Press Clips: The Fizz and The Fury

keurig-coldAs Keurig gets closer to launching its at-home cold beverage maker, Starbucks announced that it’s getting fizzy, and Faygo is facing a lawsuit that might get the AARP in a tizzy.

A few months removed from The Coca-Cola’s Co.’s acquisition of minority stake in the company, Keurig Green Mountain has announced that it will construct a new manufacturing facility in Lithia Springs, Ga., according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The plant is located about 20 miles from downtown Atlanta, where the cola giant is based, and is expected to create about 550 jobs.

Headquartered in Vermont, Keurig will begin making its new Keurig Cold systems at the facility and spend $337 million over five years to build it. The single-serve beverage making machines are scheduled for launch in 2015 and will enable consumers to create cold beverages at home using Keurig’s pod-based technology.

Coke’s investment with Keurig included a 10-year agreement between the two companies in which the cola giant will launch a Coke-branded line of products, including carbonated drinks, enhanced waters, juice drinks, sports drinks and teas. Coke has since increased its stake in Keurig to 16 percent.

The Constitution noted that Keurig “was offered and is eligible for tax credits for creating jobs as well as a sales and use tax exemption for machinery” and based on an analysis by the newspaper, the jobs tax credits could be worth up to $4.8 million over five years.

Starbucks FizzioWhile it’s unclear as to how Keurig Cold will infuse carbonation to beverages, it’s readily apparent that Starbucks sees fizzy drinks as a key part of its future and has launched a new line of “handcrafted sodas.”  Effervescence for the sodas will come from the company’s Fizzio machine, which is designed to carbonate “finished beverages, ensuring every ingredient in the beverage receives the same level of carbonation and maximum flavor,” and also offers “a customizable experience with the capability to adjust the amount of ‘fizz’ in each beverage,” according to a company statement.

Fizzio drinks will be available in select Starbucks locations in 16 states across the U.S., following a test of the made-to-order beverages in Atlanta, Austin and Japan, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which noted that “the drinks are expected to drive only modest sales growth” and are instead part of a broader goal in which Starbucks targets lunchtime traffic. A Starbucks spokesperson told Businessweek that the company is aiming to expand the sodas nationally in the near future.

faygoFrom fizz to fury, with news that soda company Faygo is being sued by the kin of one of its co-founders. Hugh Rosenthal, the grandson of Ben Feigenson, who helped launch the company 107 years ago, is alleging age discrimination as the reason that he was dismissed by Faygo nearly two years ago, according to USA Today.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Rosenthal claims that he was terminated as marketing director of Faygo solely because of his age — he was 68 at the time — and that the reasons that the company fired him were were “inaccurate, untrue” and “manufactured as a pretext to cover up” age discrimination, USA Today wrote.

Rosenthal said that during the last few years with Faygo, a wholly owned subsidiary of National Beverage Corp., company executives had been asking him about when he planned to retire and why he hadn’t yet done so. In November, 2011, after inquiring about a Faygo job posting that he saw online, one with the same roles and responsibilities as his, he was informed that “he was going to train his replacement — and then be terminated,” according to his lawsuit.

“My first reaction was that I was betrayed by my friends,” Rosenthal said in an interview with USA Today. “I had been going to lunch with these guys for 20 years every day. Then I was angry. My work record was as good as a work record could be. … There was no legitimate business reason to let me go.”