Review: Dr Pepper Cherry


The folks at Dr Pepper Snapple Group — formerly known as Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages and Dr Pepper/Seven Up and who knows how many other names — recently announced the latest Dr Pepper line extension, Dr Pepper Cherry.

Dr Pepper Cherry

Note that the name is officially Dr Pepper Cherry, not Cherry Dr Pepper. Granted, everyone in the universe will call it by that more practical name. But at least some branding guy got paid for the awkward phrase!

Technically, this would be the 5th flavor extension of the Dr Pepper brand, following up 2002's short-lived Red Fusion, 2005's Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper (later renamed/redesigned as Dr Pepper Cherry Vanilla), 2006's Dr Pepper Berries & Cream, and 2007's Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper.

When you think about possible line extensions for Dr Pepper, cherry probably doesn't come to mind. I mean, the regular version of the drink already has a bit of a cherry flavor to it. Beyond that, the Dr already has a Dr Pepper flavor, of which the diet version sells rather well. Berries & Cream seemed to crash and burn. In fact, you have to go back to the first spinoff, Red Fusion, to revisit the pure cherry approach. Back then, the official press release described Red Fusion (or Red Fusion by Dr Pepper) as "sporting an alluring red color and use of a variety of fruit flavors, including the basic flavor profile of Dr Pepper." Unfortunately, this drink actually didn't taste that much different from regular Dr Pepper. The cherry/berry flavor was far too weak, and other than the red color, it was hard to differentiate the beverage. It died shortly thereafter.

Not giving up, the folks at Dr Pepper seem to be taking a different approach with this new Cherry variety. While some may ask "didn't Dr Pepper already taste like cherry", the marketing folks seem to be responding by emphasizing the "amazingly smooth" taste of the drink. Given that regular Dr Pepper has more of a bite, this contrast alone may be appealing enough for folks to give this flavor a try. And I must attest, this is a very good flavor!

Dr Pepper Cherry commercial
(Source: KissOnFire.net)

Upon opening the bottle, you are greeted with the traditionally-expected Dr Pepper scent. However, this is supplemented with some fruity smells, hinting at the cherry you are about to experience. The color is cola-dark, but there's a slight reddish tint that is pretty visible if you are viewing the bottle with sunlight in the background. As advertised, the drink is Dr Pepper, but with a blended cherry flavor that really is smooth. Whereas Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper relied on the vanilla flavoring to keep the flavor creamy and less edgy, here the cherry is the star. It's still familiar Dr Pepper, but less harsh and aggressive.

The inclusion of cherry seems to make the drink sweeter, while providing quite a pleasant aftertaste, despite the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as the sweetener. BevReview Twitter follower Will Sigmon commented that Cherry has "the sharpness of the fizzy Dr. Pepper flavor, with a cherry twist aftertaste. It's almost like a cherry Tootsie Pop flavor." The announcement press release noted that this "exciting new blend combines the great taste of Dr Pepper with the perfect amount of cherry flavor." I think they flavor scientists got this one right.

I also really like the packaging for this drink. You'll note with the introduction of Dr Pepper Berries & Cream in 2006, the entire Dr Pepper line got a much needed logo/design facelift, with the brand name sitting in an oval and the flavor hanging below in a smaller oval. This design was rolled out to the flagship flavor and also prompted a redesign of Cherry Vanilla. Well, for Dr Pepper Cherry, while they followed the general format, they broke from the mold to really showcase this flavor.

Dr Pepper Cherry
(Source: DrPepper.com)

The design follows the "cherry breakout" effect first introduced with Diet Cherry Chocolate Dr Pepper. The Dr Pepper logo features a large, superimposed "Cherry" on the lower-right corner, with everything sitting above pretty obvious illustrations of cherries. The tagline "Amazingly Smooth" sits above the logo, while elsewhere on the label, you'll find the phrase "It's so amazingly smooth, you have to try it to believe it." Notably, the primary color is not red, but black, with red highlights. It's very similar in approach to Coca-Cola Cherry Zero, in fact. The black/red color scheme contrasts nicely against the rest of the Dr Pepper lineup, setting it apart enough to catch you eye.

A full ingredient list is as follows:

Dr Pepper Cherry
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup and 2% or less of: caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate (preservative), citric acid, phosphoric acid, caffeine, malic acid, sodium phosphate, Red 40

An 8 oz. serving is 110 calories, meaning that if you drink the commonly available 20 oz. bottle, you'll be pushing roughly 260 calories. At the time of this writing, it's unknown how much caffeine is in this drink.

For those of you worried about the future of Dr Pepper Cherry Vanilla, I spoke with someone at Dr Pepper Snapple Group corporate affairs about the future of that flavor. The commented that "Cherry Vanilla will be sticking around." That's good news, because Cherry Vanilla is also a solid flavor.

Overall, I'm very impressed with the flavor in Dr Pepper Cherry. While at first I mocked the idea, the flavor won me over. It lives up to the claims of being smooth, while not forgetting the unique flavor heritage of Dr Pepper. I hope this is a flavor extension that stands the test of time. Hopefully, the marketplace responds appropriately.

Comments

  1. Dr. Pepper is by far my favorite cola. Really looking forward to this, though I must admit the Cherry Vanilla variety appeals to me more; I never really got to experience it beyond a free sample back when it first came out. Wikipedia says: "Early 2009 it appears Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper has been replaced with Cherry Dr Pepper." Is this true? If so, why is it still prominently featured on their Web site? Really hoping Cherry and its big brother CV can peacefully coexist…

  2. Hugh Jarsole says:

    Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper has disappeared from our store shelves in Dallas. I fear we shall never see the like.

  3. Harry Potter says:

    Whats the point? Dr.Pepper already has a cherry flavor in it. I'm waiting for Coca Cola Cola to come out.

  4. Im confused i tasted the new Dr. Pepper Cherry and it tastes kind of the same, not much different. Dr. Pepper is already a cherry cola anyway. I guess it was time for a change? I guess it tasets a little bit better!

  5. Really, Dr Pepper markets itself as a pepper-flavored soft drink, not a cola. The flavor itself wasn't designed to taste specifically like cherry. But accentuating the cherry flavor and making the drink come off as a bit smoother. In my opinion, that warrants enough of a change to bring out a new flavor.

    It's a good advertising technique, too- the people who dropped in on the Dr to try this will likely try the original again if they like this, especially after it's gone. They'll find the taste is similar, and may continue to buy the drink.

    All that being said, does anyone else want the Cherry Chocolate version to be back? From the couple bottles I tried, it also tasted like a cherry Tootsie Pop… only with the Tootsie Roll center in it this time.

  6. It tastes like Robittusen with sugar to me. Disgusting, oh and the coloring that they add to it stains like nothing on this earth. Don't believe me? Leave a but of it on a glass and wait for a few hours. It stains it until it leaves a nice crust. What the heck are we drinking??

  7. DCVDP Fanatic says:

    DCVDP is unavailable in the Bay Area from the normal bottlers in favor of Diet Cherry DP as of this writing.
    I am working on getting the information on syrup concentrate shipments to licensees (smaller bottlers often take on abandoned products to serve fanatics — think Tab!) so perhaps others who are searching in vain will have luck that way.
    Call Dr. Pepper corporate and ask them for this information.
    Cheers!

  8. Robert Tsing says:

    I disagree with lynx, the flavor of this doesn't taste like cough medicine. It tastes more like watered down Dr. Pepper. HOWEVER, with that being said, I think it does taste pretty darn good, and the 2 bottles I've gone through today prove that.

    It does taste cherry-like, but it's not as good IMO as Coca Cola Cherry.

  9. Not that crazy about the Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry flavor. I REALLY miss the Cherry-Vanilla! May have to change my drink of choice back to Diet Coke. Bummer.

  10. I believe I was the only person who enjoyed (and misses) Red Fusion. I'm hoping Dr. Pepper Cherry is sufficently Red Fusion-esque.

  11. A friend brought several bottles of Cheerwine up from Georgia when he moved here to Colorado, so I've been drinking that lately. The other night I was given a glass of Dr. Pepper Cherry and never realized it wasn't Cheerwine. (Google Cheerwine to find out more about it, but I'd describe it as a cherry cola that's much more cherry than it is cola.)

    I wouldn't sat that the new Dr. Pepper flavor is -exactly- the same as Cheerwine, but I bet many people couldn't taste much difference. I'm also not saying that Dr. Pepper specifically tried to copy Cheerwine, but I feel certain it was an inspiration for the flavor.

  12. ShortyBoo says:

    I still have never seen this in any local stores. I really wanted to try it, but for some reason my local Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, Jewel, and every other store I've checked at don't have it.

  13. Wal-mart has some and I'm going to get some RIGHT NOW!!!

    ^_^

  14. I Love it. Its the best ever… Ive done had 3 cases. I drink it ever day. I was so wanting something different. I said there's something so different about this…. then I seen it on the can more SMOOTH taste…. Whoa…. it really does. I drink the Diet and it don't taste like cherry srp. Its perfect I would not change a thing.
    I am sick of drinking coke cola at every restaurant …….give us a break. We WAnt CHANGE……
    Diet Dr pepper cherry flavored all the time now…….

  15. I was informed this week through an email to the Dr. Pepper website that it's up to the bottlers to continue making Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper and that some bottlers will still make the Diet version, but it sounds like most are replacing it with the new Dr. Pepper Cherry product. This was extremely disappointing since the new stuff tastes way too sweet and like another comment above said "like cough syrup." Regular Caffiene Free Dr. Pepper was my favorite and that is no longer available in my area. Now when I taste regular Dr. Pepper it pales in comparison to the Cherry Vanilla. I guess I'll be looking for a new favorite beverage outside the Dr. Pepper lineup.

  16. I am also a BIG fan of Diet Dr. Pepper cherry vanilla!! When I couldn't find it in South Florida…I was told by Dr. Pepper that only certain areas would stock that flavoring. I just travelled over 600 miles to find my Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla in a Wal-mart in Sumter SC…Wal-mart website said it was in-stock….BUT, alas, it was not!! :-( It is NOWHERE to be found…I guess I too will have to settle for Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry but will complain upon each swollow!

  17. I love diet dr.pepper cherry . not a fan off diet drpepper cherry vanilla . it is amazingly smooth.

  18. I LOVE Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Why did they decide to quit making this one? It was the favorite of people who never even consider drinking diet drinks – even health nuts like my sister and I (who only drink water) LOVED this particular diet soda. I know sodas are bad for you, especially the diet ones (cancerous aspartame), but I still liked DCVDP for a change from water.

  19. This is the BEST EVER!! I wish they would do more marketing though. I seemed to be having a harder and harder time finding it at stores these days. They ordered it, upon my request, in the gift shop where I work, and of course I hoped it would really catch on. They told me today that their supplier was no longer carrying Dr. Pepper Cherry! This stuff is just too good to go away!!
    Something must be done!!

  20. Love tha Dr. Cherry style! Gotta be in a plastic bottle, it comes out with too much bite in a can!

  21. Cassandra says:

    I love Dr. Pepper so much. If they took out Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla I'd feel so sad. I tasted the Cherry Dr. Pepper and it tastes ok but I like the bite like a string fizz the Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla has. I'd give it 3 out of 5. Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla being sweet soda heaven.

  22. I am very upset that diet Dr. Pepper with cherry vanilla has been taken off the market! It is unfair that so many people enjoyed the drink so much. There are not alot of things that we can enjoy right now with high gas prices and such. Is it to much to be able to enjoy a simple drink?

  23. Where can I find it in the Pacific Northwest? It is tough to have a product succeed if you can't buy it to try it.

  24. Cheddarcheese says:

    I love this soda, it is very smooth compared to the sharp flavor of the original. DP is my favorite line for sure.

  25. bill grivich says:

    I cannot find Dr. Pepper Cherry in 12 oz. or 16 oz. plastic bottles anywhere. Do they even make it. The liter bottle is to big, won't fit in my fridge.

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  1. [...] Read our review of Dr Pepper Cherry. Keep reading below to learn more about the background of this [...]

  2. [...] I think the folks at Dr Pepper Snapple Group have hit a home run modifying their namesake with Dr Pepper Cherry. It's great! Yet 7Up gets tossed to the curb with… antioxidants? Is there no love for 7Up? [...]

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