Gone. Gone. Gone.
Dublin Dr Pepper is gone.
And it’s not just Dublin Dr Pepper. It’s end of the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in the world.
The answer to what is the oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant now: Who cares?
I went twice to Dublin in the 1980s to drink Dublin Dr Pepper with W.P. (Bill) Kloster and go through the bottling plant. He was in his 60s then, and had made an excellent marketing decision. Kloster refused to change the bottler’s recipe, and kept cane sugar as the sweetener rather than corn syrup.
That same decade, I had the pleasure of drinking hot Dr Pepper with the head of Dr Pepper, W.W. (Foots) Clements. This was shortly before he sent comedian Bob Hope to Waco for the 100th anniversary of the creation of the drink at a drug store at 5th Street and Mary Ave.
A large coffee pot of hot Dr Pepper with orange slices sat in his office. He poured me a cup. In response to my question to tell me something I didn’t already know about Dr Pepper, he spoke of the Baylor University bear mascot. Baylor University student bear trainers often gave a bottle of Dr Pepper to its bear mascot on the sidelines of football games and other events.
However, the university then dropped the Dr Pepper sponsorship briefly for 7-Up.
According to Foots, 7-Up didn’t agree with the bear’s digestive system. He graphically described what happened when the bear drank 7-Up.
Needless to say, Baylor quickly switched back to its Dr Pepper sponsorship, Foots said. I asked him how much money that was worth to Baylor, but Foots shook his head and smiled.
Then I asked Foots about Dublin Dr Pepper, and he chuckled. He buzzed his secretary, and few minutes later, a man came in and handed me a case of Dr Pepper made in Dublin. Foots himself made many trips to Dublin, he said, and knew Bill Kloster well.
He spoke about the economics of corn syrup and the soft drink industry (he just recently had pulled off a still well known $400 million deal after Coke tried to eat up Dr Pepper). However, he wished cane sugar was cheaper, and he admired Kloster for how he was marketing the Dublin Dr Pepper though it cost more to make.
Now, six months after Dr Pepper Snapper Group sued Dublin Dr Pepper, Dublin Dr Pepper ceased to exist as of 5 PM, January 11, 2012. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group claimed that Dublin sold out of its distribution territory and used an unauthorized logo. Perhaps. Perhaps.
Foots is long gone, of course, and the Dr Pepper entity has continued to morph and combine as major corporations do. I’m certain Foots would think the demise of Dublin Dr Pepper is a mistake. And I’m surprised at the sense of loss I personally feel. There will be no more special trips to Dublin to stock up on the drink.
I wonder if the bronze statue of Bill Kloster handing a Dr Pepper to a small girl sitting on an old style Dr Pepper vending machine will be draped in black, or donated to the Dr Pepper museum in Waco. I hope it won’t be melted down by an angry Dublin mob.
But the statement by a Dublin businessman haunts me. “I’ll never drink a Dr Pepper again.”
It is the end of a world.