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Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr Pepper (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Drama | February 2014 (USA)
'Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr Pepper' is a new documentary 120 years in the making. Our story details the small town of Dublin, Texas, which was the first place to ever bottle the ... See full summary »




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Danny Balis ...
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'Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr Pepper' is a new documentary 120 years in the making. Our story details the small town of Dublin, Texas, which was the first place to ever bottle the soft drink Dr Pepper back in 1891. Garnering cult-like status in the 70s by continuing to produce Dr Pepper with pure cane sugar as the soda industry switched to High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), 'Bottled Up' details the events and history leading up to the demise of the relationship between Dublin Dr Pepper and its parent corporation - The Dr Pepper Snapple Group in 2012. With exclusive interviews and footage, Bottled Up provides an insiders look at how this relationship fizzled, and the public outcry that continues to this day. Written by Anonymous

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How a corporation can take away a beloved commodity and a town's sense of pride
22 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

Since 1892, Dublin Bottling Works, located in the small town of Dublin, Texas, has been known for making "Dublin Dr. Pepper," one of the earliest variation of Dr. Pepper known to exist. It all started when a pharmacist by the name of Charles Alderton, in efforts to create a soft drink that "tasted like the soda fountain smelled," created the concoction and predicated off of the fact that nobody could discern what exactly the drink tasted like. He sold it a tavern near Waco, Texas and wound up naming the soda after his girlfriend's father. The soda grew from a craft experiment to a nationwide beverage, soon being acquired by what is now known as Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to be bottled/canned throughout the country.

Despite corporate control over the Dr. Pepper name, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group allowed Dublin Bottling Works to continue to make the soda and a Temple factory to continue bottling it. The difference between the mass-produced Dr. Pepper one can find everywhere is that it's made with the cheaper high-fructose corn syrup, where the Dublin variation was made with imperial cane sugar. The original owner of Dublin Bottling Works, W.P. Kloster, fought intense pressure and shrinking profit margins to ensure the beverage kept its cane sugar roots instead of switching over to the cheaper sweetener. After his death, Kloster's family went on to inherit the bottling company and an unforeseeable legal battle between Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group and the company erupted, resulting in Dublin Dr. Pepper being discontinued in 2012.

Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr. Pepper works to illustrate Dr. Pepper Snapple Group's lawsuit, which was over a trademark dispute of the name "Dr. Pepper," despite Dublin Bottling Works making and bottling the soda for one-hundred and twenty years prior. In the film, one legal consultant states that if you allow a company to do something for an extended period of time, especially when it comes to namesake or trademark claims, you lose your right to complain. It's like the "speak now or forever hold your piece" clause of the legal game; unless that legal game is financed and controlled by a billion dollar corporation that can afford to stomp out the smaller entity and lose little to nothing in the process.

Dublin Bottling Works' distribution of Dublin Dr. Pepper was bound by a six-county, forty-four mile window, meaning only most of central Texas got to buy the acclaimed Dr. Pepper in stores. Those who would travel to Dublin to buy some of the soda and, in turn, sell it online or in outside territories were known as "Dr. Pepper bootleggers." I'm keenly reminded of how my father frequently nabs some of New Glarus's Spotted Cow beer or Yuengling Lager whenever one of his salesman friends would travel to Wisconsin or the east coast, respectively. A regional commodity is only proved great when you have people outside of the specific area, far and wide, hearing about your product and making an effort to get some on their own.

However, Dublin Dr. Pepper is no longer made anymore and the trademark dispute was ended fairly quickly, due to a lack of funds on part of Dublin Bottling Works and the persistency of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Despite the seventy-six minute documentary working to illustrate this conflict, the reason for the abrupt discontinuation is still vague. Up until 2012, Dr. Pepper actually advertised its Dublin counterpart on its website and an interview with Dr. Pepper's CEO had him praising the cane sugar alternative. He claimed the bottling company was "using the name improperly," despite going out of his way to promote it during an interview.

Today, Dublin Bottling Works sells a wide variety of cane sugar-sweetened sodas, such as lemonade and fruit punch, on their website and throughout the same parts of central Texas as they did Dublin Dr. Pepper. Director Drew Rist shows the soreness that the legal battle has left on the town by talking to townspeople, who fondly recall the taste of Dublin Dr. Pepper whilst condemning the actions of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. The town of Dublin even holds a Dr. Pepper festival every year, where townspeople gather to celebrate the beverage's rich history. The year after the soda was discontinued, the festival still went on, featuring Dublin Bottling Works' new line of sodas, and attendance was at a record low.

Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr. Pepper shows the unity that was established in a sleepy town in Texas; a unity that stemmed from the solicitation of an original soda that grew to be a beloved commodity for people of all ages. Despite its slender length, Rist examines the hole the legal battle has left in the hearts of many of Dublin's citizens and, perhaps most frightening of all, shows how a corporation can not only take away a beloved product from a small town, but a large sense of the townspeople's pride as well.

Directed by: Drew Rist.

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