DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was wondering if you or any of your column’s readers would know where I could get Pibb soda locally? It was formerly known as “Mr. Pibb” and is owned by the Coca-Cola Co.
It is similar to Dr. Pepper, but I prefer Pibb. I have checked the local stores without any success. It can be purchased online (Amazon, etc.) but at a hefty premium price. I have had family and acquaintances purchase some while traveling, but with air travel rules regarding fluids it is becoming more difficult.
From what scattered information I found online, it is not distributed in the northeastern part of the country. A relatable situation would be a Moxie soda drinker in Texas. Pibb soda was available locally in the 1990s, but was discontinued at some point.
It was recently advertised locally in the Family Dollar weekly circular, but the stores employees were not familiar with it, and were of little assistance. There was no disclaimer in the ad stating the product might not be available in all areas.
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you. — Shawn R., Lewiston
ANSWER: For readers who are unfamiliar with this soda, here is an explanation culled from Wikipedia and other sources:
Introduced as Peppo and then Dr. Pibb to compete against Dr Pepper, the name was changed to Mr. Pibb after Dr Pepper sued the Coca-Cola Co. for trademark infringement.
Mr. Pibb was reformulated in 1980 (“New Taste”) and in 2001, when cinnamon flavor was added and the name was changed to Pibb Xtra added. Today Pibb Xtra is labeled as “artificially flavored spicy cherry soda.”
In 2011, Pibb Xtra expanded to two new flavors: Pibb Xtra Cherry and Pibb Xtra Cherry-Vanilla. Both of these new flavors were also released for Pibb Zero.
A 12-ounce serving of Pibb Xtra contains 140 calories, all of which are from sugar, and 42 mg of sodium.
Sun Spots found a number of websites dedicated to favorite sodas now discontinued and forgotten by many but longed for by others. Many of these soda preferences are regional.
Sun Spots was chatting with a salesman in the grocery one day, and he noted that some regions are Pepsi areas, while others lean more to Coke. (She can’t swear to it, but she thinks he said Pepsi is more popular in her store.)
In Scotland the locals have a passion for a neon orange soda they call “the brew.” The drink is Irn Bru (pronounced “iron brew”). As NPR noted, “You can find it from McDonald’s to corner stores and pubs across Scotland. It is such a powerful force that it may even outsell Coca-Cola here — making it one of the few places on the globe where Coke isn’t the leading brand.”
As for Shawn’s problem, Sun Spots only has a couple of suggestions. He could try using social media (post his request on Facebook; there are a couple of pages named Pibb) to find someone who is driving to Maine from a place where Pibb Xtra is available. He might even find someone who would like to trade Moxie for Pibb.
He might also invest in one of the new home soda fountains. That way he would just have to order the flavoring, which would greatly reduce the bulk and thus shipping costs.
As for the Food City advertisement, Sun Spots saw the same phenomena online. Target and Walmart both advertised Pibb, but when you click on the link, it says they won’t sell it online and it’s not available in local stores.
Sun Spots feels for Shawn. Her favorite soda (PepsiONE) was recently discontinued. But after a few weeks she adjusted to a different flavor. And she reduced the quantity she was drinking considerably!
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I want to thank each and every one of you who answered my request for magazines that I deliver to various nursing homes. God willing, I will do this again next year. God bless you all and happy holidays. — V., Auburn, 207-784-3803
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.