We’re not sure how many of you are familiar with Dublin Dr Pepper: It’s Dr Pepper that’s made in Dublin, Texas. It differs slightly from the regular DP because it’s sweetened with sugar instead of HFCS, and it comes in unique Dublin Dr Pepper bottles. (We’d suggest you buy some!) Anyway, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the giant company that currently owns the Dr Pepper brand, is certainly familiar with it, and they ain’t happy. In fact, Dr Pepper Snapple is suing the Dublin bottler in hopes that it will stop marketing its product as something different than regular Dr Pepper.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Dr Pepper Snapple is “demanding that the bottler remove ‘Dublin’ from its ‘Dr Pepper’ labels and stop selling the soda beyond a 44-mile radius around Dublin.”
This is, of course, idiotic.
The company line is that Dublin Dr Pepper “is diluting the Dr Pepper brand, as well as stealing sales from other Dr Pepper bottlers by selling outside its approved territory.” But we’re wondering: How does making a better product that’s more appealing dilute the Dr Pepper brand? Doesn’t something like this summer’s promotional tie-in with the Thor movie, which “regular” Dr Pepper is running, dilute the brand more? It’s not even a good movie!
Why doesn’t Dr Pepper just embrace Dublin? Just look at Mexican Coke: Coca-Cola has convinced people that Mexican Coke, which is also made with cane sugar, is somehow superior to regular Coke, and as such it gets sold at places like Bar Pléides and Momofuku (at a considerable markup). Or look at the explosion in demand for Cheerwine, another old-timey soda made in the south. Even Pepsi makes that sugar-sweetened Throwback version. There’s demand for this sort of thing, is what we’re saying.
Would it really be that difficult to support the tiny bottler and brand Dublin Dr Pepper as a slightly more “artisanal” version of the soda, selling it at all the southern-leaning restaurants that are popping up? It wouldn’t.
But if Dr Pepper Snapple Group kills Dublin Dr Pepper — and by eliminating Internet sales and forcing the company to remove “Dublin” from its bottle, that’s what is happening — then it becomes just another story of corporate homogenization — and that would really dilute the Dr Pepper brand.
Dr Pepper vs. Dr Pepper: Sweet Business Turns Bitter [WSJ]
Dr Pepper vs. Dr Pepper [Houston Chronicle]
Related: Blogger Sees Red Over $5 Coke and David Chang Bubbles Over