Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Q: What's the difference between beer and "hard liquor"?

A: "Beer drinking accounts for most of the hazardous alcohol consumption reported in the United States"

(see Rogers and Greenfield, Journal of Research on Alcohol, 1999)

And the hazardous consumption attributable to beer is greater than beer's share of all alcohol consumed in the U.S.

The Big Beer interests funding the NO on 1100 campaign are trying to convince us that allowing 3,000 grocery stores currently licensed to sell beer to also sell Scotch would somehow be far more dangerous to public safety than the status quo of selling beer in the 5,000+ outlets that currently sell beer. Their explanation is that beer and "hard liquor" are "different".

Well, yes they are. As the aforementioned research (and other research) has found, beer accounts for more problem drinking and public health and safety problems than wine and liquor put together. Of course, the alcohol in beer is the same substance as the alcohol in Chivas Regal. But for whatever reasons of attitudes and behaviors regarding alcoholic beverages, beer is the drink of choice for underage and dangerous drinkers. The research stops short of proving a causal relationship, but experts believe reckless beer consumption is likely encouraged by a widespread misperception that beer is a "safer" form of alcohol. And that's precisely the misperception that the Beer Industry is exploiting and encouraging in this campaign.

Meanwhile, the "Protect Our Communities" campaign has been completely unable to produce a shred of evidence-based research to support their scaremongering that expanding the mix of alcoholic beverages at licensed grocery stores could plausibly lead to any increase on public health and safety problems. This should confirm that the "Protect Our Communities" campaign scaremongering about liquor in grocery stores has absolutely nothing to do with actually protecting anybody's communities. It is solely about protecting one group of vendors from competition and consumer choice.

Nine-hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars of beer on the wall: Many more barrels of out-of-state beer money flows into Washington to "Protect Our Communities"

According to Monday's PDC filings, the "Protect Our Communities Beer Sales" coalition deposited another $935,625 since last week's report, bringing the total cash + in-kind raised to more than $7.1 million.

The latest report alone includes $25,000 from Allied Beverage in Sylmar, California, $10,000 from the Budweiser distributor in Newark, OH, a total of $19,000 from 8 beer distributors in Kentucky, and a total of $85,000 from the state beer wholesalers associations in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

I hope my readers are as touched as I am that this diverse nationwide coalition of beer distributors are so committed to protecting our communities!

To date, 64% of the funding for the "Protect Our Communities Abnormal Profits From Voters in Our Home States Getting Any Ideas in Their Heads About Taking Away the Anti-competitive Trade Restraints That the Beer Industry Uniquely Enjoys Here Too" campaign comes from outside the state of Washington. Most of it's beer money, some is from the Teamsters and UFCW. 26% comes from the Washington Beer and Wine Wholesalers' Assn. PAC. The remaining 10% comes from other Washington state donors, mostly liquor store employee unions, contract liquor store managers and liquor store landlords.