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8 Pull 'n' Peel Facts About Twizzlers

Whether you’re snapping off bites, peeling them apart, or classing them up with a glass of champagne (it’s a thing), you can always make room for a few facts about Twizzlers. There might even something for you, Red Vines devotees.

1. THEY WERE INVENTED BY ONE OF AMERICA’S OLDEST CANDY COMPANIES.

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The history of Twizzlers stretches all the way back to before the Civil War. In 1845, the Young & Smylie firm set up shop in Brooklyn and began making licorice candies—everything from licorice root to lozenges to 5-pound tins of licorice pellets. In 1902, Y&S Candies, as it was known by then, merged with two other companies to form the National Licorice Company (it adopted the Y&S Candies name in 1968). In 1929, the company came out with Twizzlers, which weren’t available mainstream until the '60s. In 1977, Hershey’s bought Y&S Candies and molded Twizzlers into the soft, twisty brand it is today.

2. ONLY ONE FLAVOR CONTAINS ACTUAL LICORICE.

Shocking, we know: Despite Hershey’s calling them “licorice candy” (though not on packaging, mind you), Twizzlers are mostly absent that main ingredient. Instead, they’re made primarily with corn syrup, enriched wheat flour and artificial flavoring. Only the black licorice flavor contains licorice extract. From a health perspective, that may be a good thing, as the Food and Drug Administration once warned consumers about the dangers of eating too much licorice. From a taste perspective—well, nobody likes licorice candy, anyway.

3. THE RED VINES VS. TWIZZLERS FEUD IS PARTICULARLY NASTY.

North vs. South. Republican vs. Democrat. Red Vines vs. Twizzlers. Even though they’re made from essentially the same ingredients, both brands have fiercely loyal followings that tend to think the other side is completely nuts. You’re for either one or the other; you cannot be for both. A geographic divide between the west coast roots of Red Vines and the east coast beginnings of Twizzlers may account for some of the animosity. It also seems to be a matter of which brand people grew up eating. As each side lobs insults like “waxy,” “flavorless,” “disgusting” and “OMG what is wrong with you?!” at the other, America descends further into chaos.

4. THEY PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN THE IRAN NEGOTIATIONS.

It turns out America’s best foreign policy minds have the eating habits of a college senior cramming for midterms. Over the course of a month during this year’s tense nuclear talks with Iran, the American diplomatic team consumed 10 pounds of strawberry Twizzlers, along with 20 pounds of string cheese and more than 200 Rice Krispies treats. No word on whether their moms also sent them cases of Arizona Iced Tea to wash it all down.

5. THEY’RE HUGE IN UTAH.

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Hershey’s recently did some retail recon and found that Utah residents consume candy at twice the national rate. And Twizzlers are a favorite choice. The reason: More than 60 percent of the state is Mormon. “We don’t drink alcohol, we don’t smoke, we avoid coffee—but we certainly do sugar,” one resident told Bloomberg News. Utah also has a lot of kids, with 31 percent of the population under the age of 18, compared to the 23% national average.

6. IN SOUTH KOREA, NOT SO MUCH.

Huffington Post UK ran an amusing taste test that subjected South Koreans to American junk food. To them, eating Twizzlers amounted to eating rubber, and one of them wondered if the candy was “something that grandmas eat to practice chewing.” Ouch. Still, that’s not as bad as the criticism reserved for Pop Tarts (“It tastes like a candle”) and Goldfish (“It kind of feels like I’m eating belly fat”).

7. ATHLETES LOVE THEM.

They’re part of Floyd Mayweather’s pre-fight diet, and U.S. women’s soccer star Sydney Leroux has a thing for them, too. They’re also a favorite with long-distance runners as a quick source of energy.

8. HERSHEY’S MAKES ONE MILLION MILES OF TWIZZLERS EVERY YEAR.

That’s enough to circle the globe 40 times and still have room to stretch across America. 

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Pop Culture
How Jimmy Buffett Turned 'Margaritaville' Into a Way of Life
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Few songs have proven as lucrative as “Margaritaville,” a modest 1977 hit by singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett that became an anthem for an entire life philosophy. The track was the springboard for Buffett’s business empire—restaurants, apparel, kitchen appliances, and more—marketing the taking-it-easy message of its tropical print lyrics.

After just a few years of expanding that notion into other ventures, the “Parrot Heads” of Buffett’s fandom began to account for $40 million in annual revenue—and that was before the vacation resorts began popping up.

Jimmy Buffett performs for a crowd
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“Margaritaville,” which turned 40 this year, was never intended to inspire this kind of devotion. It was written after Buffett, as an aspiring musician toiling in Nashville, found himself in Key West, Florida, following a cancelled booking in Miami and marveling at the sea of tourists clogging the beaches.

Like the other songs on his album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, it didn’t receive a lot of radio play. Instead, Buffett began to develop his following by opening up for The Eagles. Even at 30, Buffett was something less than hip—a flip-flopped performer with a genial stage presence that seemed to invite an easygoing vibe among crowds. “Margaritaville,” an anthem to that kind of breezy attitude, peaked at number eight on the Billboard charts in 1977. While that’s impressive for any single, its legacy would quickly evolve beyond the music industry's method for gauging success.

What Buffett realized as he continued to perform and tour throughout the early 1980s is that “Margaritaville” had the ability to sedate audiences. Like a hypnotist, the singer could immediately conjure a specific time and place that listeners wanted to revisit. The lyrics painted a scene of serenity that became a kind of existential vacation for Buffett's fans:

Nibblin' on sponge cake,
Watchin' the sun bake;
All of those tourists covered with oil.
Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing.
Smell those shrimp —
They're beginnin' to boil.

By 1985, Buffett was ready to capitalize on that goodwill. In Key West, he opened a Margaritaville store, which sold hats, shirts, and other ephemera to residents and tourists looking to broadcast their allegiance to his sand-in-toes fantasy. (A portion of the proceeds went to Save the Manatees, a nonprofit organization devoted to animal conservation.) The store also sold the Coconut Telegraph, a kind of propaganda newsletter about all things Buffett and his chill perspective.

When Buffett realized patrons were coming in expecting a bar or food—the song was named after a mixed drink, after all—he opened a cafe adjacent to the store in late 1987. The configuration was ideal, and through the 1990s, Buffett and business partner John Cohlan began erecting Margaritaville locations in Florida, New Orleans, and eventually Las Vegas and New York. All told, more than 21 million people visit a Buffett-inspired hospitality destination every year.

A parrot at Margaritaville welcomes guests
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Margaritaville-branded tequila followed. So, too, did a line of retail foods like hummus, a book of short stories, massive resorts, a Sirius radio channel, and drink blenders. Buffett even wrote a 242-page script for a Margaritaville movie that he had hoped to film in the 1980s. It’s one of the very few Margaritaville projects that has yet to have come to fruition, but it might be hard for Buffett to complain much. In 2015, his entire empire took in $1.5 billion in sales.

As of late, Buffett has signed off on an Orlando resort due to open in 2018, offering “casual luxury” near the boundaries of Walt Disney World. (One in Hollywood, Florida, is already a hit, boasting a 93 percent occupancy rate.) Even for guests that aren’t particularly familiar with his music, “Jimmy Buffett” has become synonymous with comfort and relaxation just as surely as Walt Disney has with family entertainment. The association bodes well for a business that will eventually have to move beyond Buffett’s concert-going loyalists.

Not that he's looking to leave them behind. The 70-year-old Buffett is planning on a series of Margaritaville-themed retirement communities, with the first due to open in Daytona Beach in 2018. More than 10,000 Parrot Heads have already registered, eager to watch the sun set while idling in a frame of mind that Buffett has slowly but surely turned into a reality.

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Design
The Secret to the World's Most Comfortable Bed Might Be Yak Hair
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Savoir Beds laughs at your unspooling mail-order mattresses and their promises of ultimate comfort. The UK-based company has teamed with London's Savoy Hotel to offer what they’ve declared is one of the most luxurious nights of sleep you’ll ever experience. 

What do they have that everyone else lacks? About eight pounds of Mongolian yak hair.

The elegantly-named Savoir No. 1 Khangai Limited Edition is part of the hotel’s elite Royal Suite accommodations. For $1845 a night, guests can sink into the mattress with a topper stuffed full of yak hair from Khangai, Mongolia. Hand-combed and with heat-dispensing properties, it takes 40 yaks to make one topper. In a press release, collaborator and yarn specialist Tengri claims it “transcends all levels of comfort currently available.”

Visitors opting for such deluxe amenities also have access to a hair stylist, butler, chef, and a Rolls-Royce with a driver.

Savoir Beds has entered into a fair-share partnership with the farmers, who receive an equitable wage in exchange for the fibers, which are said to be softer than cashmere. If you’d prefer to luxuriate like that every night, the purchase price for the bed is $93,000. Purchased separately, the topper is $17,400. Act soon, as only 50 of the beds will be made available each year. 

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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