For those of you who want all the cachet of a spiked soda with none of the booze, Dr. Pepper has you covered. The brand has released an ultra-limited flavor called the Fansville Reserve, a nod to its support of college football. It’s a bourbon-flavored Dr. Pepper, sans alcohol, that comes in a silver can with an old-timey label the likes of which you’d see on a bottle of Woodford Reserve. It’s described as having notes of “oak, vanilla, honey, and cherry.” Sound delicious? If you want to try some, there’s a catch.
To snag a sample of Fansville Reserve, you’ve got to sign up for Dr. Pepper’s “Pepper Perks” program. Once you sign up and log in, you must play a scratch-off game through the Perks website for a chance to win some Fansville. You can play daily throughout the duration of the promotion. So you can’t just, like, buy the Fansville Reserve, you can just keep coming back to the Dr. Pepper portal and try to get your hands on one for free.
Dr. Pepper confirmed to The Takeout that there are no plans to make the bourbon-flavored Fansville Reserve a wider release, so don’t expect to see it in stores. However, the promotion is going until November 17, which means you have about a month’s worth of chances to win some. Other limited-time flavors released exclusively through the Perks program included Berries and Cream and FANtastic Chocolate, the latter of which we particularly enjoyed.
The Pepper Perks program also lets members earn points by uploading Dr. Pepper purchase receipts. Rack up enough points and you can redeem them for items like discounts at various online stores (including Fanatics, an online sports fan retailer) or packages of Dr. Pepper merch (wearables, branded snack bowls, cutting boards, etc.).
When you upload a receipt, the Perks website states that some key information needs to be legible, including:
- the retailer’s name
- the logo of the store from which it was purchased
- the date and time of the transaction
- the total price
- the Dr. Pepper products and their associated price
What, exactly, does Dr. Pepper do with all this very specifically required information? Surely it must provide key insights to customers’ purchasing patterns—insights that grocery stores don’t provide the beverage companies directly.
A spokesperson for Dr. Pepper told The Takeout that the receipt info is simply used to allot the correct amount of rewards points to the customer, and not for any other purpose.
“Eligibility for Pepper Perks rewards relies on the consumer sharing proof of purchase (in this case, receipts) of eligible products to obtain points,” they said, explaining that certain Dr. Pepper products will net you more points than others. Single bottles or cans earn a small amount of Perks points (10 of them), while the big-ticket purchases in volumes of 24 units per package or more, typically sold at wholesale club stores, will net you 30 Perks points.
If you really want to try this new flavor, or feel like there’s a Dr. Pepper cutting board missing from your life, then maybe the work of uploading receipts is worth it to you. But is bourbon-flavored Dr. Pepper worth it? That’s what we wanted to find out.
Dr. Pepper sent us a sample of the new soda, and we gave it a shot here at Takeout headquarters. Upon first pour, it appears just like regular Dr. Pepper, and as far as my colleagues and I could tell, it doesn’t have the detectable scent of bourbon notes in it.
Similarly, if there are bourbon-like notes to its flavor, they must be very subtle indeed, because we had a difficult time identifying any flavors beyond those present in a normal can of Dr. Pepper. (I must confess I have a hard time identifying flavors in things like wine, but in soda it shouldn’t be this difficult.) Three other staffers had a similar issues trying to pinpoint any novelty in the flavor profile, and if I noticed any divergence from the classic Dr. Pepper product, it’s the lack of that subtle bite the soda is known for. There simply seems to be less pepper (get it?) to this drink, with a bit of a smoother consistency overall. Maybe that smoothness is supposed to evoke the feeling of sipping a fine bourbon—or it could have just gone slightly flat. Unclear.
Is this product—and the Perks work that comes with it—worth the trouble? That’s up to you. Maybe your palate is more refined. It comes in a cool-looking package, even if the beverage inside isn’t anything you haven’t tasted before.