Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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January 13, 2012

Dublin residents devastated by Dr Pepper departure

DUBLIN — This was a town in love with its hometown sweetheart, the famous "Dublin Dr Pepper," made with real cane sugar. Now the drink and the love are gone, and the townsfolk feel jilted.

The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Co. announced this week it would no longer make or distribute any Dr Pepper products after settling a licensing lawsuit with Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group and selling its franchise to the corporation.

By noon Thursday, the day after the buyout was announced, the soda shop sold the last of its distinctive Dr Pepper bottles to a horde of visitors. Meanwhile, the town mourned and seethed.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce draped black cloth over its Dr Pepper clock. At the Three Sisters gift shop on South Patrick Street, the owner cleaned Dr Pepper products out of her refrigerator and stacked them on a table outside with the sign: "We will no longer drink Dr Pepper products! Help yourself!"

"I don't know if people realize how devastating this is to Dublin," Three Sisters owner Lisa Leatherwood said. "It's devastating for the people who worked there. It's kind of like when you get the news someone has been killed. It's just disbelief. . . . I'm not going to say Dublin is over with -- there's too many great people here -- but it's a huge loss."

With the buyout, Dublin loses its claim to have the oldest Dr Pepper bottling company in the world, one that remains in the same building it started in 121 years ago.

The family-owned firm, now known as the Dublin Bottling Co., will continue bottling and distributing other lesser-known soft drinks and running its museum and soda shop, which are dedicated largely to Dr Pepper lore.

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