Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Was it a Christmas novel/stocking filler?
Who's idea was it?
Probably because novels were a primary part of TSR revenue back then, so churning them out was worthwhile even if the novel itself wasn't per se. SOMEONE would buy it "because Volo" or "because FR" or "because TSR made a novel and the are D&D"
Especially since TSR was in financial trouble by the date this novel was published n '95.