Commuters in mid-sized communities from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt traveled an average 25 hours in 2003, up from 15 hours in 1993, according to the Texas Transportation Institute.
So I found it interesting to read a report on MSNBSC.com about the “Starbucks Effect.” Nancy McGuckin, a travel behavior analyst who used U.S. Department of Transportation data, says the national craving for coffee may be adding mileage to the morning rush hour. Worse, the numbers might be enough to complicate efforts to reduce traffic congestion, fuel usage and air pollution.
McGuckin found that 1.6 million more Americans tacked errands onto their commutes. With the growth during the morning commute, a large number of men now join in, especially older men who devote more morning trips to coffee and breakfast foods.
The “Starbucks Effect” is not only about Starbucks, although the chain opened more than 4,000 locations between 1995 and 2001. Fast-food chains have catered to morning commuters since the ’70s. The author of “Commuting in America,” Alan E. Pisarski, said that although these findings are noteworthy, he doubts coffee-seeking commuters are accumulating much extra mileage since most don’t drive far out of their way for coffee. However, he said, the increase in errands added to commutes causes more congestion during peak travel times.
Restaurants catering to the breakfast crowd usually make sure they’re on the right side of the street for the morning traffic flow. That’s why in some locations you’ll see two Starbucks across the street from each other. Caribou Coffee, which sees 65 percent of its sales before 10 a.m., is also creating more drive-throughs and simplifying menus to speed along morning commuters.
THE LAST DROP
While watching Giacomo sprint to a photo finish at the Kentucky Derby, you might have noticed another prize on the sidelines: the Grey Goose Derby Hat. Bacardi’s Grey Goose Vodka, a sponsor of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, joined forces with hat designer Eric Javits to create a one-of-a-kind topper worn by “Sopranos” starlet Jamie-Lynn DiScala at the Derby. The hat, signed by Javits, was designed with 100 percent nylon horsehair in “Grey Goose blue” with embroidered silk threads and paillettes. The Grey Goose Designer Derby Hat was sold on eBay with all proceeds benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
“Sex and the City” sells
Bacardi USA Inc. hired “Sex and the City” actress Kim Cattrall as the celebrity spokeswoman for its new Island Breeze. Cattrall will appear in a series of print and cable television ads touting the drink, which has half the calories of traditional spirits and wine. The tagline for the advertisements will be, “Now you can have it all.”
The Dalmore Scotch, marketed by Jim Beam Brands Co., Deerfield, Ill., will be featured on the national television program “Great Taste.” The show presents discerning consumers with an in-depth look at the art, science and passion that go into creating this premium whisky from the Northern Highlands of Scotland. The “Great Taste” segment will include background and history of The Dalmore and the distillery, an explanation of the distillation process and information on how best to sample The Dalmore. The segment airs on Bravo, National Geographic and regionally on local news networks throughout 2005.
American Homebrewers Association (AHA), Boulder, Colo., celebrates Big Brew on the first Saturday in May. During the event, thousands of homebrewers and non-brewers from around the world united in brewing the official recipes of Big Brew day and shared a simultaneous toast at noon CST. Big Brew participants registered their brewing sites at beertown.org. Last year, AHA had more than 2,000 participants at 160 Big Brew sites that brewed more than 5,180 gallons of homebrew worldwide, an increase of 54 percent from 2003.
Mountain Dew billboards in New York’s Times Square offered visitors the chance to appear in the billboard. Passersby were instructed to stand on an “X” across the street to create an image that made it appear as if they had become part of a Times Square billboard. The photos showed the subject either guzzling a Mountain Dew or smashing a Mountain Dew can into his or her forehead.
F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, N.Y., will host Saranac Thursday night concerts for its seventh year. Saranc Thursdays take place from June 2 to Sept. 29 in the brewery’s outdoor beer garden, and offer a variety of Saranc beers and soft drinks, Utica Club and Two Dogs beverages. A portion of the proceeds from Saranac Thursdays is donated to the United Way. With the company generating nearly $30,000 last year, it hopes to raise $35,000 this year.