Saturday, September 09, 2017

Some People Drink A Whole Lot

How is the top decile still alive?


Blogger Pete Mack said...

There's one inaccuracy in that article: it equates volume with profit. The profit on a 1.5L bottle of cheap vodka, or a case of low-quality beer--is a lot less than the profit on a mid-level or high-end tipple. And if you're drinking 10 drinks a day, you aren't going for top-shelf drinks.

That said, that's an amazing statistic. As for surviving: a lot of them don't.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete Mack is right, as far as the contribution margin on an individual bottle of hooch goes. Nonetheless, the sheer volume of rotgut sold to compulsive drinkers makes the compulsive drinkers critical to covering the distilleries' and breweries' enormous fixed costs. Were it not for them, a bottle of the medium good stuff would have to be much more expensive. Take a look at the price of whiskey, or even gin, from independent distilleries like Catoctin Creek in VA: you get a pretty good product, but for a good 50% more for an InBev-run brand of the same quality. And breweries/distilleries are not shockingly profitable either; the alcoholics are what make the business sustainable at the price points most middle class, non-compulsive drinkers will tolerate.

It's kind of like a records or bookstores in days of yore: the place could only afford it's rent to sell you a copy of copy of some post-punk obscurity because of all the copies of "Now That's What I call Music 1998" sold to teenagers for half the price. Only instead the nicely curated philosophy section of the bookstore needing the Clive Custler up front to exist, its 5 o'clock cocktail lovers in the US needing British pensioners to die on pound a gallon cider. Everyone involved in the industry knows the situation is awful, but no one seems to know what to do about it.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Critical Spirits said...

Uh oh. I'm somewhere in between the seventh and eights decile...I don't like it. But I DO like Wild Turkey 101, so...

10:45 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Some of you guys know an awful lot about booze...just sayin'...

10:57 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

What's *really* amazing about this article is that the top 10% today drink roughly the same as the *average* American in the 1820s, where mean consumption was a pint of liquor (or equivalent in beer or cider) a day.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Note: I got this info originally from a really good exhibit on The Prohibition (and the lack there-of) in Seattle's Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI.) It had Franklin's list of 200 synonyms for "drunk".*
It had any number of synonyms for alcohol from the roaring 20s. And it mentioned the insane amount of drinking early Americans actually did. That's how prohibition got so much steam in the first place, though by the time it actually passed, drinking had already gone way down.
It led to a major loss of revenue for the US Government, in excise taxes--much higher than the taxes on the tea in the Boston Tea Party.

* "three sheets to the wind" has always been my favorite, but it actually meant something in the era of Tall Ships--the sheet is the line which controls the angle of a sail, so three of them flying "to the wind" means your ship is out of control and looking rather sloppy.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

>the top 10% today drink roughly the same as the *average* American in the 1820s, where mean consumption was a pint of liquor (or equivalent in beer or cider) a day.


How...did a nation of drunkards end up the world's superduperpower?????

(Was it the advent of coffee? I read something about that once somewhere...)

1:08 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Yeah, that statistic left me completely floored. That is a shit-ton of booze.

6:43 PM  

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