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Friday, August 12, 2011

Sugarcane v. High Fructose Corn Syrup? Which Will Win? Stakes Are High in Legal Battle.

Dublin Dr Pepper pits itself as David vs. Goliath against big Dr Pepper
Teresa Gubbins, Pegasus News
Dr Pepper Bottling Company of Dublin pits itself as the little David vs. the big Goliath in its response to the federal lawsuit filed by Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

This is the lawsuit Dr P filed on June 30 to terminate its licensing agreement with Dublin Dr Pepper, to get them to stop using the "Dublin Dr Pepper" name and stop selling Dublin Dr P on their website.

Dublin Dr Pepper's response, issued on August 9, accuses Dr Pepper Snapple of being inconsistent. To wit:
  • Before filing the lawsuit, Dr Pepper Snapple's corporate website provided links to Dublin Dr Pepper's website and toll-free number. (They've since taken it down.)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple hasn't sued other bottlers who also sell Dr Pepper online, in North Carolina and Missouri. (Uh-oh for those guys.)
  • Dr Pepper Snapple President and CEO Larry Young touted Dublin Dr Pepper in an interview, calling it "the original Dr Pepper formula with the Imperial Sugar in it," and saying that their following was "unbelievable."

Dublin Dr Pepper is sought by soda fanatics because it contains Imperial cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. It's incontestably delicious and should be available everywhere. The big Plano Dr Pepper even released a limited-edition made-with-sugar version last year for its anniversary, although they did manage to muck it up by supplementing the cane sugar with beet sugar.

One thing that Dublin Dr Pepper does not acknowledge is that some of its product did show up in Tom Thumb stores as recently as 2009. One consumer says he bought it there in 2008, and I still have two cans from a six-pack I bought at Tom Thumb in 2009. Doesn't it seem likely that Plano Dr Pepper may have spotted this contraband product in its own backyard?

Sugar in sodas is definitely coming back. The Throwback versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew, which started out as a temporary item, are now available year-round. Dr Pepper Snapple may be slow to respond like the Goliath it is, but it seems likely they'll eventually start selling a sugar version year-round, too.

There was a rally on July 30 in Dublin, and there's now an I Support Dublin Dr Pepper Facebook page.

Marystod: "If a little guy tries to sue a big corporation, it's dubbed 'frivolous,' by media and the powers that be. Corporations can do it w/o retribution by media, etc. I was an expert witness for the Defense, when a big guy (Monsanto) sued a mom/pop dairy in Waco for labeling their product 'bovine growth hormone free.' Labels w/the words 'sugarfree' are used all the time and the sugar companies don't try to sue makers of those products! Torts were only 'reformed,' under our last President, in favor of the corporations and against the little guys. And, that's the way things work now! I've visited the Dublin plant several times and bought sodas there. They really are better and better for us than HFCS or Aspartame! Wake up and smell the sugarcane, Plano D.P. It may be the wave of the future passing you by!"