Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Death in Dublin

I can still here the jingle on my family's black and white TV
I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, She's a Pepper, we're a Pepper, Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper, too? Be a Pepper. Drink Dr Pepper.
I can remember the "Dr." encouraging us to enjoy the beverage "at 10, 2 and 4"
And my husband's grandmother did! A native Texan, Mamaw couldn't stay awake in church on Sunday if she hadn't had her Dr. Pepper.

Sadly, Dr. Pepper is no longer alive and well in the little Texas town of Dublin.

Dr. Pepper is truly a “native Texan,” originating in the 1880's at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store in Waco. It is the oldest of the major brand soft drinks in America. Like its flavor, the origin of Dr Pepper is out-of-the-ordinary. Charles Alderton, a young pharmacist working at Morrison's store, is believed to be the inventor of the now famous drink. Alderton spent most of his time mixing up medicine, but in his spare time he liked to serve carbonated drinks at the soda fountain. Inspired by the way the drug store smelled, with all of the fruit syrup flavor smells mixing together in the air. He decided to to create a drink that tasted like that smell. He kept a journal, and after numerous experiments he finally hit upon a mixture of fruit syrups that he liked.

The formula was eventually purchased by the Snapple company (more history here), and has been bottled by various plants around the country, one of which has been the plant in Dublin, TX. As a result of the outcome of the June law suit filed by Snapple, as of this month, the Dublin plant has been forced to stop production and distribution of their lead product. So much for holding on to tradition and individuality. Apparently the "sticking point" was that the Dublin bottling works identified the product as Dublin Dr. Pepper, rather than generic Dr. Pepper as all the other bottling plants do. They did this to emphasize the fact that the product produced at the Dublin plant used only pure cane sugar, not corn syrup. Other plants also use sugar, but don't label their product as being unique from others.

These changes at the bottling plant mean Old Doc's Soda Shop, which is a part of the bottling works, is having to change it's way of doing business. They're in the process of changing their website to reflect those changes now. They still offer tours of the bottling plant, where they produce  popular flavors such as Big Red.

This recent news article explains the impact on the whole town of Dublin, (map) where people really are viewing it as a death. Many folks are angry, and swear they'll never drink Dr. Pepper again. Jeff Kloster, vice president of the bottling works, became teary-eyed during an interview when asked if he'll still drink the soda. "Of course," he said, "I still start every day with a Dr. Pepper, but it's not the same."The Kloster family has owned the bottling works since 1991.

It's really too bad some other solution couldn't be reached as not only has the bottling plant had to lay off employees, this change will undoubtedly have an impact on the numbers of tourists which a lot of businesses depend upon for their livelihood. While the product continues to be available it will never be the same for the folks in Dublin.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!

This morning I watched our Oregon Ducks (band and cheer leaders) and a local Texas high school drill team (the Lake Travis Cavallettes) march in the Rose Parade - Now it feels like New Year's Day! We'll all be tuned in to the Rose Bowl this evening to cheer on our Ducks as they play Wisconsin.

Santa brought us an early present, a grandson! Little Jax was dressed for action as one of Santa's helpers on the big day. He must have been tuckered out from delivering presents as he moved from one grand parent's lap to the other and slept most of the day.

Santa also brought us rain for Christmas, which was a good thing considering the drought we had this year, and now everything is basking in the sunlight - how perfect can you get!

This year has certainly flown by quickly. The day after Christmas I sat on the new porch enjoying the balmy 65 degree day and the sun, and watched the squirrels and birds enjoy the remains of the Christmas feast we put out for them. We're so lucky to have been able to travel and experience the places we have, and we both have our health. Can't ask for more than that!

Shiner has grown quickly and lately is  a bit calmer and not bugging us to go play all the time, as she had several busy days recently with all the dogs that have visited, so we can all kick back and enjoy the afterglow of a wonderful Christmas, and reflect back on a great year. 

As soon as all the holiday festivities are over we'll dive back in to the remodeling work. . . on the porch and window trim inside, and whatever else crops up along the way. We've promised ourselves to take days off to at least take day trips now and then, so we should have some local items of interest to report. Stay tuned.

In memory of my Irish grandfather. . .a toast:
As we start the New Year,
Let's get down on our knees
to thank God we're on our feet!