Heritage Dr. Pepper: Apparently Many Of You Were Unaware

THIS, me hearties, is Heritage Dr. Pepper:

Heritage Dr.jpg

Remember Pepsi’s brilliant idea last year? To do a special limited-time run of beverages made with real sugar? Well, they’ve expanded this wonderful program this year and added Dr. Pepper to the “Throwback” lineup.

Real sugar Dr. Pepper.

Yes, there’s a bottler in Texas who still does cane sugar Dr. Pepper. But this stuff here can be purchased by the case, by frenzied, joyful case, when you enter your local supermarket with the idea of just buying some lunchmeat and vegetables and wind up running back outside to get a cart.

I find that the Heritage Dr. Pepper is more of a sippin’ liquor than something you might just slug down. I can easily make one can last a full half an hour; each mouthful should be allowed to linger on the tongue and savored. It’s a dynamite flavor.

Good God. Why doesn’t the Coca-Cola Company ever come up with ideas as good as this one? We get Passover Coke, sure, but I think it’s best to maintain a separation of church and carbonation.

41 thoughts on “Heritage Dr. Pepper: Apparently Many Of You Were Unaware

  1. Joel Housman

    As you saw on Twitter earlier, I was not aware of this. Thanks for informing me. I will be searching for this at the CVS across from my office in downtown Washington, DC tomorrow during lunch.

  2. Scott Heinowski

    Coca-Cola Enterprises distributes Dr. Pepper in Michigan so we don’t get Heritage Dr. Pepper here. I thought about driving to Ohio to get some, but I am trying to cut back on pop anyway.

  3. Kenn Fong

    Andy, Out here on the Left Coast, we have Mexican Coke which is imported. They’re the old glass return bottles. Made with cane sugar! They’re available at nearly every Mexican restaurant, burrito shop, and all the taco trucks. A burrito with extra jalapeƱos and a Mexican Coke is a real treat! While you’re out here for the Apple convention, go to Taqueria Cancun, 1003 Market Street, Market and 6th, just a couple of blocks away from Moscone. If you’re into it, try the Al Pastor, which is barbecued pork. kenn

  4. martymankins

    I knew about Heritage Dr Pepper last month, but can’t find it locally (Utah) or in Las Vegas (which is where I looked for it this last weekend).

    As Kenn above me mentioned, Mexican Coke is in bottles and is made with cane sugar. Most grocery stores and Wal-Marts sell it here for about $1.50 for a 20 oz. glass bottle.

  5. Scott Gamble

    As a displaced Texan who became addicted to the Dr. Pepper you mention (down there it’s referred to as Dublin Dr. Pepper, after the town where the bottler is located), I was thrilled to find the Heritage stuff on my grocer’s shelf last week. I agree that it’s more of a sippin’ drink than a guzzlin’ one, but I wouldn’t turn away from it in either situation. The difference between real sugar and that high fructose corn syrup stuff is real. I also wish the fine folks at Coke would get the same idea.

  6. Jason

    As you alluded to, Dr. Pepper bottled in Dublin, Texas is still made with Imperial Cane Sugar. Fantastic stuff. If you’re ever in Dublin (about 2 hours SW of Fort Worth), it’s definitely worth the stop. I prefer the cases of 8 oz. bottles. http://bit.ly/55bdrj

  7. QuarterSwede

    Here in Colorado you can buy Mexican Coke by the case (24 IIRC) at Costco. It’s much better than regular Coke and a heck of a lot better than Throwback Pepsi (no wonder why it didn’t take off until they added HFCS).

  8. Scott Jones

    Co-worker told me the Pepsi Throwback had returned, and I was overjoyed (a fan of Pepsi over Coke any day). If you are in SF for the Apple announcement or if they are still around for Macworld, you can find all three (Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper) at the Safeway on 4th and Townsend (across from the CalTrain Depot).

  9. Jeff Hentosz

    In Ohio right now we have The Return of Pepsi Throwback, in old-timey (mid-70s-ish) style cans, AND real sugar Mountain Dew Throwback in the old hillbilly can. I’ll look for the Heritage Dr. P, though, because, you know, I’m a Pepper, too.

  10. DT

    Andy, as a cubicle jockey wallowing away my days in the Dr Pepper offices in Plano TX, listening to you on the Twit podcasts or reading your Sun Times reviews helps pass the hours. I’d love to repay the favor and ship you some Dublin DP and shwag if you would like!
    P.S. Pepsi doesn’t own the brand. We’re a standalone company. (that just rides the bigger guys coattails!)

  11. Russell Boyer

    Yes! I was elated when I found this stuff in my local Target. I’m a big fan of Dublin Dr. Pepper, and would love if it was available nationwide. I have been stocking up on little 8oz bottles every time I get back to Oklahoma, where I can get the stuff at a great little place called ‘Pops’ in Arcadia. They even have Dublin DP in the soda fountains there!

    I’m not sure that Heritage DP is quite as good as the Dublin stuff. That may just be the difference between drinking it from a can vs. a bottle, or the quality of the sugar used. Still, it’s good, and I wish that Dr. Pepper (and others) would understand that there really is a demand for sugar sweetened sodas.

  12. Kevin

    We have not only Heritage Dr. Pepper at the local Price Chopper, but both Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback (with the old hillbilly design on the cases).

    Being a diabetic, I can only enjoy them vicariously through others, but I can still remember getting a green glass bottle of Mountain Dew from the old-style bottle-dispensing pop machines. I’d open it and take a big slug and yell “YA-HOoooo” just like the guy on the bottle. (sigh)

  13. Lun Esex

    Mexican Coke is available by the case at Costco in California, too (at least in the SF Bay Area–I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be the same down in So Cal, too). My company has even started getting two cases added to our regular Costco delivery. There was a bit of frustration until someone went out and bought a bottle opener, though, since they’re not screw tops. :)

    I’d thought the importation of Mexican Coke was mainly a California thing (or at least California & south west), but it sounds like it’s fairly widespread across the western states. How long will it be before Coca-Cola gets a hint that there’s a real demand for Coke made with actual sugar instead of HFCS? Or is there some kind of collusion going on between the fizzy sugar water corporations and the corporate industrial corn farming firms that forces real sugar Coke to only be available on the grey market? I suppose a more likely reason is that the corn industry makes sure that the price of HFCS always undercuts the price of real sugar by so much that the carbonated beverage companies can’t resist the stratospherically higher margins.

  14. fairuse

    We just got at and I made the mistake of drinking it like I normally drink. Case gone in a puff of smoke fast. Now drinking standard mix and it has none of the smooth taste. Lesson learned. Standard mix to wake up and stay up, Heritage Dr Pepper while relaxing. Bet me!

  15. DT

    Re: Lun Esex ding!ding!ding! Corporations such as these that are subjected to meet stockholder expectations are thus driven by bean counters, bar graphs, and spreadsheets. And so the HFCS makes the bottomline soooo much sweeter than cane sugar. 1) cost to produce and 2) shelf life.
    Of course, the marketing departments do focus on gimmick test runs (i.e. Limited eds or flavors) and stumbles on what the consumer REALLY wants. The bean counters hate it though believe me. Still, if the market will show long term demand we may see it return!

  16. Till

    I’ve been living in Europe for a couple years, so I’ve drank plenty of sugar-based cola. I haven’t actually compared side by side, but I travel back to the States fairly frequently, so I feel pretty confident in saying it’s overrated.

    Coke is Coke. The taste is slightly different, but I couldn’t say one is substantially better than the other. I am however slightly addicted to Vita Cola…which is an acquired taste.

  17. Mitch Cohen

    Mmmm, I’ll have to hunt some down. Five years ago, while on a cross-country RV trip, we stopped at the Dr. Pepper Museum on Waco, TX. (Did the ultimate wacky triumvirate of the Dr. Pepper Museum, the Branch Davidian compound, and the Texas White House ranch town of Crawford all the same day.) I bought three or four cases of Dublin Dr. Pepper at the museum, and stored it in the back of the truck. A few cans exploded in the Las Vegas heat, but the rest made it home to Massachusetts unscathed. Good stuff. Thanks for the pointer!

  18. David

    I make a point to buy cases of the Dublin Dr Pepper directly from the bottling plant whenever I get the chance. Those 8oz bottles make you want to savor it slowly!

  19. Shig

    If you’re ever in Tallahassee, stop by Lofty Pursuits. Our soda fountain has been serving hand-mixed “Heritage” Dr. Pepper since it opened.

  20. DDA

    Pepsi and Mt. Dew Throwback are currently available in Massachusetts (at least in the Stop & Shop near where I work) but the supply is quite limited. I’ve grabbed some 2 liters and some 20 oz “cooler stock” as the Pepsi guy called it. Cans went quickly; I haven’t seen them lately.

    I strongly suspect that sugar tariffs and politics keep HFCS in use since anyone looking at the demand for the Throwback version could see how popular it is. For those that think there is no difference, we did a blind taste test at work when it first came out and there was no problem telling sugar from HFCS.

  21. STrRedWolf

    Everything everyone else has said. :) You can get the sugared Pepsi et al at any Superfresh or Shoppers here in Maryland, although some Giants are carrying it too.

    BUT: It’s only limited time; Dublin Dr Pepper is made all the time and can be ordered by the case at olddocs.com (Old Doc’s Soda Shop).

  22. Scott

    In point of fact, Dr. Pepper is not a Pepsi product – this appears to be a response to Pepsi’s Throwback brands (and to a much lesser extent the “Mexican Coke” mentioned earlier).

    However, this is insignificant. The real story is sugar vs. HFCS, and in that, sir, you are absolutely on target.

    (Thanks for the pointer, STrRedWolf!)

  23. Rikki

    I find that I don’t actually like the “real sugar” sodas. I found both the Pepsi and Mountain Dew throwbacks disgusting and I had to choke down the Dr. Pepper Heritage when I tried. And Dr. Pepper is my favourite soda. So, I’ll take HFCS over this any day of the week.

  24. RichW

    Our taste buds are all different. What tastes the same to one person doesn’t to others. Corn Syrup tastes terrible to me and I avoid anything with it. Sugar cola tastes clean with a pleasant aftertaste. Corn syrup leaves a bitter aftertaste and I never touch it anymore. It’s like when Stevia which was recommended recently as tasting sweet. I took one sip of a soda with it after he left and had to spit it out. Nasty to me! Saccherine and aspartame taste very bitter to me and not at all sweet. On a different note: Marmite tastes incredibly good to me and I seriously enjoy the taste of Natto. Again, we all have slight differences as to what taste good and bad to us. Here in Seattle we can buy Mexican coke readily but I will keep an eye out for this Dr. Pepper.

  25. Adam E

    There’s a Chicken Express down the street from where I work in Euless, TX that sells Dublin Dr Pepper as a fountain drink. I agree that the real sugar version is a better as a sipping drink. Guzzling down the 32oz mega cup while devouring chicken tenders can make the head spin a bit.

    But at this point I’m completely addicted to corn juice, so Dublin Dr Pepper is just a once in a while treat.

  26. Sam Crutsinger

    I just finished going through the last of the 3 cases of Dublin DP I bought at Thanksgiving. It does last me much longer than regular DP. I always find that I’m swishing it around in my mouth. If they have this Heritage DP in 2L bottles, I may have to buy out the store’s whole stock.

  27. pupdog

    From what I’ve been able to find, most Passover Coke is made with sugar, but it’s beet sugar and not cane sugar. Theoretically there shouldn’t be much difference, but I think we all know it’s not quite the same

  28. Tim harness

    I recall listening to a “Food scientist” on public radio, claiming that the taste difference between HFCS and cane sugar was imaginary, must have been a smoker, or something.

  29. Ihnatko Post author

    @Tim – Ah. Yes. A “food scientist.” Sounds like the sort of guy who insists that the plane crash couldn’t possibly have happened because he has HARD NUMBERS that PROVE that the craft was airworthy.

    This guy didn’t happen to work for the corn industry, did he?

  30. Ihnatko Post author

    @pupdog — I had to do some research on this a couple of years ago. Bottlers are free to use either beet or cane sugar for Passover Coke and it’s hard to predict which one they’ll use. I must admit that the difference between beet and cane sugar isn’t as apparent to me as the difference between real sugar and corn syrup. Cane has a more “peppery” sort of taste but that doesn’t always come through.

  31. mjenni27

    Alas, all good things come to an end. This weekend I went to three stores trying to find heritage Dr. Pepper. All had “regular” Dr. Pepper plugging the space where the heritage was marked. Call the local Pepsi bottler and they said that they have ended the production run and will no longer carry it when the stuff in their warehouse was sent to stores.

  32. Ron Evry

    In the 1940s, Coke and Pepsi (and most other bottlers) switched to a combination of Cane and Beet Sugar. So unless you’re old enough to have been drinking Coke in the 1930s, you won’t know what Coke with 100% Cane Sugar tastes like. Even Kosher for passover Coke probably uses Cane and Beet sugar. As long as they don’t use grains like corn. After all, plenty of people eat Borscht for Passover…

    So, with Passover just a tad over a month away, does anyone know where in the DC area Kosher for Passover Coke can be found? With the Yellow caps…


  33. Jeff

    The Throwbacks of both Pepsi and Mt. Dew are superior to the corn syrup versions. It’s too bad politics is winning instead of taste.
    I thought maybe Heritage DR. Pepper was going to be permanent since the bottles are not marked for limited time as the Pepsi is, but now I can’t find Heritage either. For anyone who cares, Wired, an energy drink company based in Everett WA makes a soda called XDP which is an imitation pepper soda, and it’s made with REAL sugar! Buy it if you see it, it’s good!

  34. Travis Johnson

    Hi Andy, enjoy all you contributions on Mac Break.

    It looks like they are phasing out on the west coast. The Lucky’s near me has no more. Safeway had a few cases left with the bonus of buy 2 12 packs “get 3 more free” so I have a nice stockpile if they don’t bring it back.

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