When the bottling operation opened in Dublin in 1891, it was known as Dublin Bottling Works. It didn’t become Dublin Dr Pepper until many years later when the drink gained national popularity and became the trademark beverage of Dublin.
Today, the Dublin Dr Pepper plant no longer exists, a result of the recent sale to the parent company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, to terminate legal action due to alleged contract violations. But the rebirth of Dublin Bottling Works spells renewed focus on some of its classic nostalgic drinks such as Triple XXX Root Beer, Big Red and NuGrape. More importantly, it spells renewed enthusiasm.
“We will always miss our famous Dublin Dr Pepper,” said Karen Wright, executive director of the Dublin Economic Development Corp. “But we still have the plant’s wonderful history. We still have two Dr Pepper museums, along with the other three outstanding local museums. We will have much to be proud of – and to market—about our community. And we have several exciting ‘new’ old beverages which will continue to attract consumers.
“Most of us relative newcomers to Dublin didn’t move here because of Dublin Dr Pepper and we didn’t remain here because of it,” Wright continued. “Most of us came for the concepts of small town which give us a lifestyle that we couldn’t have in the city. We are here by choice and we have reason to be proud of Dublin. We may be a little shell shocked right now but we will recover because that’s what Dubliners do.”
Wright has been closely associated with the local bottling plant for many years and is the author of the Dublin Dr Pepper history, “The Road to Dr Pepper,Texas.”
Published in 2006, the book is available at the Dr Pepper Museum or many internet sites including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available at many gift shops including the one at the State Capitol.
Several reviewers have compared Dublin Dr Pepper’s history to David and Goliath, even though the book was written before the lawsuit was filed against the local plant by its parent company. The old bottling plant had been battered about for a full century by social and economic forces which threatened to kill it.
Wright’s book tells the story of plant founder Sam Prim’s arrival in Dublin through his death, the death of his heir, Grace Prim Lyon, the inheritance of the plant by Grace’s longtime friend and plant manager, Billie Kloster, to the Kloster generation which followed.
“The story may be more aligned with ‘The Little Train That Could’ than with David and Goliath,” Wright said. “The plant survived in spite of many forces but it couldn’t survive the expense of defending itself against its corporate parent. The next chapter to be written might be called ‘The Phoenix’ because of the plant’s ability to redefine itself and rise from the ashes.”