Recently the deals on brand name soda have been rather pathetic: $3.77/12pack -- you save 23 cents, so I've been looking at the generic brands. But the brands are not created equal, and so after a bad Walmart experience, I've learned to sample a small batch before bringing out the forklift.
Derek's incomplete taste tests of alternate brands:
Mr Pibb MAXX Pepsi Not really a house brand, but shows up in restaurants a lot. A drinkable replacement. Dr Thunder Walmart simply awful, yuk. has a nasty bite and metallic taste, get it out of here. Dr Skipper Safeway Best house brand alternative so far. Very close in taste, just slightly sweeter. Dr K Kroger / Frys Passable, a little less aggressive than safeway. Not mixable! Dr Bold Albertsons Drinkable, but not as true as the others. Like someone slipped too much cola or vanilla or something else into the mix. Kind of a shasta cola/dr pepper hybrid.
The real solution would be to buy the gallon jugs of Dr. Pepper syrup (no, I'm not going to drink it straight) that used to be on the shelf at Smart&Final, and learn how to mix soda myself. A soda water fountain shouldn't be that hard to put together (and I need the CO2 for welding anyways), and maybe I could scrounge pieces at the local vending distributor. But that's not going to happen for a while, so I'll just have to continue the quest for the cheapest drinks in a can. Besides, I can melt the aluminum when I'm done.
A long list of alternatives: Dr Pepper and the Impostors
or the collection of over 120 different pepper cans.
and then there's Not Quite What the Doctor Ordered, the fake drpepper site, including images, ratings and more.