Under the microscope 

The Boyd Co. Inc. recently released a report titled “Comparative Cost of Food and Beverage Industry Processing,” which looks at operating costs for beverage processing plants, including labor, utilities, real estate and taxes. Annual costs range from $27.8 million in Boston to $22.3 million in Othello, Wash., the report states. The study, which reviewed plants in 30 comparative cities, notes that the sector now is faced with added compliance costs associated with the new Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA) being rolled out by the Food and Drug Administration. This is the most extensive and far-reaching update of federal food and beverage safety laws since 1938, notes The Boyd Co. Inc.


Don’t wait, drink smart   

In response to consumers who don’t want to wait in line for a drink in a popular bar, Young Fox LLC launched Foxtender Barmachine, an automatic bartender that produces cocktails in a safe and secure prepaid system. The device includes a refrigerator, an easy-pay interface, a cup dispenser and an ID system to help make sure underage drinkers aren’t served alcohol beverages, the company notes. Foxtender also features a mobile app that allows consumers to use their smartphone to pay. Foxtender Barmachine can supply as many as 400 drinks without human assistance, it adds. 


A sip of chocolate decadence   

There’s chocolate milk and chocolate smoothies, but two companies are taking it a step further by unleashing Moonstruck Drinking Chocolate by Sunshine Dairy. Drinking Chocolate has European roots and is made by mixing chocolate ganache (smooth, melted chocolate and heavy cream) with whole milk. A collaboration of Sunshine Dairy Foods and Moonstruck Chocolate Co., Drinking Chocolate is available in dairy cases and grab-and-go sections of Whole Foods Market, New Seasons, Fred Meyer, QFC, Green Zebra, Zupan’s, Albertson’s and Safeway. The 260-calorie drink contains 9 grams of protein and 28 grams of sugar, and retails for $3.49 for a 16-ounce carton and $6.99 for a 32-ounce carton. 


Walker around the world

Johnnie Walker announced its largest ever global marketing campaign. The campaign, titled Joy Will Take You Further, will launch in more than 50 countries and represents a new perspective on personal progress, the company says. It brings to life the concept that joy can be a catalyst to finding joy in the journey as part of the recipe for success, it adds. The campaign features stars from sports and entertainment who share the brand’s view of how happiness in life is a fuel for success.


Bond. James Bond.

As part of its integrated global Spectre campaign, Heineken unveiled a new TV spot titled “The Chase,” which features Daniel Craig as James Bond in a high-speed boat chase, the company says. Heineken’s Spectre campaign is the brand’s largest global marketing platform in 2015, it says. The Heineken spot first launched on mobile via Facebook and then on TV and cinema screens worldwide 24 hours later. Heineken’s “The Chase” uses Spectre cinematographers and stuntmen to ensure the action sequences are authentically Bond, it notes. The spot features a young woman, Zara, who inadvertently becomes involved in a high-speed boat chase where she helps the world’s most infamous spy save the day. The brand also announced a digital campaign featuring the first selfie from space, dubbed the “Spyfie.”


Saluting veterans

Phillips Distilling Co. is helping veterans across the United States find employment when they return from service through its Salute to The New Heroes campaign. The program drove awareness through Veteran’s Day and will resume in 2016 in advance of key holidays such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July, it adds. Donations were secured by in-store purchases of the company’s UV Vodka brand and the sharing of the hashtag #SalutetoHeroes on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A portion of proceeds were donated to Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide program that helps U.S. veterans and military spouses find employment. At the retail level, it was showcased through bottle neck hangers, case wraps and case headers. Participating bars and restaurants showed their support with dedicated signage and promotional materials as well.


Hold your hand high

Football, foliage, flannel: these classic images convey fall to many Americans.  During the past five years, Sam Adams has added shaky-armed competitors at bars across the country holding 1-liter glass steins of OctoberFest beer to that list. The Sam Adams Stein Hoisting Competition requires competitors to hoist a 1-liter glass stein filled with Samuel Adams OctoberFest with a straight arm for as long as possible. If they sip, spill or bend their arm, they’re out. For the first time, craft beer lovers were able to witness the final round of the competition on TV. ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” hosted the first-ever national Stein Hoisting Competition finals on Oct. 13. Two winners received a grand-prize trip for two to the 2016 Oktoberfest celebration in Munich.


Tweets on the streets

Diet Coke thanked its fans this fall with public displays of affection that go well beyond the standard brand retweet. The zero-calorie carbonated soft drink introduced “ReTweets of Love,” a new social campaign championing fans who shared their love for Diet Coke on social media, the company says. The Twitter-led campaign returned the love to fans by surprising dozens of them with their tweets reimagined in clever ways in unexpected places. Designers and illustrators transformed tweets into pieces of bespoke artwork inspired by Diet Coke, the company says. Throughout October, Diet Coke fans saw their tweets on custom jewelry, framed artwork, a large-scale outdoor mural in New York City or even in the pages of their favorite magazine.