A 'heart attack' for hometown of Dublin Dr Pepper

Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:03pm EST
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By Judy Wiley

FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - A tiny Texas town is mourning the loss of its biggest tourist draw - not a cathedral or a battlefield but rather a special kind of Dr Pepper sweetened with cane sugar and sold in a bottle bearing the town's name.

The residents of Dublin, Texas aren't alone. Across the country, thousands of outraged fans of the drink are signing online petitions protesting the loss.

Some Texas chefs are banning Dr Pepper products, and on Friday, a case of Dublin Dr Pepper was offered on eBay for $9,999.

After more than 100 years, Dr Pepper Bottling Co. in Dublin, Texas stopped making its signature beverage this week as part of an agreement reached after Dr Pepper Snapple Group sued the 40-person bottling company over trademark and territory issues.

Nancy Wooldridge, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said the town of 4,000 suffered a "heart attack" as production stopped and workers removed signs reading "Dublin Dr Pepper" from the bottling plant.

The secret to Dublin Dr Pepper's success was that the bottler made it using Imperial pure cane sugar. Dr Pepper made with the sugar - as opposed to corn syrup - will still be available, but Dublin-labeled bottles are no more, and Dr Pepper will not be bottled at that plant.

That has left many in this small town two hours west of Dallas -- which designates itself "Dr Pepper, Texas" for an annual festival each year -- bitter and disappointed.

The Dublin plant's co-owner, Bill Kloster Jr., could not be reached for comment Friday.   Continued...