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Dr Pepper Hits Sweet 125th

Commemorates anniversary with collectible cans, sugar
PLANO, Texas -- Dr Pepper, the oldest major soft drink in America, continues its 125th anniversary celebration with the release of Dr Pepper made with real sugar in six collectible cans, inspired by the brand's history. Consumers can get the 23 flavors of Dr Pepper in this new packaging beginning in early July through early September.

The anniversary cans feature legacy artwork and popular advertising slogans such as "I'm a Pepper" and "10, 2 and 4." In addition, 12-pack cases highlight key moments from the brand's history from its origin at Morrison's Old Corner Drug Store [image-nocss] in Waco, Texas, in 1885, and its introduction at the 1904 World's Fair, to the "I'm a Pepper" advertisements first released in 1977.

"Dr Pepper has evolved for 125 years, thanks to its unique flavor and a fan base that continues to grow," said Dave Fleming, director of marketing for Dr Pepper. "We're honoring the brand's legacy and thanking our fans everywhere for their support by offering something specialcommemorative cans depicting some of the most memorable moments in our history."

Dr Pepper kicked off its anniversary year on the symbolic date of Jan. 25, 2010, when Dr Pepper ad icons David Naughton and Gene Simmons rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Continuing the celebration, the brand launched its Dr Pepper Cherry flavor during Super Bowl XLIV. The ad spot featured Gene Simmons as "Doctor Love" joined by Paul Stanley and their KISS band mates as well as tribute band MiniKISS.

Dr Pepper 125th anniversary product is available in 12-oz. cans with six collectible can designs and 20-oz bottles at retailers nationwide, until supplies last.

The Plano, Texas-based company would not say whether it will try out sugar in other brands such as Canada Dry, 7-Up and A&W Root Beer, added an Associated Press report.

Manufacturers are testing sugar drinks as people's appetite for them increases, as some become concerned about high-fructose corn syrup. Though they are nutritionally almost identical and equally caloric, some consumers believe corn syrup is less healthy than sugar, the news agency said.

They are also racing to come up with natural, no-calorie sweeteners and reformulate their beverages, though they have not been able to apply that to major soft drink brands yet, said the report.

Last summer, PepsiCo Inc. launched real-sugar versions of Pepsi and Mountain Dew, calling them "Throwback" and using old packaging designs. Pepsi Throwback was so popular the company brought it back for a brief time in the winter. It declined to tell AP what the drink's prospects are for the future.

Coca-Cola Co. offers a kosher version of Coke that uses sugar, often available around Passover, added the report. Mexican-made Coca-Cola, which also uses real sugar, can sometimes be found in the United States, and fans pay a higher price for it. One Dr Pepper bottler, Dublin Dr Pepper, has been making the soft drink with sugar since 1891, in the drink's home state of Texas.

More could be coming, AP said. PepsiCo's Sierra Mist line will now be reformulating into a sugar-sweetened version called "Sierra Mist Natural," citing a Beverage Digest report. PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., did not return messages seeking comment, said AP.

Dr Pepper, a brand of Dr Pepper Snapple Group, is the oldest major soft drink in the United States. The brand is available in Regular, Diet, Caffeine Free and Cherry varieties. DPS is a leading producer of flavored soft drinks, marketing Dr Pepper and 50-plus other beverage brands across North America and the Caribbean.

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