Thursday, November 5, 2009

"DUH!" of the Week...

Check out this headline from the BBC:

Heavy drinkers seek out bargains

This study found that people who drink heavily bought cheap booze: vodka, mostly but "White cider is the beverage to which our patients appear to have particularly cheap access, along with whisky." (Really? Whisky? Why the hell is whisky cheap? It's because distillers dump it to 'own brand' schemes in stores for quick cash; incredibly short-sighted, because it keeps the price of better whisky down as well).

Did anyone really think most drunks -- all the people surveyed were being treated for alcohol problems -- bought high-end booze-o? Heck no! These are the folks who skew the numbers, the 20% that consumer 80%, and they buy the cheapest buzz they can get, something the UK government has made even easier by mandating "units" of alcohol per bottle/serving being shown. Makes it easier for the drunk to spot the bargain, y'know?

So the study is supporting the government's latest plan, which goes beyond raising the UK's already stiff drink taxes: minimum booze pricing. Raise the price per unit to a higher minimum price. Wonder who pockets the difference? Bet it's not the booze producers...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know plenty of relatively well-off people who drink high end and who probably shouldn't be drinking, have alcohol problems that impact their lives negatively in more than one way. Alcoholics are in all demographics of society.

Some even intellectualize their addictions, saying they are experts or connoisseurs. They can keep a job and a decent bank account but they are still "drunks" and often in need of help. I worked at a d/a therapist so I can tell you firsthand.

Lew Bryson said...

No question that there are exceptions, for sure, and there are certainly folks in every demographic. Way too many who drink decent booze. I've seen people knock back expensive single malts like water, gulping them, and it makes me wince on several levels. All drunks are NOT poor.

But the majority, even the great majority? Not drinking A-list stuff.

jp said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1566292/Middle-class-are-biggest-abusers-of-alcohol.html

Lew Bryson said...

Yeah, jp. Seen it before, responded:
http://lewbryson.blogspot.com/2008/09/please-dont-split-that-bottle-mommy.html

Brad said...

Lew, let me see if I have the units/serving mandate clear -- does it establish a baseline (e.g. 12 oz of Bud Light might be "1 serving") against which stronger drinks/larger volumes are compared? So a 24 oz. bottle of BL would be 2 servings, a 12 oz. can of Icehouse would be 1.xx servings, so forth?

You're right -- it makes the thrifty drinker's job easier, which I don't find inherently objectionable ... But I'd just as soon require volume and ABV declarations and let the customer do the math himself. Bonus: a well-earned caveat emptor moment if he's already in no shape to properly compute the best buy.

Lew Bryson said...

Brad,
Here's the numbers from the National Health Service: http://units.nhs.uk/unit.html