Dropping by Doc's Soda Shop in Dublin, Texas used to be one of my favorite road trip rituals. But times have changed. They don't even sell Dr Pepper at Doc's anymore.
The Vice President of The First National Bank in Dublin has vowed to never drink another Dr Pepper. So have other residents of the town that used to change its name to "Dr Pepper, Texas" every June to celebrate the soft drink's birthday. They seethe at the mention of Dr Pepper Snapple, the corporate group in Plano that bought back Dublin Dr Pepper's franchise and distribution rights and temporarily shut down the bottling plant, putting 14 employees on the street.
Dublin's Dr Pepper Birthday celebration in June was on the short list of favorite Texas civic festivals. "We can't use the Dr Pepper name anymore," the city manager's office told me. The Festival is now called the Dublin Bottling Works Birthday celebration—not quite as catchy. The museum across the street from the old bottling plant that documents the history of Dublin's love affair with the soft drink is now called the Kloster Museum, after the bottling plant's founder, not the Dr Pepper Museum. And while they still sell Dr Pepper memorabilia at Doc's Soda Shop, they don't sell the soft drink.
Rodger Collins, president of Dr Pepper Snapple packaged beverages in Plano, said the corporation had to preserve the integrity of the brand. The corporation bought Dublin Dr Pepper and put it out of business. In the opinion of many residents, the corporation also crushed the economy of this little town where Dr Pepper was one worshipped.
In sympathy, I have joined the citizens of Dublin in boycotting Dr Pepper Snapple's soft drinks. As an alternative, I recommend the cane sugar-sweetened craft sodas sold by the newly renamed Dublin Bottling Works. The Black Cherry is sensational, and the XXX Root Beer brand goes all the way back to the late 1800s. I tried a Dublin Orange Creme that last time I had a burger at Stanton's City Bites. It was excellent.
Where do you stand? Still drinking Dr Pepper?