"Blue meth" bath salts and Heisenberg Pez dispensers are helping to curb fans' cravings
When you hear about someone making money from methamphetamines, that’s usually a bad thing. But not in the case of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The city, which is the home of the hit show Breaking Bad, has a collection of local businesses that are cashing in on the show’s methamphetamine theme with everything from candy to donuts.
The Emmy award-winning drama – about a struggling high school chemistry teacher (Walter White played by Bryan Cranston) who turns to cooking meth after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer – begins its last season on Aug. 11, but if you can’t wait that long, here’s some ways to satisfy your cravings.
The Rebel Donut shop gets orders for their Breaking Bad Blue Sky donuts from all over the country. Topped with “blue meth” sugar crystals, the Blue Sky is the first to sell out on weekends, beating out Rebel’s maple bacon donuts, red chile chocolate donuts, 14-inch donuts, the Barney Rebel (that’s crusted with Fruity Pebbles cereal) and 100 other varieties.
“Breaking Bad fans are rabid,” says assistant manager Dylan Mettling. “They drive cross country just to buy them.” And even Emmy-winning (and nominated again this year) star Aaron Paul, who plays addict and Cranston partner Jesse Pinkman, approves!
“We’ve had thousands of orders for our baggies of blue meth Bathing Bad bath salts. It’s just exploding,” says Keith West-Harrison whose Albuquerque day spa with partner André West-Harrison, Great Face and Body, makes all-natural spa products for more than 300 spas around the world. “We finally had to move my family here from Cincinnati just to help bag all the orders.”
Inspired by the success of their Bathing Bad bath products – they’ve sold 1,000 pounds of salts in 19 countries and all 50 states – West-Harrison recently introduced cooking classes, where spa clients wearing hard hats and goggles can “cook” their own blue meth bath salts (which get their color from red cabbage).
Bathing Bad is available in a gift set with lotion, scrub and a bar of soap in a white plastic Los Pollos Hermanos bucket.
Debbie Ball, owner of The Candy Lady, was hired to make 100 pounds of blue ice candy for the first two seasons of Breaking Bad but she didn’t think about selling it at her store until she saw the show’s star, Cranston, offer a bag of the sweet stuff to David Letterman. So she decided to capitalize on it, introducing a whole line of products including Heisenberg’s famous pork-pie hat and even a limo tour.
“The blue meth is just rock candy with blue dye,” Ball says. “But it looks like the real thing. We’ve sold at least 25,000 bags since we started offering it last August, and we get orders from all over the world.”
Albuquerque folk artist, Steve White, has been crafting custom Pez containers of everyone from Frida Kahlo and Kim Kardashian to the Beatles and Elvis Pez-ley since 1999, but his bestsellers are the characters from Breaking Bad. He can’t keep up with all the orders.
“The crew of Breaking Bad are among my biggest fans,” says White. “Yesterday, I delivered a bunch of Jesse Pinkmans and now they tell me they’ve run out of Heisenbergs. I can’t make them fast enough!”
If you’re planning a trip to Albuquerque and want to take a three-hour sightseeing tour of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s haunts, make sure you book in advance because the weekly BaD Tour sells out months in advance.
“We are both super fans of the show so we definitely understand the obsession,” says Jesse Herron, who runs the tour with his partner, Mike Silva.”
There’s room for 34 fans on the trolley tour, which stops at the Crossroad Motel, Saul Goodman’s law office, Tuco’s hideout and Los Pollos Hermanos which, in its civilian life is known as Twister’s Grill.
“Last summer, we arrived at Los Pollos Hermanos and we came across two young ladies from France. Our tour was sold out but they were determined to see some Breaking Bad locations, so they piled into their rental car and followed the trolley for the next two-and-a-half hours!” says Herron.
“They didn’t speak English very well but we would run out of the trolley to their car and point and say, ‘Gus.’ Their beaming smiles let us know that they knew that we had pulled up to the private residence of drug kingpin Gustavo Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). It didn’t matter that they didn’t speak English, they spoke Breaking Bad and that language is universal!”