As of now, and for the next 10 years, Pepsi is the official soft drink of Volusia County.

From now on, county workers and visitors in county government buildings will see Pepsi vending machines and signs urging them to consume Pepsi’s beverages when they are thirsty.

“It looked like good money to me,” County Chair Jeff Brower said, referring to the contract between the county and the beverage behemoth.

Pepsi will be sold in vending machines in virtually all county buildings except for those on Daytona Beach International Airport. The airport properties may be added to the Pepsi marketing later.

Indeed, the county will receive $100,750 from Pepsi for the first year of the deal, and a minimum of $845,000 over the decade. Pepsi’s payments will go into the general fund of the county’s budget.

“We need to find new revenue besides just raising taxes,” Brower added.

“Any money coming into the county is great,” Jeaniene Jennings, the county’s director of business services, told The Beacon.

Jennings added the county would like to see Pepsi pay to have its name attached to the Ocean Center, as in the Pepsi Ocean Center.

This sort of green — as in greenbacks — new deal came about in a rather quiet and subtle way. The contract between the county and Pepsi appeared on the consent agenda of the County Council’s June 20 meeting. In fact, it was the second item on the consent agenda — hiding in plain sight for anyone curious about the proposal.

Consideration of the consent agenda comes immediately following the opening round of public participation of a meeting. Of the 29 items on the consent agenda, County Council members “pulled,” or removed four items for discussion or special attention, but the Pepsi contract was not one of them. In fact, no council members or senior staffers uttered a word about the Pepsi contract. The Pepsi deal awaited and received silent approval.

Note the wording of Item B on the consent agenda: “Exclusive Pouring Right and Vending Services – PepsiCo Beverage Sales LLC.”

Thus, the council unanimously ratified the consent agenda, including the new business arrangement with the well-known global bottler and rival of no-less well-known Coca-Cola.

The heart of the 28-page pact between Pepsi and the county government appears on Page 3:

“Exclusivity. Pepsi will be the exclusive Beverage supplier to, and Beverage sponsor of, Customer [Volusia County] and the Facilities, including any applicable Teams. Customer will take all necessary steps to ensure that the Products are the exclusive Beverages of their respective types dispensed or otherwise made available, or in any way advertised, displayed, represented or promoted at or in connection with the Facilities and applicable Teams by any method or through any medium whatsoever (including without limitation digital, print, broadcast, direct mail, coupons, handbills, displays and signage), whether public or private. Customer will not serve, dispense or otherwise make available or permit the availability of, or in any way advertise, display, represent or promote beverage products licensed by, or provided by bottlers licensed by The Coca-Cola Company or any affiliate thereof, or any other supplier of Competitive Products.” [Capitalized words as they appear in the contract]

The effort to boost revenues from private corporations follows from the County Council’s decision last year to seek more sponsorships and to sell naming rights of county assets to companies wanting to put the brands of their products and services out before the public. The council entered into an agreement with the Superlative Group, of Cleveland, to help recruit businesses willing to advertise their presence and increase the county’s revenues. That would apply to makers and marketers of products other than soft drinks, however.

Another provision of the Pepsi contract explains:

“Sponsorship and Promotional Rights. Pepsi shall have the right to advertise its Products on signage at the Facilities and in print advertising…. In addition, Customer hereby grants Pepsi the right to promote the fact that Pepsi is the official and exclusive Beverage sponsor of Customer.”

The Pepsi contract further defines beverages as “all carbonated and non-carbonated, non-alcoholic drinks, however dispensed during the Term of this Agreement.”

Those nonalcoholic drinks include not only Pepsi and its like-named variants, but also “water, isotonics, coffees and teas, juices, energy drinks and other beverages from Pepsi,” the contract notes.

As well as having Pepsi as the county’s official soft drink, county officials hope companies will seek to put their names and corporate logos on public assets.

Other possibilities include naming beach approaches after businesses willing to pay to add their names to the beach ramps.

If the county has convinced Pepsi to pay to be Volusia County’s official soft drink, would the county consider having other official products — such as an official beer?

“We need to be careful about what we advertise,” Jennings concluded, adding she doubts the county government would partner with a distillery or brewery.

The Pepsi contract went into effect July 1. It expires June 30, 2033.



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