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Archive for January 7th, 2008

Not for the war, perhaps, but for British beer. Ron has recently shown how consumption peaked in 1914, and the Times fills in the dots between the figures by reprinting their editorial of 7 January 1915. It’s a war tax, of course:

The fall in the consumption of beer, as shown by the output of some of the leading breweries, has been nearly double Mr. Lloyd Georges’s estimate. For instance, the output of one large brewery from November 23 to December 31 was 7,895 barrels, as compared with 10,566 barrels for the corresponding period last year. If this decrease is maintained the company estimate a net loss, after taking into consideration the increased price charged, of £14,000 to £15,000 per annum. While the takings of licensed houses show, generally speaking, a reduction both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, they also show a noticeable transferance of business from beer to spirits and cider. The increase in the drinking of spirits is most marked in towns and cities. In country districts the agricultural classes have substituted cider for beer. This year has been one of the best ever known for the apple cider crop. A licence is required to sell cider, but it pays no duty.

No war tax in 2008, but the sales are tumbling again. This time it does not seem to be intended from Her Majesty’s Government. And my 21st century spell checker does not like transferance .

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The (US) National Beer Wholesalers Association is asking “Which of the presidential candidates would you have a beer with”, and you can vote without being registered in Iowa or New Hampshire. Barack Obama has a solid lead so far.

The teetotalers, like Huckabee and Romney, predictably get low results.

You could make variations on this theme in other countries. In Germany, and probably Denmark, downing a few beers during a public speech is a sign of being in tune with the electorate. Former president Chirac admitted to the fact that he actually preferred a beer to a glass of wine – that probably did not win him any votes outside Alsace.

In the UK they have the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, a sure sign of civilization. They have 330 members at Westminster and another 60 in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Norwegian politicians? There is always Lars Sponheim of the Liberal Party, who has a private bill in parliament that aims to liberalise the laws concerning direct sales of beer and ciders from the brewers to the public. But he does not have much of a competition.

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