Dublin Dr Pepper, the only version of the soft drink to have never switched formulas to incorporate high fructose corn syrup, has been lawyered out of existence.
The small-town Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company, located about 80 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, has been producing the original formula, which uses Imperial Pure Cane Sugar rather than the cheaper sweeteners, since 1891. Folks, including myself, overwhelmingly insist their version tastes better than that available on regular store shelves.
As such, the quiet town of Dublin has enjoyed a great deal of tourism from those looking to buy the uniquely produced soda and to stop by the visitor-friendly bottling plant. The town even held an annual celebration and linked much of its identity with the drink.
However, despite years of success and high public approval, Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc., a subsidiary of Plano’s Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., filed a lawsuit last year insisting that the bottler, by making its product available though Internet and phone orders, has violated their long-standing agreement to sell only in a six-county territory. The corporation's lawyers also made it clear they were not pleased with the little guy's use of the word "Dublin" in the logo.
Sadly, as of last week, Dublin no longer holds the rights to sell Dr Pepper, effectively ending 121 years of delicious history.
The plant, its museum and its old-time soda shop will continue operating, although they've already had to lay off 14 of their 37 employees. The company, which will now operate under the name Dublin Bottling Works, can at least continue its production of a handful of other soda brands, such as Triple XXX Root Beer and NuGrape.
Sugar-based Dr Pepper will still be available in Dublin, but it will certainly not be bottled there and will not bear the Dublin name. Instead, it will be Big Pepper's own "throwback" version, which has led many to speculate that the whole motive behind the shutdown was so that Dr Pepper Snapple Group could assimilate the reputation and popularity of the little bottler's renegade product for itself. (Word has it their version also is not made with pure cane sugar, but with a blend of cane and beet sugars.)
As for the remaining bottles of genuine Dublin Dr Pepper, reports indicate they're now going for as much as $100 a six-pack.