Q: Can I drink one of the Dublin Dr Peppers that I saved after they quit making them back in whenever it was that they quit making them? I don’t see an expiration date anywhere on the bottle and I’m guessing it’s probably okay, but I don’t want to go blind. Please help as soon as you can. I’ve pretty much made up my mind already, but I’m not going to pop the top until I get confirmation from you.
Sara Johnson, Odessa
A: The Texanist can tell you with absolute certainty that drinking a bottle of stockpiled Dublin Dr Pepper will not cause blindness. After extensive consultations with his attorney, he believes he can also, with little risk of legal jeopardy, advise you that he is fairly confident that doing so will likely not result in any other immediately obvious negative effects—except, perhaps, for the onset of a deep downheartedness brought on by the realization that your once-brimming ten-by-twenty-five-foot storage unit will one day be completely devoid of the sweet and refreshing deliciousness that was a uniquely Texan gem of a soft drink. The Texanist knows this because he choked one down at 10 a.m. just this morning. He may have another later this afternoon at, say, 2 o’clock. And maybe another at 4 o’clock, too.
Now, that said, the Texanist did this at his own risk, with full knowledge, gleaned from the Dr Pepper FAQ page, that bottled Dr Pepper sweetened with sugar carries a shelf life of only thirty-nine weeks. Considering that the last of the Dublin Dr Peppers quit rolling off the line in Dublin at 5 p.m. on January 11 of 2012, this puts even the freshest of Dublins some five-plus years beyond their recommended sell-by date. That said, the Texanist’s old DPs taste a lot like not-all-that-old DP.
Hey, by the way, how many bottles were you able to stow away? The Texanist asks because his pining for the old Dublin Dr Peppers is such that there was a time, not that long ago, when he found himself caught in a vicious cycle in which he’d have a Dublin, then get blue for the above-mentioned reason, and then pick himself up by drinking another, and then get blue again, drink another, get blue, drink another, and so on and so on. Before finally getting ahold of himself, the Texanist depleted a good portion of his own private reserve while on this wild seesaw. Consider yourself warned, Ms. Johnson. You should also consider yourself warned that if you do choose to proceed with your plan, despite the Texanist’s inability, for obvious legal reasons, to greenlight your plan, that you do so at your own risk.
But whether you do or you don’t, you’ll recall that the coveted nectar you are considering treating yourself to was, for more than 120 years, produced and bottled at the world’s oldest Dr Pepper bottler, the Dublin Bottling Works, in the small town of Dublin, southwest of Stephenville. The drink’s uniqueness rested on the fact that it was always sweetened with real Texas-grown Imperial Sugar, as opposed to new-fangled high-fructose corn syrup, and for decades was only available in the Dublin area, although the Texanist’s Aunt Nino’s pantry at her home in Temple was always well-stocked. This, you’ll remember, all came to a screeching halt in 2012 as the result of a lawsuit that came about when the bottler in Dublin and the Plano-based mothership Dr Pepper Snapple Group got crossways over the use of the term “Dublin Dr Pepper” and the fact that the Dublin-branded product had begun showing up outside of the contractually agreed upon four-county distribution area.
As a bit of an aside, some of the Texanist’s people on his dad’s (and Aunt Nino’s) side were also products of Dublin, having settled there shortly after disembarking from an Irish ship in the late 1800s. The Texanist likes to think that, at least in some small portion, a little Dublin DP courses through his veins. As a bit of a further aside, the Texanist feels compelled to note that an offshoot of that part of the family eventually ended up in Temple, where, starting in the 90s, a good portion of “Dublin” Dr Pepper was bottled by the Temple Bottling Company.
The amazing popularity of this sugary elixir is still such that the Texanist has seen some downright crazy offerings on eBay. How about a six-pack of 8-oz bottles for $1000.00? Or two empty 8-oz bottles with an empty cardboard six-pack carrier for $19.00? What?!
People always remind the Texanist that although Dublin Dr Pepper is no more and that the ones he has left in his stash are of questionable potability, a few years back the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, likely inspired by Dublin Dr Pepper’s popularity, started producing its own cane sugar-sweetened version—some of it bottled in Temple! And though this is true, the thing that prevents the Texanist from getting all the way onboard with this elixir is that, in addition to the twenty-three signature secret flavors found in a regular Dr Pepper, he can always detect one extra flavor when he imbibes a Dublin Dr Pepper. It’s distinct and at the same time hard to nail down, but it’s the attribute, even more than the Imperial Sugar or the beverage’s historic source, that has always kept the Texanist coming back for more. See if you can detect it in your Dublin—if you dare drink one. It’s the taste of nostalgia. But now, like Dublin Dr Pepper, it’s all gone. Well, almost all gone.
Speaking of which: Precisely how many bottles did you say you have in your possession? The Texanist would greatly appreciate a response via DM. Thanks.
Have a question for the Texanist? He’s always available here. Be sure to tell him where you’re from.