Besides Mr. Pibb, there are many other Dr. Pepper imitations, recognizable by their high levels of fructose and blatant use of the title Dr. in their names. They're usually available wherever you can find a supermarket with its own line of generic soda. Examples include Dr. Wells, Dr. K, and my favorite, Dr. Skipper, which you can purchase at your local Safeway.

Ah, you must not forget about Dr. Thunder, which can also be found at many fine Wal-Marts in the 25-cent soda machine, which is possibly the best thing ever invented by the human race. It is sold along with my most-favoritest Mountain Dew imitation, Mountain Lightning.

To support the oft-made claim that Carnegie Mellon University students have no lives whatsoever, there is a directory of Dr. Pepper imitations, and their ratings (on a scale from one to five Dr. Pepper cans) at http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/mpreston/main.html. Among the highlights not already mentioned here: the five-can-rated Dr. Riffic (get it?) from Eckerd, and the less-than-perfect Mr. aahh from Giant Eagle and Mr. Ahhh! by World Brands.

The problem Coca-Cola has with Mr. Pibb is that many of their local bottlers have contracts with the Dr Pepper/Seven Up company to bottle and distribute Dr Pepper in a certain region; they will, therefore, not have anything to do with Mr. Pibb.

While Coke can create incentives to get the bottlers to handle Mr. Pibb instead of Dr Pepper, there are apparently antitrust concerns if they were to go beyond that and issue an ultimatum. Many of the bottlers are actually owned by a Coke subsidiary, but they theoretically operate independently and they don't want to appear to be squeezing the little guy out by dropping Dr Pepper (now owned by Cadbury Schweppes, so it's not really that little).

In some places, including Los Angeles, while you can't find Mr. Pibb in bottles, you can sometimes find it in soda fountains that aren't serviced by the local bottler.

The identical situation, by the way, exists with Squirt and Citra: Citra is Coke's imitation of Dr Pepper/Seven Up's Squirt, and it's only available in areas where the Coke bottler doesn't distribute Squirt.

In Canada (or at least in Ontario) one can buy Dr. Smooth. Dr. Smooth is made by President's Choice.

The superior Dr Pepper clone absolutely has to be Patriot's Choice brand Dr Blast. As far as I can taste, it is exactly like Dr Pepper, and you can also get it for a cool 25 cents a can. Unfortunately, just about the only place you can find these is at Navy Exchange, or NEX stores, which will require you to go on board a naval air station, or some other jointly run US military base. Furthermore, you can't typically shop at NEX unless you're in the Navy itself -- so getting 12-ounce cans out of the vending machines is pretty much all you'll be able to do. But, if you do have access to the NEX store and are a total Dr Pepper junkie, I would highly suggest trying to grab as much of this wonderful beverage as your pocketbook allows.

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