Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One Man Stands Up For Postum + A Small, Muscled Man

Hello. Hi. How are you? I am fine, a little groggy, but fine, thanks. Anyway, as some of you might recall, I recently wrote a post about the elusive and dearly departed coffee alternative Postum (pictured above in its lesser-known, French Canadian form) here on these pages. Yesterday, a man from Seattle wrote to me to ask if I might help spread the word about his personal crusade to bring back the controversial and murky yet delicious bran, wheat, and molasses-based beverage. His words:


I followed a link from an article Dave Hill wrote for Huffington Post, and somehow ended up here. I never heard of Dave Hill beofore (kind of like Postum)

I went online to find out why my favorite hot beverage. Postum, is no longer available, and soon discovered thos heartless profiteers at Kraft Foods pulled it because of slow sales. Seems the only folks who drink it are Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists whose religion forbids caffeine, folks who have health problems aggravated by caffeine, and a few old timers like me.

On doctor's orders, I'm down to one cuppa joe in the morning to jump start my nervous system, and Postum was my methadone equivalent. There is no other coffee substitute. Most of the other ones on the market try to imitate the taste of coffee, and as a s result taste like really bad coffee. Herbal teas are wussy, nothing quite had the "body" of Postum. Kraft did a half hearted marketing campaign in the mid 90's to increase sales, but like Dave, I have never seen it advertised. According to am 1995 article in the New York Times* Postum had 88.7% of the "coffee substitute" market in 1994. AC Neilson estimated there were about 2 million Postum drinkers in the US, and the product had annual sales of $7.5million., While this may be chump change for Kraft, it would make a nice "cash cow" for a smaller company. I guess that is my ultimate goal, to provoke enough interest that a smaller company buys the rights and resumes manufacturing.

I am starting an online campaign to bring back Postum, and could use any publicity I can get.

This is a multi-fold strategy. I never remember if it is 3 or 4 fold until I count the folds.

1. Lobby Kraft Foods to resume production. This appears to be a dead issue, A Kraft employee posted on one site that they had already removed the production equipment from the plant, and show no sign of listening to their customers who want this product.
2. Create as much publicity as we can. The goal is to make a "New Coke" marketing fiasco.
3. Try to crack the recipe and manufacture it in small quantities for home consumption. All the ingredients are listed on the jar, they are available in any health food store, and old C.W. Post made it in an 1890's commercial kitchen. So it can be done. This is to let them know people are working on an alternative, sooner or later someone will come up with something similar, and their trademark will be worth a lot less if there is a viable alternative.
4. Try to find a Postum substitute. Again, here seem to be no others on the market. Postum had a unique taste. I have tried others, but there is presently no substitute.
5. Encourage smaller manufacturers to fill the void, either by buying the rights to Postum, or else developing their own alternatives.

I have started a Postum support group at Yahoo.com to advance these goals. Please log in and join the group.

Robert Underwood

It is my sincerest hope that this letter is in no way a joke. The idea of a man trying to make his own bran, wheat, and molasses-based beverage in order to rile a multi-billion dollar corporation inspires me deeply. Godspeed, Robert Underwood, godspeed. Maybe if we all tried to make our own Postum just once in life the world would be a better place.

In other news, my cousin Meredith sent me this article about a mini-muscleman, which of course got me thinking that sometimes in life you don't have to "make your own Postum" in order to "make your own Postum."

Now, go forward and make a difference out there, dammit!

Dave Hill


Blogger jsarbino said...

Hey Dave,
I saw this make-your-own-postum recipe


9:00 PM  

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