Friday, February 20, 2009

Sugar Gaining Ground

Add Snapple to the list of drinks abandoning HFCS for Sugar. Yeah, I know it's not a beautiful, fizzy beverage, but it's a sign of the times and it is owned by Dr Pepper.
Snapple, once the “official beverage of New York City,” is being redesigned — inside and out — this year.

The popular iced teas are losing the high-fructose corn syrup and the dated font. The bottles are becoming more svelte (to better fit into cup holders, which became a force after Snapple iced teas were originally introduced). The labels will also emphasize the green and black tea leaves used to make the drink. The changes are rolling out over the first few months of the year, and they are expected to hit New York in early March, according to Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which is now the owner of the brand.

Snapple, which once defined the genre of specialty tea, now finds itself fading in an increasingly crowded field of competitors. The brand, which passed through many hands before landing as part of Dr Pepper Snapple, went through a round of focus group testing over the last two years.

“Through that work we really found that Snapple had lost of its luster and had been replaced in the minds of consumers by other beverages out there,” said Jim Trebilcock, an executive vice president with Dr Pepper Snapple.

(For example, President Obama prefers (the more lightly sweetened) Honest Tea, and the White House is now stocked with his favorite flavors, Black Forest Berry and Green Dragon.)

Real sugar is replacing the corn syrup. (Sugar vs. corn syrup, by the way, is the difference between Mexican and American Coca-Cola.) In some cases, that has actually resulted in a decrease in calories.

The old ingredient list for Lemon Snapple Iced Tea: “water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, tea, natural flavors.” Calories: 200. The new ingredient list: “filtered water, sugar, citric acid, tea, natural flavors.” Calories: 160.
Now if only Coke and the other people out there would hop on the train. And I'm pretty sure that Obama has nothing to do with their decision, despite his inclusion in the article.

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Repent Soda Sinners!

Apparently, the governor of Massachusetts thinks that those of us who like to consume a few "empty calories" via a Root Beer or Soda are sinners and in need of additional taxation. It's yet another, in a long line of attempts at behaviour modification by the powers that be to encourage us to act and consume the way they wish us to. At the same time these nanny staters want to fill their coffers by taxing the population segment that they wish to modify.
When Governor Deval Patrick proposed a 5 percent premium on sugary treats this week, his administration presented it as a sin tax with a bonus: Imposing such a levy, a briefing paper pledged, "is a critical first step in discouraging the consumption of these empty calories."
Thankfully, I am not a resident of Taxachusettes, nor am I likely to ever be, but the innocent people who like a good Soda, or one of the excellent regional Root Beers have to bear the burden of these nonsensical do-gooders. Enough is enough, isn't it? Once upon a time there were some Bostonians who had the courage to protest a tax increase on their beverage of choice. Where are those people now? If you won't protest a 5% tax on your Soda or Root Beer then what will you speak out against? Very little, it seems.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Soda Vs. Pop

When I was growing up in the South it was not odd to have an aunt or a friend or someone utter the words, "Let's go get a Coke". It didn't mean that I had to end up with a Coca~Cola product, either. In fact it was more likely that I'd end up with a Barq's, Nehi or other yummy bubbly beverage. My aunts would almost inevitably get an RC or Dr. Pepper. The fact that it was also pronounced "Cocola" made no difference, either. It was just what all soda water based drinks were (and likely still are) called in the South.

Well, the folks at The Pop vs. Soda Page have popped back up onto the radar again with their excellent map on the subject of what our favourite beverages are called by region. I was surprised to see that in my current region the Southern "Coke" is more common than Soda or Pop. Must have been an influx of Southerners into the region at some point in the past. Interesting.

Of course, where I grew up, if you wanted a Root Beer you asked for a Barq's. Just because it was the best on the market.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

New Push On Against Root Beer And Sodas

First they came for the smokers and I screamed my head off, even tho I wasn't a smoker. Then they came for the trans fats and I screamed my head off again, even tho I avoid trans fats. Now they're coming for Root Beer and Sodas and I'll scream my head off again, for all the good it'll do.

It seems that the nannies over at the Centre for "Science" in the Public Interest and some of their fellow traveller busybodies are looking to attack bubbly beverages now. They are even going so far as to propose "modest" taxes on effervescent wonders to be used to fund themselves.

Consumer groups on five continents are promoting a new “Dump Soda” campaign to educate people about the links between soft-drink marketing and rising childhood obesity. “Multinational giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are flooding the world with beverages that are nothing more than ‘liquid candy,’” said Bruce Silverglade, legal director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is coordinating the campaign with the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations. “As a result, consumers, including children, in all corners of the globe are increasingly developing obesity, ‘adult onset’ diabetes, and other health problems.”
Their demands include asking governments to require soft-drink producers to stop advertising sugar-laden beverages to children under 16 and to impose a modest tax on soft drinks to fund nutrition and fitness programs. The campaign also promotes the marketing of lower-sugar products, selling existing products in smaller portions, and stopping sales of sweetened beverages in all public and private schools, from elementary to high school.

It's all for the children again. Sheesh. Of course they failed in their "science" part, again. The vast majority of drinks on the market do not contain sugar. That's obvious from only a cursory glance at a label in most countries, especially the US. Most are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. If they would actually champion sugar as the primary sweetener, rather than nanny banning and taxation, they might actually get my attention in a positive manner. Instead they have, once again, aroused my ire with their latest anti-everything good campaign.

Environmentalists and nannystatists seem to go hand in hand, these days. Wishing to impose their tofu and water lifestyles on everyone else. All for their own god, of course. Well, guess what folks? I am the final arbiter of what goes into my body and that of my children. Not you. Not your "scientists" and certainly not the politicians you will manage to sway with your "oh so caring" rhetoric. You people will be in for a fight on this one. Here's my line in the sand.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cry Root Beer!

During my most recent vacation to the Outer Banks I was given the gift of a bottle of Weeping Radish Root Beer by my sister-in-law and her husband. I must say that it was an unexpected pleasure and one I am glad to have received. This pint and 9 oz bottle was quite surprising to me. Many breweries make Root Beer as an afterthought and take little care with its formulation, using sub par extracts and treating it like the unwanted step-child of the business.

Weeping Radish Root Beer isn't one of those. Even though they rely on extract, rather than craft brewing they have managed to turn out a complex and tasty brew that is a pleasure to drink. Whatever extract the they use is pretty good and loaded with complex flavours that keep you going back for more tastings. Manteo, North Carolina is not just the home of Andy Griffith. It is home to one really nice Root Beer! It also sports about the shortest ingredients list I have ever seen.


Root Beer Extract
Pure Sugar
100% Pure H2O

Aroma: Hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, wintergreen and licorice. Spicy.
Head: Dissipated all to quickly. Too Soda-like.
Carbonation: Average. Adds just a touch of bite to the brew.
Root Beer Flavour: A complex spicy flavour, not soft and draft-like. It has a slight dryness that gets put down by the sugar.
Sweetness: Sugary sweet, but not overwhelming. The sugar is a dominant aspect but it doesn't eclipse any of the other tastes.
Aftertaste: Sugared spiciness with licorice tones and a very slight hint of vanilla.
Overall: Quite possibly one of the most complex brews I've had in a while. While it was a gift to me, I would certainly go out and buy for myself.

I give Weeping Radish Root Beer a 7/10 or a B+

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