Goings on

Alcohol by any other name

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) wants us to know that the federal government releases its 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and there’s good news for imbibers.

First, the guidelines define a drink as 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits, that’s 40% alcohol by volume; 5 ounces of wine at 12% alcohol by volume; and 12 ounces of regular beer at 5% alcohol by volume.

In each of the above, you will take in 0.6 fluid ounces of ethanol.

According to the DISCUS press release, the government has “scientifically” determined that a standard drink of wine, beer, or spirits equals the same fluid ounces of alcohol.

Maybe so, but this is not news. We knew this information 30 years ago.

We also knew then, and know now, that the spirits industry is rabid about making sure that people understand that alcohol is alcohol—the industry gets annoyed that wine benefits from the hype about moderate alcohol consumption being good for our health, leaving spirits behind.

The press release goes on to talk about what constitutes moderation: one drink each day for women and two drinks each day for men, of any standard drink of alcohol.

Then, the Wine Institute issued its press release on the matter; here’s a portion of what that California organization said:

“…we agree with the time-tested definition of a serving as being 12 fl. oz. of regular beer, 5 fl. oz. of wine, or 1.5 fl. oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits but are concerned about the additional statement that each of the drinks contains the same amount of alcohol…in reality, alcohol content varies widely from drink to drink. Consumers should not be misled into believing there is such a thing as a ‘standard drink.’ In fact, the term ‘standard drink’ does not appear in the Dietary Guidelines.”

Wow. It appears there’s a drinks war going on.

If the Wine Institute had asked me I would have advised this response:

A drink may be a drink, but it’s not nearly as easy to pair a shot of spirits with a meal as it is to pair a glass of wine with a meal—and leave it at that.

Sabbath? What Sabbath?

Hubris and hypocrisy can be funny.

Georgia is one of three states remaining that does not allow alcohol sales on Sunday, but the legislature is addressing the issue and the law likely will change, if it hasn’t already.

Last January Connecticut, Indiana, and Texas became the 45th, 46th, and 47th states to lift the Sunday alcohol sales ban.


Because state coffers are empty and by adding one more day of alcohol sales to the week each state brings in one more day of tax revenue.

Follow the money–always.

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