High-Flying Cuisine, Awesome Beer and the Occasional Zombie
Brian is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
America is all about freedom of choice. The free enterprise system has enabled us to have nearly limitless choices in what we purchase, and companies constantly strive to improve the products and services they offer us. Today we learn about an airline that seeks to make dining with them a memorable experience (for the right reasons -- flavor and variety -- not for indigestion and heartburn), a renowned beer maker that seeks to expand our drinking horizons (in number of different beer styles, not how much we drink); and some riled up Zombies trying to secure the right to watch their favorite TV program. With the Zombie demographic, the quality of cuisine you offer is not of particular importance to them, but they are apparently rather picky about the entertainment they purchase.
Can Airline Food Be Delicious? (I’m Skeptical)
That in-flight meal you had on a recent plane ride from JFK to LAX probably won’t rank in the top ten culinary experiences of your life. And there’s a reason so many travelers prefer to eat at the airport restaurants with reliable brand names and cuisine styles instead of risking being served something that only vaguely resembles meat when they board the plane. A friend of mine described a recent pasta meal he was served as “having the rich aroma of analgesic balm.”
I’ve always wondered why airline food couldn’t be a bit tastier, and have more variety. American Airlines, Inc., a subsidiary of AMR Corp. (NASDAQOTH: AAMRQ.PK), believes this is possible and is now giving First and Business class customers the opportunity to pre-select their desired entrée from menu choices at the company’s website. The airline’s chefs promise to “create culinary options that appeal to a wide array of palates.”
This new meal program is being rolled out on select flights in October, with more to be added in November. By the first quarter of 2013, the program will be made available to passengers on all domestic flights. The company’s press release points out that since 1988 they have engaged prominent chefs to help guide their in-flight service program.
Maybe if American gets the reputation for serving delicious food, their competitors will follow suit and we will be on the cusp of a culinary revolution in the sky -- a new era where you no longer have to guess what’s on that tray the flight attendant just set down in front of you. Or regret you left your supply of Tums in the suitcase when you checked in.
Roll Out the Barrels
Samuel Adams beer is the brand name of Boston Beer (NYSE: SAM). Over the last five years, this company has garnered more awards in beer competitions around the world than any other brewery. They now brew more than 50 styles of beer in the “craft” style of brewing, which roughly translates into “this stuff is really good and deservedly costs a little more.”
Founder Jim Koch started this wonderful entrepreneurial success story by making beer in his home kitchen from a recipe he found in his father’s attic. To inspire other would-be home beer makers, the company has an annual Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest. The 2012 winners’ brews -- entries that prevailed over nearly 1,000 others -- will be sold in six-packs in select retail stores in 2013. Two previous winners of the contest have already turned their passion for home brewing into a career. My question is: How does one get selected to be a judge for this contest?
It’s Not Easy Being Undead
None of us likes having our favorite TV program taken away, but for Zombies, it can be especially disheartening, even though their hearts don’t actually beat. In case you missed it, Oct. 13 was World Zombie Day. In this year’s event, the undead from across this great country joined (rapidly decaying) hands to demand that their beloved TV program, “The Walking Dead,” be returned to DISH Network subscribers. It seems DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH) dropped AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX), which produces “The Walking Dead,” from its programming choices for subscribers.
This program is the most watched basic cable drama series with adults 18-49 years of age, and at the Emmy Awards has twice won the coveted Outstanding Prosthetic Make-Up award.
Zombies are perhaps not known for their organization skills, but in this case they were motivated to launch planned protests of this entertainment injustice in Washington, D.C. and other cities. Of course, in the nation’s capital, it’s hard for zombies to really stand out -- they look so much like network news correspondents -- so the protest may have had limited impact. One aspect of the protest was to tell the living as well as the undead to switch to a cable provider that offers the AMC family of programming.
Jonathan Ackerman, who organizes one of the largest Zombie Day Events, the Zombie Pub Crawl, declared, “It is a true Zombie crisis!” No word on whether DIRECTV (NASDAQ: DTV), which carries AMC programs, is offering any incentives to new Zombie subscribers such as free downloads of movies they might enjoy like “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead.”
But with all that we have to worry about these days, I’d say to these legions of Zombies, it’s only a TV show! Get a Life!
Wait, they might find that insensitive.
Don’t Let the Zombies Scare You
On many cross-country airline trips, I’ve been stuck sitting next to someone I’d describe as a Zombie. The lack of intelligible conversation is one tip-off. They also tend to doze off and drool. Luckily now I can ignore them as I enjoy my delicious in-flight meal I selected myself, provided by American Airlines. It would be perfect if I could enjoy a Samuel Adams Boston Lager as I dine, but with the airline industry, we have to be satisfied when they take these baby steps to make flying an enjoyable experience once again.
PhoenixBrian has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Boston Beer. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Boston Beer. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.