Dublin Dr Pepper

The Dublin Bottling Plant
Dr Pepper was invented and began selling in Waco, Texas in 1885 by Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store. Sam Houston Prim however, provided the means to make it widely popular when he convinced the drink's owner, Wade Morrison, to sell the first franchise to his Dublin, Texas bottling plant.

In more recent years, all of the bottling plants which held Dr Pepper franchises began using high-fructose corn syrup as the sweetener instead of the original Pure Cane Sugar. All except one - Dublin. The bottler refused to change from using granulated Imperial Pure Cane Sugar, which is not just regular sugar, but sugar in it's purest form. The reason? The taste was different when using the cheaper corn syrup and the owner didn't want to produce something that wasn't as good. Soon, what became known as "Dublin Dr Pepper" was in demand everywhere.

Unfortunately, Dublin Bottling was restricted by contract and could distribute Dublin Dr Pepper only within a 44-mile area. However, it also sold it's products (they produced other flavored drinks in addition to Dr Pepper) at the plant itself and often a line of "outside" customers (people and owners of stores from outside the 44-mile zone) would make the drive to pick up multiple cases of Dublin Dr Pepper for personal use as well as for resale.

This didn't sit well for the other bottlers who were losing sales. They put pressure on the home office in Plano who caved and ordered the Dublin plant to either begin using corn syrup like the other bottlers or cease their bottling of Dr Pepper. Dublin refused to change. Eventually, Dr Pepper-Snaple, the owners who are located in Plano, Texas filed a lawsuit against them. Dublin fought the good fight for 6 months, but the Dr Pepper-Snaple company is huge and they brought many high-powered and expensive lawyers to court. Eventually the cost proved too much and Dublin Dr Pepper was no more.

The good news is that Dublin Bottling now produces 16 different soda flavors and has a nation-wide distribution network. The independent company still produces pure cane sugar sodas just like the company’s founders did over 120 years ago. Flavors include Vintage Cola, Retro Grape, Retro Creme Soda, Ginger Ale, TeXas Red Crème, Cherry Limeade, Vanilla Cream, Orange Cream, XXX Root Beer, Tart-n-Sweet Lemonade, Fru-Fru Berry, Rummy Grapefruit, Cheerwine, Sweet Peach, Bluberry Breeze, and their best seller, Original Black Cherry.

On a personal note, after many years of trying various brands of grape drinks and Ginger Ale, the best by far is Dublin. Unfortunately, I do not live in an area where Dublin drinks are available in stores. That just makes for an excellent reason for a road trip and I never leave Dublin without a case of grape, a case of Ginger Ale and at least 1 case mixed with several of the other flavors. I still sure do miss Dublin Dr Pepper though.

If you find yourself anywhere near Dublin, Texas, a tour of the small plant is fascinating and well worth your time. They still use their old equipment on the line and it is interesting to see the old machines dating from the 1920's to the early 1950's in operation. The fastest the old machines can produce is about 25 bottles per minute whereas the modern mass-production machines used by other facilities produces about 2,000 bottles per minute.

Bottling Orange Crème soda
The plant is located at 221 S Patrick St, Dublin, TX 76446 (phone  888.398-1024) and the W.P. Kloster Museum (amazing collection of all things classic soda with special emphasis on Dr Pepper) is across the street. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you take a tour of the bottling plant, you can sample all the different drink flavors for free as you go from station to station. There is also an old-time soda fountain where you can  purchase food, Dublin Bottling Works souvenirs and individual bottles of the sodas or buy them by the case ($27 for 24 glass 12-oz. bottles).

Once you get a taste of an ice cold soda made with Pure Cane Sugar rather than the  sweetener all the other's use, you'll never be fully satisfied with the cheap stuff again!

Old wooden soda crates
Inside the W.P. Kloster Museum 

Old Dr Pepper vending machines in the museum
One of the old Dr Pepper signs in the museum