03 April, 2008

A&W Float

Cadbury-Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB) owns A&W Root Beer, along with more than twenty other famous beverage brands. Recently, they've introduced "Floats," a drink that is supposed to be "everything a real ice cream float should be," according to their advertisement. CSAB says on their website that "The Floats concept was one of the highest scoring product ideas from our Discovery Innovation Group. This group is challenged to find and create new product ideas across our brand portfolio."

Apparently, the Discovery Innovation Group is facing a challenge for which they are not prepared: the A&W Float beverage is such unmitigated swill that I am stunned that it was ever given a green light.

The label claims that it is "a creamy blend of rich A&W and ice cream flavor," but there is nothing - absolutely nothing - about this flat, watery dung-colored slurry that can be considered "creamy," "rich," or even remotely reminiscent of ice cream. The very name of the product is a lie, but who can blame them for that? After all, if they wanted to be honest about it, they would have called it A&W Brown Fluid Left In Your Glass Overnight After You Drank Most Of Your Float And Then Dropped A Couple Of Ice Cubes In It To Melt Overnight And Make It Even More Disgusting. If they had done that, however, they probably wouldn't have sold very many of them.

Here are some highlights:
  • Hardly a delight to the eye, A&W Float pours into the glass as a thin, watery, greyish-brown opaque liquid, about as appetizing as scooping a ladle of water from a mud puddle.
  • The level of carbonation is bizarre. It's nowhere near fully carbonated like a soda pop, but it isn't uncarbonated like Kool-Aid. It's much closer to what your drink would be like if you shook it up, let it foam off, and then sit open overnight. It goes beyond "flat" to just plain unpleasant.
  • Artificial flavors and skim milk do not equal ice cream.
  • The label actually lists nitrous oxide as an ingredient to help make the drink "foam." That's just stupid. No matter how I poured it - including ways that were recommended on the package - there was no "foam" involved other than a thin layer on top that was meant to resemble melted ice cream, I guess.
  • It costs about $1.50 for an 11.5 ounce bottle. Yeah. 11.5 ounces. The company has to skim half a lousy ounce from the standard so they can squeeze out a few extra bucks.

I guess if I were really pressed, I could come up with a couple of good things to say about this stuff.
  • They use sugar to sweeten it (no high-fructose corn syrup.)
Well, I guess I could only come up with one good thing to say about it.


The Floats website.
The A.V. Club hates it as much as I do.

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