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Tuesday, July 23, 2002, well over a year since the last event. I'd actually had the soda for a while, but I was waiting for a visit from our dear friend Gordon Merrick. Lo and behold, the week before he was scheduled to visit, I got an email from this lady who works for the local TV show Chronicle, and she was doing a segment on fake Dr Pepper! And a collector referred her to me! Talk about perfect timing. So, I gathered up the gang and the beverages, and got ready for the media circus (well, this lady and a camera guy, anyway)...

   

Guide to the Guests:
(1) Texan, (2) Archenemy-Associated Band Member, (3) Roommate, (4) Sibling, (5) Some other friend who does not fall into the above categories

Angela (5)
Annie (2)
Becky (5)
Bill (5)
The Captain Boothnavy Swallow (2)
Craig (2, ex-3)
Damascus Trolley (2, 3), who was wearing a corduroy blazer and montreal expos hat. i should have taken a photo.
DannyGold (ex-3)
Delilah (ex-3)

The Duke of Belgian Waffles (2, and while not a Texan, a Pepper expert nonetheless)
Gordon Merrick (1, 2, ex-3)
Heath (ex-3, and birthday boy)
Heather (5)
Keith (ex-3)
Les Enthusiasm (4)
Meaghan (5)
Miss Lunarkitty (1, ex-3)
Rock Stone (2)
Ruben (5)
Swedie (3)

The selections this year came from Mark Edwards, a faux Pepper collector from the Reno area. As a special bonus, The Duke brought his collection of international Dr Peppers as well! Winners in red, losers in blue...

Soda Taste Dr. Pepper Similarity Label
Design
Name
Cleverness
Overall Score
Doc Holiday 5.83 3.93 6.33 6.5 5.65
Dr Best 5.63 5.7 4.6 3.7 4.91
Dr Hytop 3.92 3.6 3.4 5.67 4.15
Diet Dr K * * 3.27 .86 *
Diet Dr Rocket .64 .75 4.57 5.25 2.8
Dr Shasta 6 4.32 4.58 3.65 4.64
Dr West 5.17 4 6.44 4.18 4.95
Mr. Sipp 7.73 8.45 6.88 6.75 7.45
Pibb Xtra 6.7 6.56 5.31 4.94 5.88
Real Dr. 5.29 4.88 5.03 5.88 5.27
British Dr Pepper 7.39 5.29 8.5    
Dutch Dr Pepper 8.47 8.6 7.67    
Japanese Dr Pepper * * 8    

 

  l-r: Craig and Swedie, Heath, Miss Lunarkitty, Les Enthusiasm, and Meaghan.

Doc Holiday
More cherry- or berry- tasting than Dr Pepper. Rock Stone described it as "melted Swedish Fish." Pretty decent, though. The main thing about this beverage is the can. It has guns on it! And a guy with a handlebar moustache and funny hat. And the slogans "Double barrels of flavor" and "Have a real blast." People were pretty divided other whether or not the violence was a good thing. It was very Wild West looking, except that it had a fuschia-and-teal color scheme.

Dr. Best
Hm. This one didn't score too badly, except looking over the evaluations, I'm getting comments like "semen," "ketchup," "cloves," "just plain shoddy," and "as bland as Seth's music." The Duke pointed out that "Best Yet" does imply room for improvement. The label had interesting lightning-bolt typography. Which isn't to say it was necessarily good, but it was nice to see that someone put in some kind of effort.

  Delilah and DannyGold are old-skool Doctor taste testers.

Dr Hytop
This was compared to cardboard, cotton candy, dishsoap, a black vortex of cigarette ash and malt, and bug repellent. "This shit's totally welfare" said Damascus Trolley. My bro theorized that it was >9 on the pH scale. Several people commented on the unpleasant aftertaste. Pretty much the only positive comment came from Angela, who said that if she were a rapper, Dr. Hytop would be her name.

Diet Dr K
This one sprung a leak in the mail. So we just judged the label design and name, neither of which we were too impressed with. Damascus made some inexplicable comment about it being endorsed by near Hall of Famer Dwight Gooden.

  Angela, Becky, and Ruben. It had gotten very crowded in my room.

Diet Dr Rocket
OK, in all fairness, this is a diet soda being judged against regular ones... but... EEEEW! I mean, come on, Diet Dr Pepper is actually quite good. But this... "rancid," "one of the worst things I've ever had to drink," "fermented rhubarb...that's gone bad," "I like everything and I hate it," "the worst tasting soda I've ever had," "like those early NASA rockets that exploded shortly after take-off," "i would send this back," "carbonated hershey squirts," and "wet llama, with cinnamon. and pez aftertaste." So I'd have to recommend against purchasing this particular product.

Dr Shasta
I really cannot fathom why this did so okay in the label design category. Oh, it made my head hurt. A haphazard collection of nasty type (a rad (but in a bad way) geometric one, with what Delilah though was the Spicy Doritos font) set against what Heath thought looked like a colonoscope. But some people liked it. Go figure. There is no accounting for people's tastes. And it tasted kinda like Smarties.

  Boothnavy and Rock Stone, finding something to be very amusing.

Dr West
A fair amount of people commented on its nice smell. So I guess if there were a smell category, it would have won. My bro said it was like gargling with potpourri. It apparently also contains some key ingredient that made Miss Lunarkitty hysterical with laughter. I think this ingredient may be mustard. Not exactly something one would want in a beverage (unless you want something to drink with your hot dog). Anyway, the label had a certain naive charm in that sort of ugly-yet-appealing way. A big scripty W with wavy lines and polka dot bubbles. If it were a shirt, I would wear it.

Mr. Sipp
Wow! An unprecedented sweep of all categories!! This was good stuff. Delicious and uncannily Pepper-like. The label design was noteworthy in its simplicity (one might even consider it a bit severe, with its Futura type and geometric design). I really liked its lack of ugly fonts, goofy bubbles, distracting backgrounds, and extraneous ornamentation. Other people thought the design was perhaps more appropriate to "a can of motor oil," "Borax," or "cheap beer." And what a great name! The extra P at the end really makes it. Although the store brand itself is called "Smart and Final" which sounds vaguely threatening and yet exciting.

  Gordon Merrick (sporting less facial hair than in past Pepper events) (which is a good thing) and Heath.

Pibb Xtra
Everyone was kinda wondering what made this more Xtra than regular Mr. Pibb. Unfortunately, Mr. Pibb is not available in this area, so we could not compare them side by side. It was yummy, anyway. Many people commented on the "zing." And Heather enjoyed the funny WWF-inspired label design.

Real Dr.
"Shaving cream and tabasco sauce," "burnt cork or charcoal briquettes," and "rotten vegetables and smelly magic marker." Although this didn't actually do too badly in the taste category. Bill and the Duke both really liked the bubbles on the label, although Annie claims that she actually thought of the bubbles first. At least there wasn't a zebra on the label, though. That would have been crossing the line.

  The Duke offered up his international Dr Pepper selections.

British Dr Pepper
This one came in an adorable mini-sized can. Cute! But wow, this sure tastes different from American Pepper. According to the label, it is a "fruit flavoured" soda. It's really pruney. The Duke also detected currants and blueberries. And Meaghan thought it tasted purple.

Dutch Dr Pepper
The cool part about this one was the Dutch on the label. What a crazy language! The label explains it as containing "plant extracts." Bizarre. Gordon Merrick thought maybe they used canal water in it. But I think he meant it as a compliment.

Japanese Dr Pepper
There's not much Dr Pepper to be found over there, but I did come across it in one vending machine in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the can sprung a leak, so we did not get to taste it. This can had the Pepper logo with little katakana translation underneath, and the the other side featured an illustration of a sassy blue-haired gaijin girl who seemed to be about to take off her shirt. Which people generally seemed to like. I would be more into it if it looked more anime, but I guess the whole point is that they wanted it to look American.

  Swedie looks almost normal-size next to the little teeny can!

Anyway, that concludes the 2002 event. Maybe if this thing makes it onto TV, i'll be able to post some video here. In the meantime, if you'd like to share any of your own regional contributions for next year, E-mail me at liz@freezepop.net.

  Miss Lunarkitty looks like a cute flapper doll in this picture. Craig and Heather seem to be preoccupied with something outside my window.