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Move over Amazon, Apollo Gum has jet pack delivery

BY Michael Johnsen

DENVER — By now you've probably heard of Amazon's plans to make deliveries with drones, but Denver-based Apollo Energy Gum thinks they have something more cutting edge. Over the past couple of weeks, Apollo has been making deliveries of their energy gum with a rocket-powered jetpack. On July 13, the Apollo JetPack made a delivery to re-stock the 7-Eleven at 18th and Welton here, surprising both the store manager and a handful of curious onlookers who happened to spot pilot Nick Macomber and his jetpack soaring through the sky.

Apollo also makes jetpack deliveries to everyday consumers, and previous flights include a personal handoff of Apollo Energy Gum to Jaylen Mosquiera at Ferrari of Denver, where he works as a salesman. Another jetpack delivery put Macomber in the middle of Downtown Denver with a perfect touchdown at the front doors of Denver's landmark Union Station.

Apollo says it is starting a worldwide tour of jetpack deliveries as part of a marketing campaign to promote Apollo Energy Gum, but they wanted to launch this groundbreaking service here in Denver, where the gum is manufactured, and where Apollo Flight Labs designs and builds its flying machines, including the world's first jet-powered flying motorcycle.

The Apollo JetPacks are the latest version of machines developed for the military in the '60s. These modern-day jetpacks don't produce any flame or carbon exhaust—only steam and oxygen—which makes them perfect for making energy gum deliveries. As soon as Macomber touches down, he removes a box of Apollo from a specially designed harness and hands it to the awe-struck customer.

Macomber, with over 450 flights under his belt, is one of two jetpack pilots for Apollo Flight Labs, also of Denver. The companies joined forces for several months to pair what they believe is the future of clean, fast-acting energy with the world's first jetpack delivery service.

Next time you hear what sounds like a rocket in the sky, it might just be Macomber and his jetpack making the next delivery of Apollo Energy Gum to your front door.

 

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Dove Chocolate explores sustainability with actress Minka Kelly in new video series

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — As consumers continue to cultivate an interest in not just what they're eating, but how it's sourced, grown and farmed, Minka Kelly visited Ecuador to shed light on the cocoa journey for chocolate lovers everywhere. In a new video series, the actress and foodie takes on the role of "cocoa discoverer" to uncover not only how Dove Chocolate experts select and roast the highest quality cocoa beans, but also how the company supports the farmers and sustainable farming methods.

"Discovering how and where my food is sourced is extremely important to me – and after visiting the cocoa farms in Ecuador, it's clearly a passion I share with Dove Chocolate," Kelly stated. "It was amazing to see where chocolate comes from, but more importantly, to meet the farmers who take great pride in the cocoa they have been growing for generations."

Directed by emerging filmmaker Pamela Romanowsky in partnership with Refinery29, the videos provide consumers with a glimpse into the origins of Dove Chocolate.

Dove Chocolate has pledged by 2020 to source 100% of its cocoa from certified sources which in turn promotes the well-being of cocoa farmers. As part of this pledge, Dove Chocolate recently donated more than $1 million in partnership with Care to empower female cocoa farmers in West Africa, where 70% of the world's cocoa is sourced.  

"With the help of Minka Kelly, we want to show the great care that goes into making Dove Chocolate to ensure its signature taste starting from the farmers we work with. How we source and roast each bean in Dove Chocolate is important to us," commented Kerry Cavanaugh, brand director, Dove Chocolate, Mars Wrigley Confectionery. "Our consumers want to know that the chocolate they enjoy is not only responsibly sourced, but that the well-being of the farmers is a priority."
 

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Anheuser-Busch to acquire Hiball

BY David Salazar

ST. LOUIS — Anheuser-Busch is bringing an organic energy drink and sparkling energy water maker into its brand portfolio, expanding its reach in the no-alcohol sector. The company is acquiring San Francisco-based Hiball, maker of the Hiball Energy and Alta Palla brands.

The company said that energy and sparkling water categories are two of the fastest growing categories in the beverage industry, and that Hiball’s brands would benefit from Anheuser-Busch’s wholesaler network and operational expertise.

Hiball was founded in 2005 by president Todd Berardi, who began selling his products out of the back of his car. The team has now grown to 20 people, including Hiball creative director and designer Alyssa Wanock (who is Berardi’s wife) and Dan Craytor, VP business development.

Hiball has positioned its brand as pioneers in the natural, organic energy drink category. Its products target such trends in the beverage space as health and wellness, aspirational brands, energy-boosting products and natural and sustainably sourced ingredients, the company said.

“Todd, Alyssa, Dan and the entire Hiball team have created an incredible business, developing some of the fastest-growing brands in the beverage industry and giving their loyal consumers the choices they love," Anheuser-Busch president and CEO João Castro Neves said. "We are very happy to partner with these three entrepreneurs and invest to help them achieve their dreams."

Under the acquisition, whose terms were not disclosed, Berardi, Wanock and Craytor will continue to lead and manage the business.

“This deal is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for me and my team, and I can't wait to get started,” Berardi said. “Together with Anheuser-Busch, we will be able to bring our delicious, refreshing and organic/fair-trade products to more consumers in more places, growing our brands and our share of the energy and sparkling markets. When I founded this company, I had a single goal of delivering the very best organic, natural products to like-minded consumers. I am excited to join the Anheuser-Busch team so we can share our products with more consumers and give our team even more opportunities to grow.”

Anheuser-Busch said it was planning a phased transition of the Hiball brands into its wholesaler partners. The company plans to help expand Hiball’s consumer base while preserving its distinctive culture, it said.

“Hiball Energy and Alta Palla are great additions to our developing no-alcohol portfolio, and we have been asking A-B for a partnership opportunity just like this,” Anheuser Busch wholesaler advisory panel chairman David Stokes said. “Adding these outstanding brands to our wholesaler system increases the breadth of our product portfolio and strengthens our network as we offer more innovation to our customers."

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