What Is Mr. Pibb?

Everyone knows the old story that Mr. Pibb was Dr Pepper’s good-for-nothing little brother who dropped out of school just as Pepper was pursuing his PHD. Then Pibb just dropped off the face of the earth only to occasionally resurface as a shell of his former self, calling himself Pibb Xtra. Well, forget everything you thought you knew, because that story is mostly untrue! Let’s honor Mr. Pibb by learning more about him. What is Mr. Pibb? Who owns Mr. Pibb? Why is Mr. Pibb so hard to find? Let’s get Pibby with it!

What is Mr. Pibb? Who owns Mr. Pibb? 

Mr. Pibb is (or was) a Coke product. It was a spiced soda that was invented to be Coca-Cola’s answer to Dr Pepper. By the time the cola wars in the 1970s rolled in, Coca-Cola was hellbent on ending the good doctor’s spiced soda domination, so they launched Mr. Pibb in 1972. It was first test marketed right in Dr Pepper’s backyard of Waco, Texas. Pibb was originally called Peppo, but that was too much for the Dr Pepper team, so they sued Coke. Coke changed the name to Mr. Pibb and continued to push its new pepper soda. Coke had better copy editors than Dr. Pepper as Mr. Pibb was punctuated correctly and Dr Pepper remained period-less. 

As tasty as Mr. Pibb was, it never brushed off its inferiority complex next to Dr Pepper. While Pibb tried to be its own thing, it couldn’t escape its clone status. Their color pattern was always pretty close. Both Dr Pepper and Mr. Pibb had caffeine, They both tasted similar, but just different enough. And, despite its punctuation prowess, Mr. Pibb ended its run in 2001, and was replaced by Pibb Xtra. 

What does Mr. Pibb taste like? What flavor is Mr. Pibb? 

Mr. Pibb had a slightly spicy cherry flavor, with hints of caramel. The rumors were always that Mr. Pibb and/or Dr. Pepper contained prune juice, but that was never true. Pibb Xtra was marketed as having a spicier cherry flavor, most likely from extra cinnamon in the ingredients. 

Why is Mr. Pibb so hard to find?

Because they don’t make it anymore! That said, you can find unopened Mr. Pibb cans on auction sites for over $100. What about Pibb Xtra? Can you still buy that? Pibb Xtra is on some grocery store shelves and in some of those Coke freestyle machines, but it’s not exactly a common drink these days. 

In fact, you can’t even find it at McDonald’s, which always had a deal to carry Coke products. In 2009, the Golden Arches dumped Pibb Xtra in favor of Dr Pepper. Truly, at this point, the doctor had won. Also, Dr Pepper has different bottling deals across the country. In some states, Dr Pepper is bottled by Pepsi and in others it’s bottled at Coca-Cola plants. You’re much less likely to find Pibb in states where Coca-Cola distributes Dr Pepper. 

The fall of Pibb is a true tragedy. I always enjoyed Mr. Pibb. He kept it real. Not like that snooty Dr Pepper. You think you’re better than me because you’re a doctor? Well, at least I know how to use correct punctuation. 

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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