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Bad and ‘boochie

Today, Delta Air Lines shows its colors as a US tomato crisis hovers, but first...

Today, Delta Air Lines shows its colors as a US tomato crisis hovers, but first…
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The organic rise of kombucha’s kingpin

George Thomas Dave — AKA “GT Dave,” in the big-bev biz — launched his kombucha company in his parents’ kitchen. Since then, GT’s Living Foods has become the world’s largest kombucha-crafter.

Today, GT’s does $275m in annual sales according to a report from Forbes. The company has taken no outside funding, and GT Dave, as sole owner, is a billionaire.

A fizzy, fermented family

Laraine Dave (GT’s mom and the type of LA mother who vacations at ashrams in India) got a kombucha starter from a vegan friend, who had gotten it from a Buddhist nun.

GT hated the stuff. But later, when his mom made a miraculous recovery from breast cancer, he became obsessed with it.

After launching in 1995, GT ran his company by himself for a year — before hiring his mom as his first employee. In year 1, GT’s did $150k; by year 4, GT’s was stocked in Whole Foods.

The ’booch boom

The kombucha industry exploded from $70m in sales in 2011 to $800m last year, and today there are 350 different kombucha companies.

GT’s was the first major maker, and with a 40% market share, it’s still the biggest of the bunch. GT’s is worth around $900m.

But the kom-petition is fierce. Kevita (owned by Pepsi) and Health-Ade (which is funded by Coca-Cola) beat GT’s to Europe, and Health-Ade has undercut GT’s prices.

The future of the fizz

The kombucha category, which is still growing 40% year over year, is expected to be a $2B industry by 2020.

As big companies have entered the market, GT has diversified.

Two years ago, GT’s acquired a fermented-coconut company called CocoKefir. More recently, GT’s launched Alive (a probiotic apple cider drink), CocoYo (a dairy-free coconut yogurt), and Dreamcatcher (a sparkling CBD water).

But, according to GT, the company’s real secret ingredient is — you guessed it — himself.

Oooh, he’s bad and ’booch-ie
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Instead of spending $700 a year on union dues, spend it on video games, Delta tells employees

Delta Air Lines is trying to discourage — whoops, misspoke — Delta Air Lines is trolling its employees for trying to unionize, suggesting they use the money they would spend on union dues for video games instead. Seriously?

Seriously — In big blue letters, the Delta-branded poster reads “Union dues cost around $700 a year.” Then, in smaller red print below: “A new video game system with the latest hits sounds like fun. Put your money towards that instead of paying dues to the union.”

Well… Delta sure sounds like a fun place to work

Some “skill positions” at Delta, like pilots and dispatchers, have union reps while part-timers like cargo and ramp workers do not.

Of course, Delta caps the number of hours they can work and provides them overpriced and almost worthless health insurance. 

Delta loves anti-union propaganda

Last year, when union talks started to take off, Splinter exposed Delta’s union smear, which included a website called “Don’t Risk It. Don’t Sign It,” and posters ranting about the suits profiting off of poor union employees.

Odd claim coming from an international airline that hit $10.5B in revenue and saw profits jump 31% last quarter. 

Delta’s latest eff you is as provocative as it is smug. The message to disgruntled employees, who average around $14.31/hour: shut up and game.

» Wanna get away?

According to a Missouri senator, Fortnite is f*cking with kids

A US senator from Missouri recently introduced legislation to prevent video games from charging kids for in-game features.

As in-game microtransactions become increasingly common, a growing chorus of critics is arguing that it’s unethical to monetize the addictiveness of video games — especially among kids.

Loot boxes make it easy to lose money

A growing number of video games make it easy for kids to run up credit card bills by offering upgrades, extra features, and in-game “loot boxes.”

Many popular games are free to play and download, but they sell upgrades to give players extra lives, cooler costumes, or other sweet loot — encouraging kids and compulsive gamers to spend big bucks.  

The popular app Candy Crush offers a $150 “Luscious Bundle,” and Fortnite made the sale of different skins (costumes) so integral to gameplay that kids are bullied if they don’t buy them.

Two can play at this game…

“The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act” is intended to ban loot boxes and pay-to-win microtransactions.

Josh Hawley (R-MO), the freshman US senator who introduced the bill, said, “Game developers who knowingly exploit children should face legal consequences.”

Game developers, on the other hand, claim parental controls already offer a way to prohibit purchases in video games.

» Game over?

The US is at war… with Mexican tomatoes, and fans of the fruit will pay the price

After 22 years, the US Department of Commerce has blown up an agreement that manages tomato exports from Mexico.

Now, a 17.5% tariff has been put on the fruit; a tax that, according to Quartz, will likely be transferred to American tomato lovers.

Many American farmers are on board

Tomatoes are Mexico’s largest agricultural export to the US, with more than half of all tomatoes sold in the states coming from the neighboring nation.

But American farmers (mostly from Florida — America’s leading tomato grower) insist that Mexico’s vice grip on tomato exports is because Mexican tomato farmers have exploited the agreement by flooding the market and artificially inflating prices.

Hold the tomato

While summer months are covered, if the US and Mexico don’t come to a compromise, price hikes could spike during the cold seasons.

And if Mexican growers decide to focus on other crops in response to the news, a study from Arizona State predicts prices could grow by as much as 40%.

» Catchup

We wore Swiss running shoes for a week and now we run up mountains while eating Toblerone

Think we’re joking? If you’re in the Bay Area, look towards Mt. Diablo — those faint dots at the top, that’s us.

It all started when On sent us their Cloud running shoes to test.

We slipped into their Speedlace system and started running… straight to the candy store to pick up Toblerone. No idea why, it just felt right. 

Since then, we haven’t really stopped. 

Like running on Clouds (which is probably why they named ‘em that)

Seriously — we wear our Clouds to work. We wear them to the gym. Sometimes we even wear them to bed, because we don’t live with Mom anymore and she can’t tell us what to do. 

Our official verdict? They’re real f’n comfy

That puts us in the same company as Sergey Brin, Will Smith, Roger Federer, and the 50 world champions and Olympic medalists who go wild for On’s CloudTec technology. 

Hell, in true Swiss fashion, even their pronation is neutral.

Try one of their runners (like their newest innovation, the Cloudswift — a performance shoe that moonlights as a lifestyle sneaker) and use our exclusive code HUSTLEWITHON to get a free On pack with your order. 

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  2. “Family owned and operated” makes a monarchy sound a lot friendlier.
  3. You never actually clean anything. You just move the mess to a more appropriate spot.
  4. If a minotaur and a centaur have a baby, there’s a 50% chance it will just end up as a regular human.
  5. “700 million people are smarter than you” may sound like an insult, but it would put you in the 90th percentile.
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