Dublin Dr. Pepper tour

5 Dec

When describing to my sister why I despise when they show me the bottle of wine I’ve ordered at a fancy restaurant and stand there while I taste it, I brought up Dr. Pepper. I told her, look, I know a bit about wine. I know to pick a Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc when I want a red, I know I enjoy a good Malbec, but don’t always love the lingering taste, and I will often pick a Pinot Grigio for a white. But I doubt there will ever come a time when I would never trust my wine tasting enough to take one sip and tell a waiter standing above me that the wine is not up to snuff. Caitlin and I can do that with Dr. Pepper. 

Caitlin and I are Dr. Pepper snobs. We could tell you whether it’s a regular Dr. Pepper, Diet Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper 10 or, the holy grail, Dublin Dr. Pepper. All Dr. Pepper was made with real sugar until the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 60s. (The tour says the 60s, the website says the 70s.) The U.S. had a trade embargo in place with Cuba on sugar, and every manufacturer switched to high fructose corn syrup, except the bottling plant in Dublin, Texas. They paid extra for the Imperial pure cane sugar, and it shows.

The difference between Dublin and regular Dr. Pepper is like a $4 bottle of gas station Merlot and a … well, a very expensive bottle of wine.  Think you can Dr. Pepper snob? In the photo above, we had to pick out which of the four Dr. Pepper bottles that came off the assembly line was correct and which three were faulty. We’ll reveal the answer at the end.

Caitlin and I fought through blinding rain* (and added two hours to our drive back from Dallas) to go to Dublin, Texas for the mecca of Dr. Pepper. We got there just in time to take the 3:30 tour, and lucky for us, we were the only ones there, so we got a private walk through the plant. Above is a three minute video that shows you the most interesting part of the Dr. Pepper making process. My favorite parts are hearing Caitlin’s whispered “wowww” at 0:31, when he tells us how much pressure the caps are put on with. I have a feeling you’ll be hooked by then. It’s a quick, interesting three minutes. Caitlin laughs a lot, and is adorable.

*It was some serious stuff. There was a point about 20 or so minutes from Dublin where I was sincerely worried we’d accidentally drive into too-deep water and get stuck. Oh, Texas and your crazy flash floods.

Apparently they used to have a Dr. Pepper spokeswoman they called Pretty Peggy Pepper. They’d hold contests to find a new spokeswoman, and have tons of signs and calendars all around the museum in honor of Pretty Peggy. One sign was taken down soon after it was made, because it showed the bare midriff of the model and was too risque. Ooh, la la. I was more interested in the 10, 2, 4 campaign. In the 1920s, a study was done at Columbia that showed the body’s metabolism waned during the day at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The ad campaign they come up with was “Drink a bite to eat at 10, 2 and 4.” If you’re thinking that 5-hour energy stole their line with the “3 o’clock feeling” ad, I agree with you*. The main tour took us into a room full of tons of advertising stuff, and our guide said they loved the Forrest Gump plug, but he noticed things like how when Forrest drinks in a bar, he’s drinking from a bottle that wouldn’t be made for another decade or two.

*I know it sounds unhealthy to drink so much soda, but we found out that one of the past owners of the plant, Mr. Kloster, drank 12 a day. 12 a day! And he was fairly thin and healthy enough to go to war. Sounds scientific enough for me.

After we checked out all of the seemingly endless Dr. Pepper merchandise, from hats and pins to old cooler dispensers, etc. we went to the food area to try a Dr. Pepper milkshake. Once our tour guide described the milkshake, it was a given that Caitlin and I would have to have one. And some more goodies. This set we settled on came with Dr. Pepper cake/icing mix, Jelly beans, a bottle opener and a 6-pack of the good stuff. We also added a case more.* You just can’t buy these bottles in Austin. We had to**. I highly recommend this tour, especially if you’re anywhere near Dallas. Get the milkshake. Ask for an extra cherry***. And bring us back a bottle or two.

*Plus, we bought Dublin Dr. Pepper jelly, laced with the syrup from the drink. I cannot WAIT to put that stuff on crepes or a plain doughnut. Om nom nom. I bet you $5 most of that goes on toast. I will not take that bet because I don’t have $5 to spare but I will find a plain doughnut, mark my words.

**Not to mention, the bottles are way cheaper here. Where I might pay $1.50 to get an 8oz glass in Austin, direct from Dublin it’s less than $1 per bottle if you buy a whole case (24 bottles).

***Zack was so sweet to ask for an extra cherry for me. He knows I love my maraschinos.

P.S. If you were wondering, the bottle second from the left was the correct one. The one on the far left doesn’t have enough syrup, the one second from the right is over-filled and the one on the far right is too thick and syrupy.*

*Zack guessed correctly, whereas I was fooled by the too-syrupy mix (which I bet would taste DELICIOUS).

If you still want more, here’s a news video about the brand new Kloster annex of the museum.

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One Response to “Dublin Dr. Pepper tour”

  1. Mandy January 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    That was awesome. Glad to know I’m not the only Dr. Pepper snob out there. 😉

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