridden grains. LADY'S & GENT'S this is just the beginning,START emailing companies ask them to provide products with out harmful additives,EX:ask Heinz ketchup why do the citizens in England get Ketchup with real sugar and we get the cheap, unnatural , corn syrup in our bottles,in our restaurants.Even chick-fillet uses Corn syrup ketchup.HOWEVER Jason DELI is GREAT,food is the same price as eating at a fast food restaurant these days. also LOOK OUT for products that say NATURAL FLAVORS,that is how company's can legally put natural on their product without breaking the law.LOOK TO BUY FOODS WITH ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS -NOT all natural FLAVORS

In everything you eat their will always be a natural flavor in it so it is a legal term. READ YOUR LABELS,SUPPORT COMPANIES that sell REAL FOOD-like my daughter says.

Here are some more CORN SYRUP FREE PRODUCTS *Mexican COKE *HANSONS *IZZY LIZZY *BOYLYNNS(served at JASONS DELI,check out their corn-syrup free salad bar,they are 99% cornsyrup free!) *WALLGREENS brand bottled soda(it acually says CORNSYRUP FREE ON THE FRONT and is priced nice.) *SOBE-LIFE WATER(watch out for OTHER SOBE drinks because MOST of their products DO contain cornsyrup *SWEET LEAF,made in AUSTIN with litte old lady on front,the mint tea is yummy. *ACCELERADE-way better then TOXIC Gatorade but pricy. have a great day & teach someone else about natural ingredients:)

robb walsh
robb walsh

A commenter on the Dallas Observer website reports finding Dublin Dr. Pepper in Umm al-Quwain--one of the United Arab Emirates.

John
John

I just happened to stop off at a gas station in New Terrirory, and they had not only the small 8oz "classic" bottle of Imperial Sugar Dr. Pepper, but a full 20oz plastic bottle version of it too. I'm old enough to have tasted it when they were still using real sugar, but it's been too long and I didn't remember any difference to what we have now. Well I can say the taste is still very similar but it is much cleaner. It seems to be not as thick/syrupy (is that the right word?)... and the carbonation seemed just a little more refreshing because of that. Hey, it could have all been in my head, but I liked it.

I'm not sure how long ago this article was written, but I think they have expanded the rollout of the imperial sugar product, it's much easier to get I think. And the price at this gas station was the same price they charge for the other 20oz sodas. Not bad!

robb walsh
robb walsh

Spec's carrying Dublin Dr Pepper too.

Mike
Mike

Mexican cokes are the way to go. Try the Mexican orange drinks too.

 
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