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January 12th, 2012
The Day Dublin Dr Pepper Died

The iconic product officially came to an end at 5 p.m. Wednesday as part of a settlement to end litigation between the Dr Pepper Snapple Group and the Dublin-based Dr Pepper Bottling Co. over an alleged violation of a licensing agreement.

Dr Pepper Snapple filed suit against the Dublin bottler last June, claiming it was taking a financial hit because of the Dublin label and that Dublin was overstepping their territorial boundaries by marketing outside of a six-country region. Dr Pepper Snapple was countersued by the bottler in August.

With the settlement, both suits will be dismissed. And the result means layoffs for the Dublin company.

Under the agreement, Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple bought the Dublin company’s sales and distribution operations, as well as the distribution rights to a six-county territory that had previously been served by the local bottler. Exact terms of the settlement were not released.

The former Dr Pepper bottler will reopen at 10 a.m. today as Dublin Bottling Works Inc., and will continue to operate the Old Doc’s Soda Shop and museum, and will continue to bottle a variety of soft drinks such as NuGrape and Triple XXX Rootbeer.

Just not Dr Pepper.

Jeff Kloster, vice president of Dublin Bottling Works, said the "new" name is actually the name the company started with in 1891.

"It’s a sad day. It’s been a hard day to recognize that Dublin Dr Pepper will no longer be with us," Kloster said.

Because the company is losing distribution rights for all Dr Pepper products in their six-county region, Dublin Bottling Works spokesman Bruce Vincent said, the company would be laying off 14 of its 40 employees, mostly warehouse staff.

Dr Pepper Snapple spokesman Chris Barnes said those laid off would have the opportunity to apply for positions within the Dr Pepper Snapple company.

Barnes also said the Dr Pepper product available in Dublin - and throughout Texas - will remain the same.

"This case has not been about what’s in the bottle, it’s been about what’s on the bottle," he said. The product will still be bottled and canned in "distinct, nostalgic packaging," Barnes said, the only difference being no Dublin name on the label.

The Dublin bottler has been described as the “world’s smallest” Dr Pepper bottler, and in a September statement, the bottler claimed sales accounted for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Dr Pepper’s total annual sales.

Barnes said Dr Pepper has a special link with Dublin, something the company hopes to preserve. They will continue to sponsor the annual "Dr Pepper, Texas" birthday celebration held each June, which brings about 80,000 visitors to the Erath County town.

"Dublin Dr Pepper is what held us together, and I don’t believe that there is any citizen in this town that would not support them just because of this decision that came down," Dublin Mayor Becky Norris said.

That doesn’t mean the news will be welcomed by the town’s approximately 3,700 residents, however. In July, residents turned out for a rally in support of the bottler.

"I think that they’re going to be upset, because when an outside, or seemingly outside, entity comes in and you feel like they’ve mistreated one of your own," Norris said.

Norris praised the Kloster family - who live outside Dublin - for supporting various city events.

"If it isn’t going to work with them having a distribution route, they probably have some great ideas that are probably going to boost them into the future," she said.

With a "state-of-the-art type" museum opened by the bottler just last month, Norris said she was optimistic that tourists will still visit her town to learn about its place in Dr Pepper lore.

"You can’t take away the history and the facts," Norris said.

Kloster said he wasn’t sure exactly how much Dublin Dr Pepper was still available, but delivery trucks were running their routes until 5 p.m. Wednesday, so there’s still a small window to grab a case of what is now officially a collector’s item.




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