Tourist spending that Alabama enjoyed in 2004—$500 million more than 2003 and a record haul, which experts say was partly attributable to the huge numbers of evacuees fleeing the three big hurricanes in Florida. Baldwin County's beach community, Alabama's tourism center, was itself walloped by Hurricane Ivan, which cost the area some $133 million in revenue. But that was more than offset by the $240 million gained from the extra Florida visitors, according to a study by Auburn University.
Free Frostys that Wendy's was expected to give away over the weekend, as a thank-you to customers for sticking by the fast-food chain through recent bad press—particularly the antics of a Las Vegas woman who claimed to have found a severed finger in her chili at a Wendy's in San Jose, Calif. (It turned out she planted the finger there.) A similar promotion a few weeks ago was limited to the Bay Area.
Gallons of Stuttgarter Hofbreau wheat beer delivered to the Vatican a week ago at the request of Pope Benedict XVI, a big fan of the German beer. The Stuttgart brewer hopes the unusual celebrity endorsement will help the company build on a recent surge in sales, which it attributes to redesigned labels.