Flashback: The Sad Story of Mr. Pibb and Pibb Xtra

Mr. Pibb, my precious.If I were to subtitle this post, it would be: “Why I have a 12-year-old unopened can of Mr. Pibb in my refrigerator.” Because I do.

Let’s go back to the late 90s-early 2000, when I was in college, pulling all-nighters on ambitious art projects and downing inordinate amounts of caffeine. Mr. Pibb (often styled as Mr. PiBB) was my savior. My soft drink of choice. Until 2001, when Coca-Cola reformulated the drink and replaced my beloved original with Pibb Xtra.

It is branded as a “bolder” version of the original Mr. Pibb. Most claim it to be spicer, possibly having added cinnamon. It was rumored that Pibb Xtra contained additional caffeine as well, but that isn’t true. And some people say it is exactly the same (it’s not). I gave Xtra a shot, but didn’t like it as well. At all. When I realized then, over a decade ago, that the original wasn’t coming back, I hoarded cases while they lingered in stores and drank it sparingly. When that was nearly gone, I left the one unopened can you see above — a reminder, a memorial, if you will — in my refrigerator. And it goes where I go.

pibbxtra-drpepperTo this day, Pibb Xtra is still the Dr. Pepper of the Coke world, with the original Mr. Pibb nowhere to be found. I’m not alone in my sadness over the loss. There’s even an entire American Dad episode about it. Details of its history and demise are often mentioned on wikis and message boards. SodaFinder.com even has some available — each can is $24.95.

Eventually, I traveled over to the Dr. Pepper camp, and it’s been my love ever since. Some often say that Pibb Xtra and Dr. Pepper taste the same, but they really do not, and of the two, I think Dr. Pepper is superior. And, if I’m only given a choice of Coca-Cola products, I get Coke, not Pibb Xtra. I might have a grudge.


The little leading lady at The Plain Cheese. Read the About for more. My fav snacks are Doritos, Red Vines, Reese's, Sour Patch Kids, Popcorn, Oreos, Sprees, Nachos...

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59 Responses

  1. Hunter-M3 says:

    I am a huge fan of Pibb Xtra. It has the edge on Dr. Pepper in my opinion because I like the added cinnamon. However, I can’t really compare it to the old version because, although I remember having the old version, I don’t really remember how it tasted compared to the new one,

  2. Jaime Haney says:

    I’ve got a funny story about Mr. Pibb. Back in the day, it was my drink of choice. Way way back. Mr. Pibb and a Zero bar or a Clark bar… hey it was before I discovered the awesomeness of Snicker Bars. I think my mom secretly kept me from knowing how good they were because they were her favorites, but I digress… Go with me back to about 1976-77 or maybe ’78… it’s winter in Evansville and there was a blizzard. Me and my family lived in Executive Manor apartments and my dad talked me into trudging through the thigh high snow to buy him some cokes and I got a Mr. Pibb. I totally did it. Mom wrapped my legs and feet in bread bags for the trip to the coke machine a few apartment buildings away. They were probably about a quarter each back then for a can.

  3. Jaime Haney says:

    Oh and I think it took me about an hour to walk there and back in the snow dressed like an eskimo!

  4. T says:

    I actually prefer Pibb Xtra over Dr. Pepper but I think the original Mr. Pibb was better than the Xtra as well. My love for Mr. Pibb started at Silver Dollar City, my husband bought some warm cinnamon pecans and he went to get a soda for us while I waited on a bench. When he brought it back and I took a sip, I was like “OMG this is the best Dr. Pepper I’ve ever had!” He laughed and said it was Pibb Xtra. Been hooked ever since. It tastes great with warm cinnamon pecans by the way lol.

    • Donna says:

      Love Silver Dollar City. Went every year with the kids. Sadly we move away. Still love the Pibb. Both of them

    • Elijah says:

      It’s so cool that your love for Mr Pibb started at Silver Dollar City! I associate Pibb with Silver Dollar City myself because I remember drinking it there every summer and then being shocked when Pibb Extra replaced Mr Pibb during my annual field trip there.

  5. Who Cares says:

    You Pibb Xtra lovers sadden me!

    Don’t you realize that the only reason a company would switch and later eliminate an original formula is for economics alone. The heavily marketed and extra modern fake PX wasn’t selling well enough, fast enough, so they just dropped the original after “introducing” it at fast food joints and convenience stores (which often were “out” of the original before the final takedown.) I don’t know which ingredient made it so expensive, or how much cheaper or how many more excito-toxins PX contain, but that stuff is SWILL.

    I am supposed to be polite and say to each their own, except their your own eliminated MY own.

    My own take in the flavor differences between Dr. Pepper are that Dr. P has the high, sugar sweetness of a Pepsi type drink with flavors, and original Mr. Pibb had the acidic bite and burn of Coca Cola Classic with the deeper flavors. Real stuff costs, man. I drink Dr. P because I have to, but hold out a little hope that they will bring it back for us old timers, even if only for a little while…


    –Someone who crossed a state line for one last glass bottle of Mr. Pibb

  6. T says:

    I absolutely love Mr Pibb.. Getting so hard to find.. Theres a few places I can get my hands on some but not often. Found bottles at Subway and even office depot. We drive 3 hours to buy a 12 pack!

  7. Melissa says:

    I’ve always liked both Mr. Pibb and Pibb Xtra over Dr. Pepper, and both of those over any other soft drink, although Mt. Dew has grown on me and now I like it too. I always get excited when a restaurant says they have Dr. Pepper but when I taste it I know it is Pibb and so much better! I love that you are holding on to that one last can. Maybe they will bring it back some day, we can hope 🙂

  8. Kathy says:

    Dear Lord how I appreciate this feeling you have! I am constantly complaining about the difference between Mr. Pibb (yes, I will always call it that) and Dr. Pepper (a doctor in which field exactly?) and no one believes me, the bastards! I want my Mr. Pibb back – hell, even McDonald’s stopped carrying my beloved Pibb and have converted to “Dr.” Pepper!! But wait, I traveled to Washington several times, and living in the whorish state of California I have to travel through Oregon and guess what I was not able to find at all in Oregon? Yup, no Mr. Pibb … WTF?? I will continue my struggle and be thankful that at least WalMart still carries my favorite drink! Kudos to you for holding out with that one can – I don’t know how you do it without cracking it open. Admit it, you snuggle with that can of Pibb at night sometimes don’t you? I know I would!

  9. David says:

    With the resurgence of retro beverages…Surge and Crystal Pepsi, it’s a good time for Coke to bring back Mr. Pibb.

  10. randy c. says:

    Original Mr Pibb all the way! Bring it back Coke!

  11. Daniel Hinton says:

    Mr. Pibb was so good, I have found the closest equivalent to be Dr. Thunder which is Walmart’s store brand. I don’t recommend anything else sold there.

  12. paul tidwell says:

    Personally my family knew that’s what I drank but they knew that I could BARELY tell Dr Pepper apart from Mr Pibb in the Era but everrrr so slightly favored Mr pibb.

    Now if I’m at a restaurant due to the fact that I have a vendetta against anticompetitve contracts that businesses sign to ensure that they only sell ONE companies products on premises so a “coke franchise” will only sell coke and a “pepsi’ one will only sell pepsi and I think this kind of thing is bullshit and it needs to stop.

    So when A Business Only has Pibb Xtra I will often lash out by ordering water, or looking around for near by gas stations with one I can buy a Doctor pepper and ask for a cup with ice to pour it in.

    I will -not- Drink Pibb Xtra.

    Do you hear me coke? And businesses? Ever. If i’m truly desperate I’ll take water.

  13. LaMonica Moorer says:

    These people kill me I have highly upset with Coke, dont they know just because you put xtra on a can doesn’t mean it taste better. I miss my old mr. Pibb (put it in your head) can I haven’t had this drink in over 20 years. It saddens me, really really saddens me that people act as if we don’t care. Most companies state we dont have Mr. Pibb but we have dr. Pepper as if that could substitute mr. Pibb I am highly highly upset. I really want to see my Mr Pibb back the (original mr. Pibb) not pibb extra I’ve heard they pay high price money for a can of the old original but I have yet to find it. someone please please contact coke and tell them to recreate the original mr. Pibb.
    Signed a very concerned customer!!!!

  14. Dewayne says:

    Hi , I love pibb zero but I didn’t find it very ofton .a friend said to order it online, its outrageous, did they quit making it? Its 23 bucks for a 12 pack

  15. Teresa K. says:

    About 10-12 years ago, I bought a 20oz bottle of Pibb Xtra. I took about two sips of it and threw it in the trash. That stuff was disgusting. I wish they would bring back the original Mr. Pibb because I preferred that to Dr. Pepper. It was a lot smoother going down. You would think the makers would have both to give people a choice.

  16. Erika says:

    You can still find Mr. Pibb in some restaurants! We were at ESPN zone in Downtown Disney (at Disneyland resort) last week, and I was so excited to be able to order a Mr. Pibb! It was SOOOO good. I made us eat dinner twice there. Lol! I miss it! And hate that you can’t buy it in stores. 🙁 Pibb Xtra is good, but not as good as the original.

  17. xxlagueritaxx says:

    I don’t care. I just want a Pibb. Either is fine with me. I relocated to Chattanooga and I can not find a flipping Pibb, AHHHHHHH!!!!!

  18. Brandy Siniard says:

    I have to travel a good two hours to get my Pibb Xtra or order it online but it’s worth it I love the stuff !

  19. Wesley says:

    My experience with Pibb in general has been somewhat exclusive based on the circumstance that I was born in 1999 which means that I had no idea that Mr. Pibb was ever a thing. However, I’ve had limited access to Pibb in general due to the fact that my family despises the drink. On the rare occasion, I have be able to get Pibb Xtra which appeals to me as an exotic looking flavor of soda. The bold brand name with a wavy red background is quite captivating and unique. I have always been fascinated with the flavor of Pibb Xtra due to it’s scarcity as opposed to the mediocre flavor.

  20. Wendy says:

    Slice, diet slice, and Pepsi light, loved them.

  21. Marilou Kishur says:

    Love me my PIBB!

  22. Marilou Kishur says:

    Does anyone still remember the original can with the variegated sides?

    • Vaff Angool says:

      Variegated means multi-hued and mottled or patchy. You might have meant corrugated or crenelated. I remember those cans fondly and they might be best-described as fluted, ,furrowed, grooved, channeled, or ribbed.

  23. Lacy says:

    I grew up on Mr. Pibb, my high school had a soda machine that dispensed it! :D. But I moved briefly to California in 2001 where you couldn’t get it. When I returned to Texas it had changed. Honestly, I hadn’t had a Pibb in 3 years so I didn’t notice a difference in the taste, I just glug-glug-glug-aaaaahhhhhh! That’s the stuff. Pibb and Pepper are definitely NOT the same. Pibb is a lighter, fruitier taste while Pepper is heavier and always gives me the hiccups (wtf?). You should give Pibb another try now that your tastebuds have forgotten the original, you might come home again.

  24. Mike the rookie says:

    My parents live in Florida and come back in May. I have them “smuggle” a few cases back north every year and save for my Sunday macaroni. Pibb and pasta!

  25. After mrPiBB was so rudely reformulated, Pepsi released a drink called Mr. Green under the Sobe brand that tasted close to PiBB, except for the gritty ginseng taste. That product was discontinued. It wasn’t until after 2010 that Doc360 showed up and was amazingly close (I’d say about 80%) to mrPiBB. (For reference, id say Pibb Xtra is 25% of it’s parent). Unfortunately, WisPak did a reformulation on Doc360. It now has a lot more caffeine and is known as Doc X. The more caffeine does throw the taste off, bit it’s still without a doubt the closest thing out there to original mrPiBB that you can find today.

    And side note, you girls all rock!

  26. Dwight Reynolds says:

    Atmore ala sells it,, i buy it all the time

  27. Lisa says:

    I miss Mr Pibb too.

  28. Sheri Davis says:

    Yes. I too really miss the original Mr . pibb . The pibb x-tra is not the same nor as good as the original regular mr pibb. It’s too bad the good products they get rid of too early .

  29. Mike says:

    They dropped the “Mr.” because it is sexist. LOL

  30. Edward says:

    I miss Mr. Pibb “Put it in your head” version. Pibb Xtra is good but not my fave

  31. Fairportfan says:

    When Mr Pibb hit the market, back in the 70s, it was not available in Atlanta, Coca Cola’s home town, because the local bottlers {bottlers were franchised rather than owned by the company back then} had the Dr Pepper franchise, and he tasted Pibb, considered it a grossly inferior imitation Dr Pepper, knew Pibb would be a money-loser and refused to give up his Dr Pepper franchise before the license expired…

  32. Philip Barry says:

    I’ve grown up w Pibb Xtra and have been fascinated by the brand my whole life. I always wish I could’ve tried a Mr. Pibb! Coke would make millions if they brought it back for a limited release! I have so many good memories drinking Xtra but yeah I’ve died to taste Mr. Pibb, I’ve collected Pibb memorabilia too

  33. Flip says:

    I’ve grown up w Pibb Xtra my whole life, have so many fond memories of such but I’ve always wished I could’ve tasted Mr. Pibb. They would make so much money if they did a limited release of it!!!!! Then it could be permanent. I’ve collected so much memorabilia over the years, and I wanna taste Mr. Pibb really badly! I had Pibb Zero in Texas and it was nice as well!

  34. Cindy Canter says:

    Holy Hanna batman..i had no clue they had discontinued my Mr PiBB….didnt even realize that it had changed to Pibb Xtra…jst thought it was a marketing ploy…well guess have to buy plane ticket an fly to Japan cuz thats only place you will ever see them…Why…Why..Why???? Im gonna have to pay closer attention to American dad…i didnt take that episode as really being true…oh mother of pearl..im sad now…jst ruined what lil enjoyment i recieved from some say soda i say pop….

  35. Curtis says:

    I come back to this article every now and then… Just to pay respects, and reminisce about my first time tasting MrPibb. (It was at a chuck e cheese birthday party. Knew it was my favorite immediately.) Today though, I’m back to say that what folks have said about the soda, Doc X is true; it does taste alot like classic MrPibb. It’s not quite perfect, but it’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to tasting classic Pibb again. I sometimes mix Doc X and Doc X Zero. As for why, well, it’s been so long… Mixing the two and drinking them takes me back to vivid memories of when I drank MrPibb… I dunno if memory is wrong or hazy… But it feels closer… Like, for me, Doc X has the smooth, cherry pepper flavor that I think I remember. And Doc X Zero has the bold, crisp, refreshing taste that I
    think I remember. My memory may be wrong, but either way, it’s the closest thing I’ve ever tasted to classic MrPibb.

  36. M says:

    Surrounded by PibbX here in Florida, and I don’t drink a drop of it. Mr. Pibb was my favorite soda back in the day, and I did not like the taste of the change, so I have just been quietly sipping my Dr. Pepper for two decades now, longing for the days of regular old Mr. Pibb. sigh.

  37. Snowielady says:

    I feel the same way about Coke Life, which was discontinued in 2020. It has the same great taste as regular Coke but with one third the calories and it wasn’t given a fighting chance. I don’t know why the Coca Cola Company does this. I feel like, why try a new product from Coca Cola only to love it since they are eventually going to discontinue it, and I don’t want to be disappointed again.

  38. Cindy says:

    When I was pregnant back in 99 and 2000, Mr. Pibb was one of the only things that I could keep down. At the time that Pibb Extra was coming out I worked next-door to the Coca-Cola plant. I called them asking why I was not able to find Mr. Pibb all of a sudden and they said because they phased it out in order to bring about Pibb Extra. They said they were doing so to go after the Dr. Pepper market. I told them if I wanted Dr. Pepper I would be drinking it and not Mr. Pibb. I also asked them if they remembered the New Coke fiasco. Obviously, it did not get me anywhere.

  39. Edward says:

    There’s a Coca Cola freestyle fountain machine in a pizza place by my company that had the original Mr. Pibb (as well as the heinous anus, Pibb Xtra). It even had the little Pibb guys head in the little icon. And the best part was that It taste just like how I remembered. The only way I can describe my joy is that I was happier then a 12 year old boy that received a Lisa Ann flesh light and 2 gallons of lube on Christmas morning. I would go there daily during the work week, sometimes twice a day (during lunch and after work) just to sit and drink copious amounts of this black gold. I even had a delightful conversation with a rather portly man about Mr. Pibb that was quite informative (I tell you, this guy was the Yuval Noah Harari of Mr. Pibb, a historian, if you will.) But one day, upon purchasing my refillable 32oz goblet for which holds one of the holy grails of soft drinks for drinking pleasure, the Mr. Pibb icon was black and white with a big “unavailable” sign on it while Pibb xtra was still available. Days turned into damn near 3 weeks and I finally asked the owner what the deal was with Mr. Pibb being unavailable. He told me that the Coca Cola vendor took it off their order list as it was DISCONTINUED!!!! He even told me that other customers had been coming in on a daily for this rare elixir and had also complained about the unavailability. WTF Coca Cola!!! It was better off dead then being introduced like the 2nd coming of Christ, only to be blown up with Russia’s RS-28 Sarmat “Satan 2” missile. What the hell were they thinking?!? What was the brainstorming behind this blunder back at the Coca Cola offices??? “Let’s cock tease the consumer with the original Mr. Pibb, then yank it right back out of there gullets with a swift knifehand strike to the esophagus” f you Coca Cola. I’m a laid back kind of guy with a insatiable appetite for medicinal grade marijuana and rare treats but this genuinely got my blood piping hot. There’s ultra rare soft drinks out in the wild that can be tracked down like Tahitian Treat and Jolt cola (although hoods and barrios that usually carry these soft drinks require a bullet proof vest and some cajones) Mr. pibb was gone and I had learned how to live life after my favorite drink had gone to that great big Mr. Pibb factory in the sky. I still go here and there to the dimly lit pizza place by my company in hopes of a Mr. Pibb resurrection but the icon isn’t even an option anymore so it’s looking like it was a one off and bounced out like a queef in the wind. I have hopes that Coca Cola will serve the small but loyal cult of original recipe Pibb consumers what we want but it looks like Pibb Xtra is here to stay and I do t like it.

  40. Tracy says:

    On Amazon, you can buy twelve packs for $35.00 … Also, 2 liter bottles are available. It makes me sick that Coke is endlessly pushed at us, (yuck, btw) but, one little soda can’t happen,, as a present to loyal,(ie; fanatical) consumers. Say, In limited production, once a year, Guaranteed it would sell out, fast. Tho it wouldn’t be worth their investment, WHO CARES?!!? GIMME PIBB, DAMMITT ! … Ahem… excuse me. I think it’s time Coke admitted they screwed up, and give us back our Pibb PERIOD. ???

  41. period says:

    I too loved the original mr. pibb but i was only in grade school, I was just watching the american dad episode you were speaking of. I think it may be regional because i think in some foreign countries they still sell mr. pibb, but yes I too wish to have the old pibb back.

  42. J Michael Scheler says:

    There is and was only one Pibb and it will never be extra. Pibb had a bite that extra can’t.. . There is only one Extra and it will never be a Pepper. Pepper has a bite that extra cant.. . Bring back Me. Pibb! Until then, I’m a Pepper. Former member of the “‘Next’ Generation”. And fondly remember Mt. Dew when it was still being made with fruit juice pulp

  43. FLgurl says:

    Ive loved Pibb for years. I “scored” some 20 ozs at Publix here in Florida a few wks ago. Not sure what happened but all 3 of the 6 packs were flat. I ended up pouring them out. The cans were fine but the bottles were horrible. Very aggravating. Walmart doesnt have them anymore but always has an overflow of Fanta. Get the hint and bring Pibb back.

  44. Paddy says:

    Back in 1977 my mom put 10-year-old me into a summer piano program at Rollins College in Florida. ‘Cause, you know, she wanted me to play piano and I didn’t get a vote. The class wasn’t a welcoming environment for me. But, after class we were allowed to use the piano practice rooms which were totally soundproofed. There was a Mr. Pibb branded soda machine going into the building with the practice rooms. So, I daily got a Mr. Pibb and took it with me to a room that was designed for sensory deprivation, so pianists could focus completely on playing. I loved just being in those ultra-quiet rooms with my Mr. Pibb. Mr. Pibb became my ultimate comfort drink. Every sip mentally takes me to a quiet room painted in a neutral color. What I wouldn’t know until I was 25 is that I’m autistic. Mr. Pibb helped get me through a childhood with the challenges of undetected autism.

  45. Gregory says:

    Orig mr pibb was simply the. Very bet non cola fruty light refreshing the best i would buy 5000 cans no problem if i could and many others would as well best drink ive ever i ever had period

  46. michael plewak says:

    mountain dew had a seasonal “dark berry” that tasted like Pibb.

  1. July 28, 2014

    […] announced that they had been discontinued due to “low sales volume.” Aargh! It’s Mr. Pibb and Jell-O Pudding Pops all over again. Companies seem to love taking away my favorite treats. I […]

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