Dr Pepper shakeup crushes soda fans
A special variant made in Texas halts production after the parent company sues the bottler.
The soda, produced at the tiny Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling plant in Dublin, Texas, has been a cult favorite for years. Fans loved that it was still made from cane sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup. Locals saw the soda as one of the last economic strongholds in a struggling town with a population of just 3,800.
The bottler even added the word "Dublin" to the labels of its Dr Pepper and sold the soda on its website. In retrospect, that may have been its undoing.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), which owns Dr Pepper, sued the plant in June, saying Dublin Dr Pepper was diluting the Dr Pepper brand and hijacking sales from other Dr Pepper bottlers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Diluting the brand? Consider this: The Dublin bottler had sales of $7 million a year. Dr Pepper Snapple Group had sales of $5.6 billion in 2010. And, the Journal reported, Dublin Dr Pepper makes up less than 1% of Dr Pepper's annual U.S. volume.
But those numbers would not sway Dr Pepper Snapple Group. And as the lawsuit headed to a bitter settlement, it became clear that Dublin Dr Pepper would shut down. The world's oldest Dr Pepper bottler has now changed its name to Dublin Bottling Works. It will no longer produce Dr Pepper.
Anything with the Dublin Dr Pepper logo on it is being destroyed, The Dallas Morning news reported. Dr Pepper Snapple Group says the same cane-sugar version will be produced by another bottler in Temple, Texas, but it won't have the special Dublin logo.
And so the region said an emotional goodbye this week to the Dr Pepper that bears the Dublin name and carries so much of the city's legacy. The plant laid off 14 workers. One nearby resident told the Abilene Reporter-News she would never buy Dr Pepper again. "I'm very upset that the parent company didn't realize what they were doing to such an icon," she said. "They took that away, they strong-armed them and took it away."
Others nationwide joined in the outpouring of emotion and anger. "Dear Texas, Go buy all the Dublin Dr Pepper you can, while you can," celebrity chef Alton Brown posted on Twitter. "Then go out and shoot a bottle of Snapple."
The last few bottles of Dublin Dr Pepper have become hot items on eBay (EBAY). One bottle was selling for $22 and had received five bids as of Friday morning.
I will no longer allow Dr. Pepper products in my house. And as soon as I find out the other products that Dr. Pepper Snapple produces, I will also stop buying them. And my entire family agrees with me. They too will stop buying Dr. Pepper Snapple products. Maybe if enough folks do this, Dr. Pepper Snapple might come to the realization that respect for tradition is more important than the dollar they are so infatuated with.
Just my opinion, but those "trademark infringers" that you guys just put in their place yielded far more to build brand awareness, goodwill and engender brand loyalty than you will ever reap by appropriating their statistically insignificant novelty product for your own, not to mention, for the capper, putting 14 families out of work (Really?!? In this economy? That’s the angle that will continue to resonate you should be most concerned about.). No need to mention the destruction of the proud traditions of an entire Texas community. (That is the perception and perception IS reality in the tweet-age.). Their top line was $7m. Your investment in spin doctors to polish the tarnish off this story that will not go away will dwarf that and the forfeited annual return to DPSgroup in brand loyalty and goodwill alone I predict will be many times that. You just attacked the core of your most loyal customers. Who else would spend $10 on a 6 pack of 6oz bottles of Dr. Pepper? I’d be astonished to see the value equation that was used to justify the decision making here.
Did the Dubliners screw up and sell outside the lines? I’m sure they did. The actual damages? Couldn’t be more than the benefit to DPSGroup from having them around to sell the brand. Whatever their sins, that angle will simply be lost and ignored. Squashing the bug with a sledgehammer instead of employing the bug to pollinate your crops will be the turn I think you’ll find exceptionally difficult to outrun.
That’s DPSGroup’s image as of today. Just heard that WSJ is looking to pick up the story, too. Wow.
I use to joke with AA flight attendants that I had to switch airlines when they did not have DP to serve on board. Between the office and home we spend a couple of hundred dollars a month on both DP and Snapple. That regular expenditure has just been de-authorized.
Good luck. I think you’re going to need it.
This is really just pathetic. The arguement the article makes is spot on -- This was not diluting the brand. Infact I think it was augmenting it, by making it more unique. Now they have:
1. Upset customers
2. People out of work from a business that was successful (while in a down economy mind you)
3. A bunch of bad press.
Who are they going to sue for that kind of brand dilution and damage to their company's reputation?
Greedy, mindless idiots.
I want to thank all of you supporting us in dublin, we really appreciate it!!! I don't work at the plant but love my hometown. All i can do is cry everytime someone mentions dr. pepper, it is so hard to accept that there will be no more Dublin Dr. Pepper. My daughter hopefully would have been a 4th generation employee,in another couple years, but now there is no chance. So, not only does this decision affect our community monetarily and emotionally, for many it affects family traditions. I had hoped we were in negotiations to mediate an aggrement that would have kept an institution intact, yet allowed the big boys to have their way. I am grieved for my community and I hope ya'll will keep us all in your prays. I hope in the longterm we will survive. There are many other businesses in town who's livelihood depended on the plant so...pray for them all!!!!!
Way to go Snapple. Welcome to consumer revenge! You'll be going the way of kodak, netflix, BoA and Circuit City. We the consumer will stand on your neck until we hear
snap ple!! Goodbye!
Simple solution, stop buying Dr Pepper. I didnt know Snapple owns Dr Pepper or I would never buy it. Snapple is becoming a greedy company.
Mr. Pibb will need to be sampled and evaluated.
When Coca Cola changed their formula years back, they said they would never go back, but guess what, with enough public outcry...........they backed down and changed it back. When the banks were going to charge a fee for debit card use..........guess what, they backed down with enough public outcry........when Netflix was going to split the company into two parts.......they backed down from public outcry....YOU CAN change things. Make your voice heard, whether it is for Dr. Pepper or animal abuse or any cause, speak out, write emails to companies, to newspapers, to TV stations etc. If you don't, then don't cry about being run over by companies, or jobs, or the government, or anything else. SPEAK now or FOREVER hold your peace.
I have been drinking Dr. Pepper since I was 6 months old. The only way, in my opinion, to truly appreciate a Dr. Pepper is to drink it from a bottle. Everything else is second best & I really don't like it out of the 2-liter bottles....nasty!
In years past, I have even been known to mail order bottled Dr. Pepper from the Dublin plant. Dr. Pepper Snapple..........what you're doing just downright sucks! You should be ashamed of yourselves putting those poor people out of work and losing a landmark in that town when we're losing so many of them already all across the U.S.!
I have always been a big fan of Dr Pepper. Not any longer. Nor will I purchase any DR Pepper Snapple products in the future. Big mistake on the part of the parent company. If something has worked for so long, why mess with it. Prayers for the workers who will be let go.
I think it is a pathetic exercise of corporate power for Dr Pepper Snapple group to force the Dublin plant to stop manufacturing the one thing that put them on the map. This was not only a major employer in a small town struggling to survive, it had historical significance as the world's oldest bottler of Dr Pepper. Not only did the tiny Dublin plant NOT take away from the Dr Pepper brand, they actually ENHANCED it!!! The fact that they are allowing the sugar-sweetened version to be produced at their Temple, TX plant just proves my point. They didn't have a problem with the formula, they just wanted to punish the town of Dublin for having the audacity to put their name on the bottles.
I hate the aftertaste that corn syrup leaves in my mouth and seek out "throwback" or imported sodas that still use sugar as their sweetener, but I, like so many others, will no longer buy Dr Pepper.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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