If you’ve been to any hipster-affected Mexican restaurants in the past five years, you know all about the phenomenon of “Mexican Coke.” Imported from south of the border, Coke bottled in Mexico (and many other countries) is made with real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup and thus tastes, well, a little bit more like there’s real food in it than regular Coke does. While no one drinks Coca-Cola for its healthful properties, it’s hard not to agree that the natural-sugar stuff is tastier. But did you know there’s also a “Mexican” Dr. Pepper, and that it can be had without going (quite) all the way to Mexico?
You see, when the soft drink industry switched to HFCS in the 1970s, one bottler in Dublin, Texas stood their sugary ground and kept making Dr. P with the natural stuff. Fast forward four decades and “Dublin Dr. Pepper” had become a local Texas institution. DP aficionados flocked from all over to sample the stuff, enthusiasts even began trading it over the Internet, and Dublin Dr. Pepper began distributing it further afield.
When the behemoth corporation that owns Dr. Pepper found out, they wisely capitalized on people’s passion for real-sugar soda and started distributing the good stuff all over the country, even though it costs them an extra few cents per can to make. Ha! I’m just kidding of course. They shut that shit down. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (a name that just conjures up some kind of vomit-y sorority party jungle juice mix) sued Dublin Dr. Pepper for distributing their sugary soda and taking business away from other bottlers, who didn’t want to have to compete with the superior product.
The result: Today, the “Dublin Dr. Pepper” company no longer is allowed to make Dr. P, instead launching their own line of new sodas. And you won’t find sugar-sweetened Dr. Pepper popping up near you anytime soon. However, because the good drinkers of central Texas were already addicted to the real stuff, the Dr. Pepper Snapple group does make small batches of sugary DP (now without the “Dublin” label) strictly available only in that area. So if you happen to be driving through Dublin, Texas — conveniently located not really near anything at all — you can pop into a gas station, as I did recently, enjoy a small glass bottle of sugary Dr. Pepper, and dream about a day when American food is made from real food again.
In-Depth: R.I.P. DP, 1891 – 2012 [Texas Monthly]