The results are surprising..but make sense if you think about it.
Soda in general isn’t a popular soft drink in Japan; if you go to a social gathering, you’re more than likely to see big bottles of tea than Coca-Cola. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who drink it; Coca-Cola and Pepsi are always putting out new and unique flavors, and at convenience stores you can also see shelves and shelves of Japanese soda brands like Mitsuya Cider in the refrigerated section.
But in terms of foreign sodas, we only ever really hear about Coke and Pepsi. What about other brands like, say, Dr. Pepper? Do Japanese people like it? On the one hand, many Japanese people tend to hate root beer, which may be the closest in flavor to Dr. Pepper, but on the other hand, some of our own Japanese-language reporters just love Diet Dr. Pepper, so from an anecdotal point of view, it’s hard to tell.
ライブドアニュース (@livedoornews) November 30, 2019
Thankfully, since December 1 was the anniversary of the first day Dr. Pepper was sold–it came out in 1885 and is the oldest American soda brand–Japanese news site Livedoor News sought to find out what Japanese netizens think of the american soft drink with a Twitter poll, which was opened on November 30. Here are the final results:
▼ From top to bottom: “Like”, “Dislike”, “Neither Like nor Dislike”, and “Never Tried It”
ライブドアニュース (@livedoornews) December 01, 2019
Of the 28,007 people who voted, nearly a third said they liked it (32 percent). Less than a quarter said they didn’t like it (21 percent), and 13 percent of people said they neither liked it or disliked it. So out of those three categories, the majority liked Dr. Pepper, which is a win in my book, as a Dr. Pepper fan myself!
Comments on the poll were mostly from people who liked it, but those who didn’t like it were also pretty clear as to why as well:
“I love it. I buy it by the case on the Internet.”
“I hated it when I was younger, but I tried it at [casual restaurant chain] Gusto for the first time in more than ten years and I thought it was pretty good.”
“If you drink it, you’ll understand!”
“It tastes like a wet rag (meh face)”
“I like the medicine-like flavor of it.”
“The first time I drank it, I thought it tasted like carbonated annin-dofu (apricot kernel tofu jelly).”
“I like root beer better.”
“I don’t especially like it, but I sometimes get mysterious cravings for it.”
(@omatureotoko) October 01, 2018
But what was surprising–or perhaps not that surprising if you think about it–is that the most people, 33 percent in fact, had never even tried it! The major reason for that seems to be because it’s not sold everywhere in Japan–which is fair, since it is rather hard to find, even in bigger cities. In Tokyo you might see it for sale once in a while in convenience stores, and chain restaurants like Gusto serve it as a fountain drink, but in more rural areas you might be hard pressed to see a Dr. Pepper can or bottle anywhere, and you aren’t likely to buy it by the case online if you haven’t tried it beforehand.
So it seems that Dr. Pepper remains a contentious soda, with mixed opinions all around. In the end, though, we can’t help but wonder: What if those people who’d never tasted it tried it? How would they change the results? And how does Melon Dr. Pepper fit into the mix? Sounds like Dr. Pepper should send those 9,000 people who said they’d never tried it some free cans, and take the survey again!