Archive for the ‘drink’ Category
Coca-Cola cost a nickel for 70 years because of a short-sighted deal that gave two lawyers the rights to bottle Coke and buy syrup at a fixed price forever. When bottled Coke took off, the Coca-Cola company massively advertised 5 cent Cokes to sell as much syrup as possible. They wouldn’t get more money if the price rose anyway so they decided to push selling as much Coke as possible at that great price. Then vending machines built to take a nickel became another sticking point for raising the price. Raising it to a dime was too much, and the U.S. Treasury wouldn’t make a 7.5-cent coin. Eventually, inflation and a re-signed bottling contract made way for higher prices. But 70 years is a long time for 5 cents.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that there’s a “soda revolution brewing” with local restaurants concocting their own carbonated beverages. Fruit purees, fruit syrups, agave nectar, herbs and spices are some of the ingredients being mixed with seltzer from a tap. Two soda specialists are even using fermentation instead of soda water to add the bubbles. You won’t get any high fructose corn syrup from these artisan soda jerks but your adventurous taste buds will find unique flavor combinations. Prickly pear soda, blackberry thyme, grapefruit pink peppercorn, nectarine ginger, carmelized pineapple… the list will go on.
Did you know there’s a Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas? And it has a weblog. And a summer camp where kids can learn all about making and marketing soda (a lucrative skill indeed). There’s an online store too in case you were looking for Dr Pepper bar stools or golf towels.
After Prohibition was lifted, California disallowed “rectification” of distilled spirits to protect consumers from “bad, homemade booze.” The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control advised in 2008 that they defined rectification as “any process or procedure whereby distilled spirits are cut, blended, mixed or infused with any ingredient.” The clarification put infusions, such as vodka flavored by bartenders adding fruit and vegetables, in violation of the law. State Senator Mark Leno has introduced a bill that will permit “the artisanal practice of making small amounts of spirits flavored with fruits, vegetables and spices.” Leno likes his vodka clear, but he’s looking out for his constituents in San Francisco.
I’d always assumed there were regulations about advertising liquor on TV in the United States, but there aren’t any federal laws about it. The absence of hard liquor commercials was self-policed by the National Association of Broadcasters as part of their voluntary code. In applying to the FCC for new stations and acquisitions, owners would simply state they would comply with the NAB code, which bound them to the hard liquor restriction. However, the code was dropped in the 1980s. We were left with the alcohol companies’ own voluntary code that went away in the 1990s. Now the remaining restrictions are around not advertising during children’s programming and showing safe drinking in the ads. Networks and local stations often have their own policies about whether they’ll accept liquor ads and when they’ll show them. Figuring out how this may be applied (or not) to the new Internet age of media delivery is left as an exercise for the reader.
Your next restaurant wine list may be handed to you on an iPad or other tablet device. Arguing the advantages of access to an electronic database for a diner’s wine selection seems unnecessary. There’s so much more information available than in a printed list. But I’m sure there will be those that miss the old binders and I doubt it will replace the sommelier.
Starbucks continues to push its instant coffee Via. It’s now available in grocery stores and in the U.K. and Japan. This summer they’ll release an iced coffee version which is sweetened and sized for a 16 oz drink, perfect for a water bottle.