Hello and Goodbye Dublin Dr. Pepper, the Stuff Made With Sugar.
Sugar anyone, anyone, Bueller?
Gone and yet not, somehow
When I was in college, one of my friends and I often went down to Austin, TX for shows. My wife and I still go a few times a year. Anyway, Karl always wanted to stop at certain places to pick up his cases of Dr. Pepper. Not just any Dr. Pepper, mind you: Dublin Dr. Pepper.
The Dublin bottling plant was the oldest Dr. Pepper bottler around. They started operations back in 1891. They also still used real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup or other "not real sugar" sweeteners. Dr. Pepper made with sugar tasted different. It was a treat. It was also only available in a 6-county area around Erath County Texas.
However, in recent years the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Dublin started distributing outside of their franchized trade area. Their actions irritated and angered the bottlers who had rights to the territories into which Dublin was creeping. The specialness of those few stores Karl and I used to stop at dropped as the years went by. We can now just wander in to the local grocery store, 100+ miles from Dublin, and buy some of their product of the shelf. Between Dublin and my home of Abilene are at least two other bottlers and 100 miles.
Needless to say, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group got involved. In June 2011, the beverage company sued the Dublin bottler, trying to stop them from distributing outside their trade area. Dr. Pepper Snapple ended up buying the Dr. Pepper side of the business away from the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Dublin.
The small bottler reopened Thursday January 12, 2012 as Dublin Bottling Works. Since more than 70% of their yearly sales of about $7M came from Dr. Pepper, 14 employees were immediately laid off. While Dr. Pepper Snapple is going to continue marketing Dr. Pepper made with cane sugar, it will no longer refer to Dublin. The Dublin bottler will still be making other Dr. Pepper Snapple products, but not the flagship brand.
I quit drinking Dublin Dr. Pepper after it became commonplace. It had been a treat, like fudge at Christmas. When it was just another staple on the shelf, it lost some of the mystique. While I can understand wanting to expand your business, being a franchise gives you a trade area and a set of rules. Yes, it was a little guy trying to expand, but it was a little guy trying to expand outside of their area. If you owned the sole-distribution rights to something and another guy started putting the same product on the shelves next to yours, with one minor change, wouldn't you complain to the company who sold you your franchise?