Archive for Potability

A more moderate buzz

I’m not entirely sure why this exists, yet plainly it exists, or at least has existed:

Diet Jolt Cola

Twice the caffeine, half the sugar?

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Come, let’s Stroh

Stroh’s brewed beer in Detroit from 1850 to 1999, when the company was taken over by Pabst. Now, in a limited way anyway, Stroh’s is coming back home:

The Stroh Brewery Company will once again brew beer in Detroit with the return of Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner on August 22…

Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner is a classic that earned the highest awards at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. The new [brew] is inspired by a Stroh’s recipe from the late 1800s.

Stroh’s Bohemian will be brewed at Brew Detroit in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

This is consistent with Pabst policy: own the name, brew wherever you can.


Hops to it

Darling, you really need to drink more beer:

New research suggests hops — the flower that makes beer and gives it its zesty taste — could help fend off breast cancer. The plant has long been tied to hormone levels, with studies showing it gives men “man boobs” and soothes postmenopausal symptoms by boosting estrogen metabolism. And now, experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago claim that same process could activate chemicals that prevent tumors from developing.

Researchers applied hops extract to two different breast cell lines to monitor its effect on the cells’ estrogen metabolism. As hoped, the researchers found one potent compound in hops — 6-prenylnarigenin, or 6-PN — increased the rate of estrogen metabolism, boosting a detoxification pathway in the cells.

Yeah, I know: the Daily Mail. But hey, they know their estrogen.


Life imitates Springfield

Malk, now with Vitamin RThe Simpsons Wiki describes this mysterious substance:

Bart thought that the school served milk, but when he cracked his knuckles, they snapped painfully. Bart was shocked about the brittleness of his bones because he had always drunk plenty of milk. However, when he looked closer at the carton, he realized it was written “MALK” instead of “MILK.”

You have to figure that Superintendent Chalmers wasn’t about to spend big on mere beverages. But that was 1995. Today:

Modern-day MALK was born in Houston in 2014. I have no idea whether it contains any Vitamin R.

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They won’t care if the coffee sucks

Sometimes you just shake your head and wonder “What’s next?”

A firm in Geneva plans to open a café where customers can enjoy oral sex while they sip their morning coffee. Not everyone is happy with the idea.

The idea for the sex café has been brewing for several months, Bradley Charvet of the Geneva firm Facegirl told Geneva’s Le Matin newspaper recently.

Modelled on similar establishments in Thailand, the proposed Geneva café would add a new dimension to the sex trade in the city of the Protestant reformer Calvin.

Put simply, the business model would see men ordering a coffee and using an iPad to select a prostitute they want to perform oral sex on them. They would then sit at the bar.

“In five or ten minutes, it’s all over,” Charvet explained to Le Matin.


[insert “Bangkok” joke here]

Base price is 60 Swiss francs (about €55). Charvet’s probably right about that time frame, so there should be a steady, um, stream of customers.

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I’ve been to the desert with a plan for no gain

That’s how this scheme sounds to me, anyway:

A water bottling business in the desert?

Doesn’t seem like a sound business plan.

But Nestlé Waters plans to spend $35 million to re-purpose a west Phoenix warehouse at 43rd Avenue and Buckeye Road.

According to CNN, the plant is projected to use almost 35 million gallons to fill 264 million half-liter bottles in its first year, though the U.S. drought monitor lists Phoenix and most of Arizona under moderate drought.

City of Phoenix Water Services says there’s no problem:

Phoenix uses only around half of its Salt and Verde River water supplies, and around two-thirds of its Colorado River water supplies.

According to the city, the plant will create approximately 40 to 50 jobs in the first phase. Nestlé said by the third year of operating, there may be 100 workers. City Water Services spokesperson Stephanie Bracken said Nestlé will be paying the standard city water rate that all residential, commercial, and multi-family Phoenix Water customers pay.

This is the rate. You might think it would be higher than that, what with being in the frigging desert and all, but apparently not.

(Via Fark.)


Hey, porter

And not just any porter, either:

Old Leghumper porter

This product of Thirsty Dog Brewing Company in Akron, Ohio rates a creditable 86 from Beer Advocate.

My first thought upon seeing this was the variant Farkism “Your dog wants beer,” but this particular canine seems to be intent on something other than quenching his mere thirst.

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At the very edge of the soda shelf

The folks at mental_floss have come up with something called “The Tragic History of Royal Crown Cola”, and as a genuine RC fan, I read it, wincing as I went along, and while I didn’t weep into my beverage, I did occasionally make regretful-sounding noises.

Lucille Ball for Royal Crown Cola

I have no idea if Lucy actually drank this stuff in 1946, when The Dark Corner was released, but at the time, Royal Crown — they, meaning Nehi, the drink’s parent company, had only just adopted “RC” as a nickname — was on a roll:

In 1944, the courts ruled that Coke did not, in fact, own the word “cola,” thus allowing Royal Crown to become Royal Crown Cola, or RC Cola. With nationwide distribution and sales on the up and up, Nehi shoveled money into print and television ads featuring stars like Bing Crosby, Joan Crawford, Shirley Temple, and Lucille Ball. “You Bet RC Tastes Best!” magazine ads crowed. And this wasn’t just an empty boast: Nehi had staged public taste tests across the country pitting RC against competitors Coke and Pepsi, and declared itself the winner. It was the first time a beverage company had ever done such a promotion. Whether or not the tests were rigged in some way is up for debate; what mattered was that people believed them.

And hey, it’s not like anyone paid attention to the Pepsi Challenge.

RC was a Southern drink, first concocted in Columbus, Georgia, and it was in the South Carolina lowcountry where I first discovered it, as an adjunct to rock and/or roll: the leading Top 40 station in the area gave away tons of the stuff, in the form of store coupons for a six-pack, and in those days, I could dial a phone with the best of them.

The “tragedy” apparently was caused by RC’s sister product, Diet Rite Cola, formulated in 1958 and sweetened with that miracle stuff, cyclamate, which was declared Very Bad For You a decade later:

Controversy developed when, in 1966, a study reported that some intestinal bacteria could desulfonate cyclamate to produce cyclohexylamine, a compound suspected to have some chronic toxicity in animals. Further research resulted in a 1969 study that found the common 10:1 cyclamate:saccharin mixture to increase the incidence of bladder cancer in rats. The released study was showing that eight out of 240 rats fed a mixture of saccharin and cyclamates, at levels of humans ingesting 350 cans of diet soda per day, developed bladder tumors.

Too much risk, said the FDA, always mindful of rat health. RC, which then had almost 10 percent of the soft-drink market, went into a slow, then a not-so-slow, decline. There was one two-liter bottle left at the supermarket tonight, and I grabbed it.

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Meanwhile at the coffee bar

They now have actual bars of coffee:

GO CUBES Chewable Coffee by Nootrobox

It’s a matter of portion control, says the manufacturer:

How much caffeine is in your regular cup of joe? 25 mg? 200 mg? You have no idea. It depends on many variables, including, bean varietal, process, and barista skill. Know exactly how much caffeine you consume so you can stay perfectly in the zone.

Nootrobox, the creators of GO CUBES, are experts at cognitive enhancement and nootropics. In addition to caffeine, GO CUBES contain precise amounts of other safe, effective supplements like L-theanine, B6, and methylated B12 that improve caffeine for enhanced focus & clarity.

They don’t seem expensive, either: the four-pack includes the equivalent of two cups of coffee, and a box of 20 four-packs from Amazon is $59. You don’t get latte decoration and such, but what the hey. And it’s got to be more interesting than Vivarin.

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Dare we call it tart?

Just in time for breakfast, mental_floss came up with a list of breakfast-themed beers. One of them is “Toaster Pastry” from 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, and they’re serious, kinda sorta:

Our first beer out of our new brewery is an homage to its former life as a toaster pastry factory.

Biscuit malts give the beer a slightly nutty, crust-like flavor, while pale and dark Crystal malts create the mouthfeel and flavors reminiscent of strawberry jam. Calypso and other experimental hops give this ruby ale a welcome bite, plus a few more in the hop back for a toasty-sweet aroma.

Yep. Kellogg’s used to produce Pop-Tarts in that very building. I’m sure it doesn’t actually taste like a Pop-Tart — a Pop-Tart other than strawberry, anyway — but the curiosity has been stirred. (And if you pour it properly, does it appear frosted?)

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Our hostess wins Brownie points

Actually, I don’t think the Girl Scouts have an official position on what wine goes with which cookie, so this item (courtesy of Babble) should probably be considered Non-Standard:

Match the wine to the Girl Scout Cookie

Wonder what I should dip into this handy Cardbordeaux?

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Department of Motivational Beverages

Just when I’ve decided that this state has the most irredeemably absurd liquor laws in all the 57 fifty, this materializes:

Went next door to Edina Liquors, the Sad Municipal Hooch Vendor — sad not for its character or decor, because it’s quite nice. It’s an upscale wine store with fine spirits. Everyone was content to shop there until Total Wine and Spirits, aka Infinite Central Nervous System Fluid Dispensary, opened up a mile away, and revealed that the prices at Edina Liquors could be undercut by five dollars, and the Republic would not fall. The municipal store countered that its revenue helped keep property taxes down, and paid for parks. That’s great but I don’t live in Edina. If you have to sell liquor to keep your taxes low then maybe you should cut spending or increase taxes.

I’d say the same about lotteries, but I’d be treading upon dreams even more fervid than the DTs.

And one should not expect marketing brilliance from the state under any conditions:

This time I noticed new signage, with phrases touting how the money went back into the community. If that’s your main selling point, rethink your plan. I was there because I had a coupon for 10% off anything — as long as it didn’t end in “5.” They’d discounted some things, and these prices ended in 5, and they were all the same price as Infinite. I walked out, and the clerk at the counter didn’t even take his eyes away from the TV on the wall.

The DMV, writ smaller and thirstier.


Orange Crush, but crushier

Apparently the latest thing in soft drinks is, um, hardness:

Recently MillerCoors released their newest product called “Henry’s Hard Soda,” an alcoholic soda sweetened with cane sugar in orange and ginger flavors. This release manifests MillerCoors desire to hop onboard the explosive craft beer and more recently the hard cider movement.

Um, okay. Who’s supposed to drink this stuff?

In their first major advertising push on TV and digital marketing, MillerCoors is targeting Generation Xers, those aged 34-54, encouraging them to live “Hard-ish.” Conceptually, the ads feature young suburbanites who have grown up but are not yet ready to commit to being “grownups.”

At fifty-four, it’s probably too late to start thinking about grownup stuff.

Here’s a 15-second spot:

You know, this could have been a whole lot worse. (“Worse-ish”?)

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Right, what’s a unit?

Her Majesty’s Government thinks Her Majesty’s subjects are drinking too much:

Men and women should drink no more than six pints of beer or standard glasses of wine a week, according to new U.K. government guidelines that warn that any level of alcohol consumption raises the risk of cancer.

The new guidance, published in London on Friday, lowers the recommended maximum intake for men to 14 U.K. units of alcohol a week, the same as for women, from 21 units. A pint of beer with a 4 percent alcohol content or a medium-sized 175-milliliter glass of wine contains 2.3 units. People of both sexes are urged to have several alcohol-free days a week.

Nowhere in the world, other than in government offices, will you find alcohol by the “unit.” Then again, it was the UK that gave us the hilarious Drinking Banning Order.

Amazingly, there is, even in today’s Britain, opposition to this sort of thing:

U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, often pictured in a pub with a pint of beer in his hand, said he’d carry on drinking.

“Frankly if we choose to enjoy a few drinks, four or five nights a week after a hard day at work, whether it slightly shortens our lives or not, so what?” he said on a phone-in program on LBC Radio. “To basically tell us that any form of drinking is likely to lead to our deaths is just so over the top that we’ll probably behave in the opposite way. I certainly will, starting at midday today.”

Farage isn’t on my list of Favourite People, but I would happily buy him a unit drink.

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In the midst of sassafras

Which, come to think of it, you’re probably not:

You can still buy supposed sassafras concentrate. It doesn’t taste a bit like the stuff tasted when I was young. Good sassrass faded out gradually — I used to find short lengths of the root in simply-labeled cellophane packets at the grocer’s, Indiana-produced and presumably with most of the safrole steamed away. But I guess even that was too much for the drug warriors; you’ll look in vain for it now. Safrole, the stuff that gives sassafras a distinctive taste, was determined to be more bad for you than good and withdrawn from commercial use in 1960. By 1976, the DEA labelled it a drug precursor: it’s used in the manufacture of MDMA, “Ecstasy.” And not only is it illegal as can be, overuse of MDMA appears to be not at all good for you, either, and in several ways.

Fortunately, there are those who still tend the eternal flame:

The smoke shall rise again, to the place above where it began.

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Brewskius romani

There exists a beer — more precisely, an India pale ale — named after Pliny the Elder, author and military commander, who perished in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.

Pliny the Elder Beer, photo by Jack Cluth

It is apparently highly regarded:

Hands down the most highly coveted IPA in the world. Only a small percentage of beer connoisseurs ever get to enjoy this exceptionally high rated double IPA fresh out of the bottle.

Jack Cluth, who uploaded the picture, reports: “It smells like soap and has a far too acidic, bitter taste.” Hmmm. Hints of volcanic ash, maybe?

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A real McCoy

It’s a beer, not a bourbon, says the brewer:

Dammit Jim Beer from New Republic Brewing

The particulars:

This beer started out as a lark and a whim and turned out way too tasty. Composed of 70% Vienna malt and a combination of Munich and different crystal malts, it tastes of sweet malt and toasted bread. Centennial, Amarillo, Cascade and Fuggles hops give it plenty of American citrus and English earthy bitterness.

If you want to sample this brew, you’d best be somewhere between Houston and College Station, Texas, Alpha Quadrant: they don’t do transporters.

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A copywriter needs to be taken outback

This British pitch for Australian wines might be construed as a trifle, um, forward:

The simultaneous Twitter campaign is, if anything, even more blatant:

Emma Boyle is ever so slightly torqued off:

You could almost be fooled into thinking the mention of a woman having pubic hair in advertising was progressive, if it wasn’t for the actress’s reaction to her own statement. Why have her look embarrassed?

But my biggest question is this: why do you want to associate the taste of your wine with having tasteless wiry hair in your mouth? The advert isn’t clever, and if it is a laugh, it’s the cheap sniggering kind of laugh you hear from the mouths of boys hunched over sticky magazines at the back of the classroom.


Oh, never mind.

Note: An earlier version of this piece misattributed the off-torquedness to Holly Brockwell.

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That name again is Mr. Coffee

Another contributor to late 20th-century technology is whisked away from us:

Vincent Marotta, one of the co-founders of the iconic Mr. Coffee brand that helped revolutionize how Americans make their morning brew, died Saturday at his home in suburban Cleveland. He was 91.

Marotta and his business partner and high school friend Samuel Glazer turned Mr. Coffee into a household name after asking two engineers to create a drip brewing system like those found in restaurants. Marotta came up with the idea after his and Glazer’s construction and shopping center development business were hurt by a slowdown in the real estate market.

Ah, diversification. Marotta and Glazer sold North American Systems, Inc., the company they formed to manufacture Mr. Coffee, for $182 million in 1987, fifteen years after its inception. And there’s one corporate secret to be told:

The brand’s fortunes received a boost when Marotta persuaded retired New York Yankees star Joe DiMaggio to become the Mr. Coffee spokesman. Ironically, DiMaggio only drank instant decaffeinated coffee because of stomach problems.

Joltin’ Joe wouldn’t let that bother him, though:

The Mr. Coffee brand is now owned by Jarden Corporation.

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The glucose is clear

I’m not quite sure I understand this promotion:

Actually, that’s only half a gallon, but it still sounds a bit strange.

(Via Dawn Summers.)

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PBR goes home, sort of

Until 1996, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer was brewed in Milwaukee; corporate headquarters were in a former school building on West Juneau Avenue, purchased by Captain Frederick Pabst himself. But Pabst closed down its Milwaukee operations and moved away, first to San Antonio, then to Los Angeles.

While they’re not actually reopening the brewery, the current incarnation of Pabst is going to be making some beer in the old complex:

The brewery behind Pabst Blue Ribbon intends to open a microbrewery and tasting room in their former complex, a mixed-use development located in downtown Milwaukee. The complex’s main building was constructed in 1871 as a German Methodist church and acquired by Pabst in 1898.

Pabst has previously used the building as a bar and restaurant for its employees, as well as a training and conference center. “The fact that Pabst is coming back to brew at the original site, but in such a unique spot, is thrilling for me,” said Milwaukee restaurateur Mike Eitel, who will operate a restaurant and tavern in the building, one floor above Pabst’s ground-floor microbrewery and tasting room.

As per Eugene Kashper, Pabst’s chairman and CEO, the company plans to use their new brewery to experiment with recipes for discontinued, pre-Prohibition beer brands, including Kloster Beer, Old Tankard Ale and others.

A Milwaukee ale house recently revived Old Tankard Ale on a limited basis.

To me, this seems a good sign, if only because Pabst, which owns a couple of dozen brand names from the past, hasn’t actually brewed any beer for some time now: production has been outsourced to various other brewers. PBR itself is brewed at a Miller facility.

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Because boys don’t diet

The Coca-Cola Company says so:

I think I’ll take another swig of Dr Pepper.


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Thank heaven for artificial flavor

I don’t think natural flavors would enhance this concoction in the least:

And are there crumbs? A proper funnel cake leaves bits and pieces of itself behind, usually on one’s shirt.

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How much is that in bits?

Sonic Rainboom at AFK TavernA Seattle drinkery called the AFK Tavern features an utterly fanciful, if perhaps a trifle pricey, libation called the Sonic Rainboom:

Flying against some Wonderbolts, or simply celebrating a friend’s big day? This colorful dropshot ought to help!

“Colorful,” from the looks of things, doesn’t even begin to describe this particular drink. On the off-chance that you’re wondering what the buck goes into this quasi-Equestrian delight:

Um, thanks, M. A. Larson! (Yet another excuse to go to Seattle some day, preferably in a rented car that doesn’t have Oklahoma plates.)

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Not to be confused with National Bohemian

Raise a suitable container of Queen Bohemian Lager:

An official Queen-branded lager has been announced.

Entitled “Queen Bohemian Lager” after the band’s classic hit “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the beer has been released in conjunction with the 40 year anniversary of their 1975 hit single.

It comes just months after the band released their own brand of vodka — “Killer Queen” after the hit single of the same name. That too was celebrating its 40th anniversary.

I’m wondering what we get when “Fat Bottomed Girls” turns 40 in 2018.

Disclosure: I have had exactly one Natty Boh in my life.

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Shining through

Even the deadest product is subject to reanimation at any time:

Note that Pepsi’s arch-rival did its own exhumation, however briefly:

Last year, Coke produced a small amount of its Surge soda exclusively for Amazon and the product sold out almost right away.

Had her budget permitted, Trini might have bought the entire shipment herself.

And you’ll notice Coca-Cola didn’t bother to revive Tab Clear, the official drink of bloggers.

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If it’s sufficiently cold out, and the refrigerator is sufficiently close to full, it makes a certain amount of sense to leave the Pepsi out in the car, where it will be properly chilled without crowding out the asparagus.

Until, inevitably, this happens:

This week, I brought in one 12-pack from the cold. Except the Pepsi wasn’t just liquid — more like a slushy.

That’s a little too ice cold for my son’s taste.

The closest I’ve come to something comparable was watching someone parking a can of [name of drink] in the freezer on a Friday before a long weekend, presumably forgetting about it, and then retrieving it on Tuesday. By this time, the contents have frozen solid, and, being largely water, they have expanded, meaning the can itself has been deformed into something other than the neat cylinder it used to be. The eventual discovery of this phenomenon was greeted with some choice Anglo-Saxonisms by the owner of the [name of drink]sicle.

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On the hand-cut rocks

Just in case your drink doesn’t cost enough:

Now that we’ve entered the “craft cocktail” era, drinks with double-digit price tags are just par for the course. And in many cities, there’s a decent chance that your fancy craft drink now comes with a large, crystal-clear cube or rectangle that melts unhurriedly in your glass. That’s right: Artisanal ice is a thing.

Excuse me? That’s what we said when the Washington City Paper reported that a restaurant called Second State will charge $1 per “hand-cut rock” if you order from its rye whiskey menu. (If you order one of the cocktails, which range from $11 to $17, the fancy cubes are included gratis.)

And apparently it’s a cut above the stuff routinely coughed up by your Frigidaire:

Regular ice is cloudy because of the minerals like calcium in tap water, [Joe] Ambrose says. (Editor’s note: Air bubbles that form as water crystallizes also contribute to the clouds, as some commenters informed us.) So he filters water, and then puts it in a big machine made by Clinebell — the same machine that makes those huge blocks for ice sculptures.

The machine churns out 200- to 300-pound blocks of crystal-clear ice. Ambrose or his partner, Owen Thomson, director of the beverage program at Range restaurant, then cut up these giant blocks into 25-pound slabs or 2-inch cubes with a band saw.

“It’s hard work: You’re dealing with ice and slippery surfaces, and working with a blade that’s made for cutting up cows,” says Ambrose. “It’s a little scary, especially when the blades wear down and pop and metal goes flying across the room. Oh, and your hands get really cold.”

I expect a dispenser for these to show up in next year’s Sub-Zero hyperfridges.

(Via Consumerist.)

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Hops right onto the toast

It’s newer than Nutella, and far more inexplicable, perhaps:

Beer lovers, rejoice! The world’s first spreadable beer — “Birra Spalmabile” — is a genius Italian invention that allows you to enjoy your favorite beverage early in the day, completely guilt-free. No one can judge you for indulging in this delectable beer-based breakfast spread — just slather the stuff on your toast and crepes, or stuff it in your pastry.

Made of 40 percent beer, Birra Spalmabile is predominantly sweet to taste. The spread comes in two flavors — one light and delicate, and the other with an intense aroma and stronger taste. Both flavors are available for purchase internationally at $51 for a 280-gram jar.

Ten ounces for $51 may seem a bit steep, but hey, at least it isn’t Country Crock.

(Via WFMU.)

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Somewhat unlike Mountain Dew

At least, that’s what I’ve been given to believe:

You know, plants, if you’re just gonna hurl all over the place — well, I don’t know if it’s worth it burning all that Shell V-Power just to get you guys some carbon dioxide.

If you can deal with this, you can use it to wash down some Kale Granola Chocolate Bark by Coracao Confections.

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