America Is Facing a Dr Pepper Shortage This Summer

The beverage admits it's having a hard time keeping shelves stocked.

So far this year, we have seen such widespread toilet paper shortages that some restaurants started selling four-packs of two-ply as a takeout side dish. Our seemingly universal interest in baking our own bread resulted in shortages of dry goods like yeast and flour (and that inadvertently made Marmite scarce, too). And, because this year just keeps rolling on, now it's getting tougher to find every single flavor of one popular soda brand.

Cases of Dr Pepper soda
George Frey / Stringer/Getty Images

Earlier this week, Dr Pepper responded to a lot of Pepp-deprived people by acknowledging that yes, it's getting tougher to find your fave Dr Pepper products and yes, it's trying to get them back on store shelves soon. "We know it’s harder to find Dr Pepper these days. We’re working on it – hang tight," it tweeted. "We're doing everything we can to get it back into your hands. That means working with our distribution partners to keep shelves stocked nationwide, while ensuring the safety of our employees." (It also noted that the temporary shortage "applies to all flavors," including its newest version, Dr Pepper & Cream Soda.)

Keurig Dr Pepper, the company that owns Dr Pepper, 7 Up, and other beverages, told CNN that its soda sales had "increased consistently" since 2016. "Rest assured we're working with our local distribution partners experiencing low inventory levels in certain markets to meet this increased demand, and we encourage every loyal Dr Pepper fan to continue checking their local retailer for their favorite varieties," a company spokesperson said.

At the end of July, Keurig Dr Pepper reported second quarter sales of $2.86 billion, an increase from $2.81 billion in the second quarter of 2019. It also said that packaged beverage sales—including canned Dr Pepper—grew by 6.2 percent during the quarter, due to a combination of factors including new flavors of Canada Dry and Dr Pepper, and increased demand during the pandemic.

Another challenge for sodas and other canned beverages is the ongoing shortage of aluminum cans. “The aluminum beverage can manufacturing industry has seen unprecedented demand for this environmentally-friendly container prior to and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," the Aluminum Association told USA Today in mid-July.

"Many new beverages are coming to market in cans and other long-standing can customers are moving away from plastic bottles due to ongoing environmental concerns around plastic pollution. Consumers also appear to be favoring the portability and storability cans as they spend more time at home."

In addition to Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola products have periodically been hard to find, while Pepsi CEO Ramon Laguarta has acknowledged that the company has "made some choices in [its] supply chain" to ensure that its most popular products would continue to be available.

But perhaps nobody knows what Big Soda is going through more than Charmin. "Welcome to the club," the brand tweeted to Dr Pepper. "We feel your pain."

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