I’m an avid believer in discussing ideas over a few drinks. Sure, the more the alcohol consumed the more outrageous the idea, but it was one point of business advice that my dad gave me, or his excuse for having a “meeting” with his friends at the pub.
Need a reason to encourage a weekly drinks sesh with your boss? Here are five ideas:
The birth of the buffalo wings are as random as the name. Teressa Bellissimo, proprietress of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY (hence the name), came up with the idea in 1964. But no one is quite sure of how the idea actually came about:
According to the Teressa’s husband, she created the popular appetizer after accidentally receiving a shipment of wings instead of chicken necks, which the family used in spaghetti sauce. But their son has another version of the story: in the ‘60s, many of the bar’s patrons avoided red meat and poultry on Fridays. He claims that the bar threw together the wings late one Friday evening to serve to some clients as a midnight snack.
The Modern Straw
The concept of the straw dates back to the Babylonians, but the straw we modern-day folk know can be traced back to one creative drinker in the 1880s. Inventor Marvin Chester Stone was at his home in D.C, relaxing after a long day with a mint julep. Delicious. However, the straw he was using was a long tube of rye, which shredded and added a hint of grass to the flavour of his julep. A purist, Stone was bleak and so wrapped paper around a pencil to create a tube and, after removing the pencil, glued the strips together. Viola. Eventually, replacing glue with wax (so that it didn’t melt in his drink) he redefined the device.
The bendy part wasn’t added until 1930. Inventor Joseph B. Friedman was at a soda fountain in San Francisco when he noticed that his young daughter, Judith, was having trouble with her milkshake. Little Judith was too short to reach the top of the straw with her mouth, and the milkshake went frustratingly un-drank. Friedman had a simple solution: he slipped a straw over a screw and used dental floss to imprint the screw’s grooves in the paper. In that moment the bendy straw was born, and the world has enjoyed just a little more flexibility to this day.
No, not that kinda shark week, the Discovery Channel kind. Apparently, the channels executives, John Hendricks, Clark Bunting, and Steve Cheskin gathered in a nearby bar for an “after-work brainstorming session.”
Due perhaps to the foggy nature of its origin, nobody can seem to remember exactly who first shouted: “You know what would be awesome? Shark Week!” All we know is that the rest is (toothy, terrifying) history.
The Laffer Curve
This is a perfect example of who you know. In 1974 Jude Wanniski, then-associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, attended a dinner with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and professor Arthur Laffer of The University of Chicago.
When the conversation turned to taxes, Dr. Laffer is said to have grabbed his napkin and drawn a simple graph representing the tradeoff between tax rates and tax revenues. The graph, which later became known as the Laffer Curve, was popularized by Wanniski in the Wall Street Journal, and later became a linchpin in Reagan’s economic platform during his 1980 presidential campaign.
Who knows what graph we would be using if Jude hadn’t thought it useful.
Jameson Caskmates is another such idea, the brainchild of a whiskey distiller and a beer brewer over a few pints:
The barside meeting of the minds resulted in a novel idea: Jameson sent some of their whiskey barrels to Franciscan Well, where they were used to age their Irish stout. Once seasoned with the stout, the barrels returned to the Jameson distillery, where they were filled with the famous triple-distilled spirit they’re known for. The result is Jameson Caskmates, a head-turning, modern Irish whiskey with notes of coffee, cocoa, and butterscotch, best enjoyed on the rocks or neat.
Now go get some work-related “brainstorming” done.
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