Amidst Legal Battle With Plano Parent, a Tour Through Dublin Dr Pepper's Bottling Plant

check.jpg
Photos by Brantley Hargrove
I guess it's just plain dumb luck that I happened to be drifting through tiny Dublin (population 4,000) on the one day a month delicious Dublin Dr Pepper is bottled. Now, for the uninitiated, Dublin Dr Pepper distinguishes itself from its Plano-based brethren in one key respect: It's made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup.

I had no choice but to pull over and grab a sixer of The Real Thing. Then, when I found out they were bottling, I had to take a tour, of course.

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The bottle-washing process
First step in the process: Inspection. In many cases, they use a certain kind of bottle that simply isn't made anymore. Some of them are chipped, cracked or otherwise unworthy of becoming a vessel for the tastiest of Texas carbonated beverages.

The bottling of greatness
Once they pass muster, it's off to the bottle washer. No, it isn't some guy with a rag and a bottle of Dawn. It's a machine the size of a Mac truck that was built in 1965. The plant bought it in '93. So covetous were the plant managers of this contraption -- which can wash 1,980 bottles at a time in highly alkaline soap and water heated to 160 degrees -- they didn't figure on the space they'd need for it. So they cut a big hole in the wall and there it sat ever since, cleaning and sterilizing the bottles from which we sip.

Next, the bottles pass through another inspection to check for cracks following the high-heat wash, and on to bottling. There, carbonated water and Dr Pepper's 23 flavors are injected. They're capped with 100 pounds of pressure, which explains the inspections -- some of the bottles apparently date back to the '30s -- bottler Melvin's protective eyewear and the Plexiglass wall behind which we were told to stand.

Each by each, the bottles pass on to another inspection, where they're backlit and their contents checked for consistency. By the end of this day, they'll have bottled 3,000. Until next month, we'll have to subsist on that.

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The final leg of the tour took me through the plant owner's substantial collection of Dr Pepper memorabilia, including posters of the then-risque Patriotic Girl -- the soda's wartime mascot. Back in the '40s, folks complained about her scanty clothing, so corporate ordered every poster of her destroyed. One was saved and is considered priceless. I'd include pictures, but we weren't allowed to photograph that part of the tour. What followed was Pretty Peggy Pepper, the more demure offering. The latest Peggy Pepper is a Tarleton State University student who dyed her hair blond. (Click this link for images -- that's Patriotic Girl on the left and Peggy Pepper on the right.)

And, in case you were wondering, no, the tour did not discuss Dublin Dr Pepper's legal dust-up with its parent company over the use of the Dublin prefix. Although, I couldn't help but notice that fat check on the wall.


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15 comments
Anna Wirth Thompson
Anna Wirth Thompson

Last night, on "Yelp", I wrote about Dublin Dr Pepper and its importance to the Dublin community.  We need to win the legal battle.  We want to continue taking our visitors, family,  friends, and grandchildren to Old Doc's Soda Shop.  The bottling company has been a wonderful supporter of our community and we want to keep it that way.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I can't stand DP any more, but I think they have something in XXX Rootbeer.  Can't they sell that up here? 

Don O.
Don O.

I still don't get why anyone buys the bottles.  If you're in Dublin, buy the cans.  Same good stuff inside, but about half the price and you get MORE DP in the can than in the bottle!  There's a little grocery store around the corner from the plant that sells them even cheaper then they do at the plant.

Dr. Burlough
Dr. Burlough

3,000?  Central Market sells way more than that in a weekend!  CM,  others use disposable bottles.  3,000 bottles total? 

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Brantley, tell me you got a float.  Stopping in Dublin and not getting a float is akin to stopping in Luckenbach and not having a Lone Star.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Love it, but that's Patriotic Girl on the left and Peggy Pepper on the right.

pknight
pknight

Most of the "Dublin" Dr Pepper is bottled in Temple.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

You're the Davy Crockett of the 21st century swinging your Texas 12#'er at everyone.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

That would be because demand outstrips their ability to produce it in Dublin. It was mentioned in the blog that there is only one day a month that they actually fire up the machinery. It isn't so much where it is bottled but what is contained in said can or bottle that makes the difference. 

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Ummm, thanks. When I'm not chasing cuteys in my cadillac, I like to drill oil wells just for fun.

pknight
pknight

I was simply pointing out to Dr. Burlough that the stuff sold in Central Market is Dublin Dr Pepper from Temple, and the stuff Brantley had was Dublin Dr Pepper from Dublin. The Real Thing, as Brantley said. Dublin Dr Pepper from Dublin is better. Too bad they only make three-thousand bottles a month. 

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

That's mighty high praise sir, hard to determine the level of sarcasm around here at times.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

I meant that as a compliment. You are to Texas as Kergo is to cooking as Davy is to the Alamo.I didn't want to gay it up by ending it with a :) :) :)Not that there's anything wrong with gays, just stating my affiliation with the straights.

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