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