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Bootlegging Dr Pepper

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

Out of 13 tasters, four liked regular Dr Pepper with HFCS better, seven liked the Dublin Dr Pepper and two couldn't tell any difference. Three of the seven tasters who liked Dublin Dr Pepper were over 40 — old enough to remember the flavor of cane sugar-­sweetened soda from their childhood.

"This is what Dr Pepper used to taste like," one remarked.

"It reminds me of the flavor of the grape soda I use to guzzle at the store," said another.

Dr Pepper was invented at the Old Corner Drug Store in Waco in 1885.
Dr Pepper was invented at the Old Corner Drug Store in Waco in 1885.
The Hubbard City Drug Store advertises Dublin Dr Pepper in the front window.
Julia Walsh
The Hubbard City Drug Store advertises Dublin Dr Pepper in the front window.

I never noticed the HFCS flavor in my Dr Pepper before. But as I realized standing in front of McCain's Market, cane sugar-sweetened soda tastes better to some people because of the taste memory it evokes.

For tasters under 30, who grew up with HFCS in their soft drinks, cane sugar didn't evoke any memories, or have any special appeal. On the contrary, they thought that HFCS tasted normal.

"This is Dr Pepper," said one holding up the HFCS sample. "And this is something different," he said, indicating the Dublin Dr Pepper. Another thought the cane sugar-sweetened version tasted "spicier" but preferred the standard-issue. Among the younger tasters who liked the cane sugar version, one was a natural food enthusiast who said he also drank Mexican Cokes and preferred cane sugar-­flavored soft drinks.
_____________________

"They've got Dublin Dr Pepper at Central Market now," Bobette Riner told me over the phone. And even though they were charging $7.89 plus tax for a six-pack of tiny eight-ounce bottles, she figured it was a bargain, considering all the gas she was saving.

The bottles that are now on sale at Central Market and Kroger stores are actually made at the Dr Pepper bottling plant in Temple, Texas. The Temple plant and one other Texas bottler, in Abilene, have decided to get in on this lucrative market. Both now make limited amounts of cane sugar-sweetened Dr Pepper along with the regular HFCS version. The bottles from Temple have an Imperial Pure Cane Sugar logo, but don't have the word "Dublin" above the Dr Pepper logo.

Reselling soft drinks outside of the bottler's franchise area certainly isn't illegal. And it seems a safe bet that sooner or later, Dr Pepper's new owners will find a way to cash in on the cane sugar soda market. But until it becomes a mainstream product offering, specialty markets and bootleggers will continue to make a killing on the stuff.

"I wish I could get more of it," Phil Myers, the General Manager at Central Market, told me at the store. "They make about enough to fill an eyedropper."

"If they made lots of it, you wouldn't be getting $8 for a six-pack," I observed.

"I guess that's true," he said with a smile.

robb@robbwalsh.com

Dr Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

According to books on the Beatles, Paul McCartney originally named the Beatle's song and groundbreaking concept album Dr. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The name was changed when McCartney was informed that Dr Pepper was the name of an American soft drink.

The Beatles evidently became fans of the stuff after discovering the coincidence. In Instamatic Karma, the new book by May Pang, John Lennon's former personal assistant and girlfriend writes that during the Imagine sessions, Lennon requested that she ship cases of Dr Pepper to him in England.

Dr. Fine and Mr. Pig

Several Dr Pepper trivia buffs have put together Web sites documenting the many imitations of Dr Pepper. The most complete I've seen includes photos of 90 different cans of Dr Pepper knockoffs.

Some of my favorites include Shur Fine's homage to the Three Stooges, "Dr. Fine" (paging Doctor Fine, Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine); Adirondack Beverage Corp.'s "Dr. Radical"; Wild Oats Market's "Dr. Wild"; and Piggly Wiggly's takeoff of a takeoff "Mr. Pig" (after Coca-Cola's Dr Pepper imitator "Mr. Pibb").

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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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