Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

7UP production switches
from Pepsi Group

Question: It is now impossible to find 7UP on any store shelves, from Star Market to Costco. A nice Safeway manager tried to explain something about Pepsi changing from 7UP to a new soda called Sierra Mist. I would just like to understand how a change like this happens here. Who makes these choices?

Answer: In this case, it started when the Pepsi Bottling Group announced last summer that it would stop producing and distributing 7UP nationally in favor of the lemon-lime soft drink Sierra Mist.

Although Pepsi was a major bottler and distributor of 7UP, it does not own the soft drink. Seven-Up is part of Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up (DPSU), a wholly owned division of Cadbury Schweppes, based in London.

"In June 2002, Pepsi bottlers began notifying us that they planned to switch from 7UP at the end of the year to a competing brand introduced by Pepsi Cola, which is Sierra Mist," said Kyle Rose, manager of corporate communications for DPSU, in Plano, Texas. "We've been in the process of re-licensing 7UP to independent bottlers and distributors."

7UP now will be distributed almost entirely by independent bottlers or those not affiliated with the major soft drink companies -- Pepsi or Coca-Cola. Independent bottlers previously accounted for 60 percent of 7UP's distribution. The new distributor in Hawaii is Paradise Beverages.

7UP was out of many local retail outlets as long ago as the first week of December, "so it's been a big task" trying to restock the shelves, said Anthony Borge, manager of Cadbury brand products for Paradise Beverages. But "it's on its way" (from California), he said, noting that Oahu stores should be stocked by this week and the neighbor islands shortly after.

"7UP is not going anywhere -- we're here to stay," Rose said. "We've been around for 73 years, and we're working hard to get it back on store shelves."

Q: Several condominiums in Waikiki are plumbed with natural gas. I also assume there is a natural gas line that feeds torches all around the hotels. On the mainland, that's because there is a pipeline of natural gas coming from wells in Texas and Oklahoma. Where is the well on Oahu?

A: There is no natural gas well on Oahu or anywhere in the state.

The Gas Co. is Hawaii's source of utility synthetic natural gas (SNG). It takes a refinery byproduct to produce SNG at its plant at Campbell Industrial Park on Oahu, said Steven Golden, director of public affairs and planning.

He acknowledge that "synthetic natural gas" seems like an oxymoron, but that's the term that's used to describe the product.

According to its Web site, the Gas Co. has more than 115,000 customers. On Oahu the majority of them, residents and businesses from Kapolei to Hawaii Kai, receive gas directly from the plant through an underground utility system.

Other gas customers on Oahu and the neighbor islands rely on propane gas, piped underground from a central storage site, or in cylinders or tanks, from the Gas Co. as well as other companies.


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