Archive for the ‘US Law’ Category
Monday, May 31st, 2010
By Micah Hanks
Tequila aficionados are no longer the only ones lauding the present over-abundance of Agave, a plant used in the distillation of the Southwestern liquor famously used in Margaritas (and hangovers). Now, the Agave plant has also been associated with beneficial prebiotic bacteria, according to a new study.
Researchers with Reading University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico suggest in the study that Agave displays prebiotic activity, as observed in samples of inulin extracted from the plant. The beneficial bacteria present in the samples, according to experts, may provide both a useful and cost-effective alternative to chicory inulin, which presently dominates the market. However, Inulin extracted from Agave tequilana managed to similarly boost levels of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, two bacteria that are commonly used in commercial inulins, as well as a host of other components.
Sunday, March 7th, 2010
The city of Arab, Alabama, recently got an unexpected surprise: research by the city’s police chief, Mike Blackwood, found that alcohol related offenses have not risen since 2008, when the town decided to begin allowing sale of spirits. But that’s not all, according to a recent statement from Blackwood that appeared in the Cullman Times online. “We’ve seen about a 6 percent decrease in alcohol-related crimes,” he adds, and though he warns that it’s still fairly early in the game to draw conclusions, “so far the alcohol-related crime is down.”
Additionally, Blackwood says that statistics he collected from other towns in the region who decided to lift bans on the sale of alcohol reported similar drops in violent crime related to alcohol consumption. But perhaps the most interesting facet of Blackwood’s findings has to do with how the number of people drinking and driving through the area has dropped as well.
Monday, January 18th, 2010
By Christopher McCollum
It was reported several months ago that the producer of Captain Morgan Rum, Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO), was going to be getting a new factory in the U.S. Virgin Islands, along with $2.7B USD in tax credits and benefits over the next 30 years, which sparked a bit of controversy as they are a British owned company. With this struck deal, Diageo will be moving the Captain Morgan operations from Puerto Rico, where they’ve been operating for generations, to St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, while potentially putting the rum culture in jeopardy.
Puerto Rican representatives claim that this business move will cost Puerto Rico about $120M annually in lost tax revenue, which at this point in time is an even harder pill to swallow than in the past. In March of 2009, Puerto Rico’s governor, Luis Fortuno, declared that the government there is bankrupt, with a deficit of more than $3B USD, making it the highest deficit-per-capita in the United States. Over the ensuing months, there have been plans implemented to lay off potentially 30,000 government workers, and to slash salaries across the board in an effort to save money. Union protests have been going on all over San Juan’s financial districts, and the unemployment rate on the Island of Enchantment will soar to potentially 17%.
Saturday, December 19th, 2009
By Christopher McCollum
Two evenings ago, Micah Hanks and myself were spending the evening interviewing brewers, and tasting beer. The following morning, there were 6 inches of snow on the ground. While we had seen the forecast that called for several inches of snow, we figured that, like usual with mountain weather reports, it was grossly over-exaggerated. Little did we know, we would receive what would become known within hours as the worst winter storm of the decade in this part of the country, and we would receive some 11 to 17 inches of snow in Asheville, within a 20 hour period.
As the afternoon went by at my house, one tree came crashing down in the backyard, missing the house by no more than 4 or 5 feet.
This led to a frantic next couple hours, with my roommate and I doing our best to knock snow off the lower branches of trees, trying to keep them from snapping and causing potential damage to the house. These frantic efforts relieved the stress on the trees and they rose back up to the sky, with hundreds of pounds of snow dropping to the ground, down our sleeves, and down the open collars of our coats. But fortunately, our power stayed on, even though thousands around the city were already flickering out.
We stayed inside, ate ham sandwiches and drank some beer, until 11:15pm. Right after the basketball game we were watching ended, the power finally flickered once and died, for the rest of the night. After gathering all the flashlights together, lighting some well placed candles, and watching the eerie scene out the window, of a bright snowscape that breathed beauty.
At around midnight, we finally decided that since we weren’t going to be going to sleep that early, we might as well make some cocktails. So we did it in the style of Culture of Spirits, with cutting boards, oranges, limes, lemons, tequila, bourbon, and vodka.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
By Micah Hanks
Drink to your health!
It’s true… here is the news most guys out there have been sweating over: Beer, coffee are two beverages that studies link to prostate health among men. Exercise is a third non-liquid ingredient that experts recommend, but before you start sweating over the notion of physical activity, as little as fifteen minutes per-day will show expected results. eFitness Now gives us the scoop:
Studies now show that drinking coffee and beer with a normal exercise routine may be healthy habits for men after all. Men who workout at least 15 minutes a day and drinks more than 6 cups of coffee a day reduces their chances of getting prostate cancer by 19%. The same combination reduces the risk of men developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer by 41%.
Friday, October 23rd, 2009
By Christopher McCollum
Culture of Spirits is not a political blog, but we do occasionally cover aspects of the political spectrum that spill over into our main focus, especially when it comes to things such as prohibition. A very hot topic over the past few years has been Net Neutrality, which depending on the way you look at it, is either a very good thing, or a very bad thing. I will try to not get overtly political in this article, and stay on subject, which is the direct or indirect way that our spirited sub-culture may be affected by this topic.
Friday, October 16th, 2009
By Micah Hanks
A chief of police in Ohio’s Whitehouse area has resigned, one month after accusations were made of having an open container of alcohol in her patrol vehicle. Chief Kathleen Hartle oversaw a school’s anti-drug program in the area. Her resignation was accepted by Waterville Township trustees on Wednesday.
Having served seven years with Anthony Wayne school, Hartle was a D.A.R.E. officer. An incident that occurred on Aug. 26 spurred the allegations, where Hartle was asked to leave a routine township meeting. According to Trustee Les Disher, Hartle “had trouble speaking.”
Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to live by example. However, the tragic irony of this circumstance is difficult to overlook. Since ancient times, the adage that “we become the things we hate” seems to have governed a strange pre-destination of sorts in the collective mind of humanity. In this case, perhaps the lesson learned is that repression of our hidden desires is never the right angle to solving a problem, nor is living a lie.
Saturday, October 10th, 2009
North Carolina authorities are reporting the discovery of 929 gallons of moonshine, buried in the backyard of a man following his arrest on suspicions of selling and distributing the spirit illegally.
63-year-old Roger Lee Nance of Wilkesboro was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession and intent to sell non-tax-paid liquor. According to John Ledford, new director of the N.C. Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), “it’s one of the biggest mountain busts I can remember.” News of Nance’s arrest broke only one week after Ledford was sworn into office in Madison County, where he served as sheriff for the last 10 years.
Nance was storing the moonshine he made in various containers of different sizes and shapes beneath a shed in his backyard. He was arrested following a two-month investigation.
Having only recently taken office, Ledford is already seeing his share of controversy as well. Apparently during his election campaign, funds were accepted from a Weaverville, NC man who supports legalizing video poker and other gambling games. However, the ALE is also the state agency charged with busting illegal video poker. Ledford, who worked as an ALE agent for five years in the 1990s before resigning to become sheriff, says this would not affect his new position, and told the Raleigh News and Observer “I’ll do what I’ve always done as a law enforcement officer — I’m going to carry out the duties of my office fairly and impartially.”
Controversy has involved the state agency prior to Ledford’s election, as he replaces Bill Chandler, who retired abruptly in September following reports in The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer about ALE’s implication in two missing assault rifles and other concerns involving use of firearms.
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
As much as I praise the joy and wonders of responsible alcohol consumption at this website, there are actually a few instances where I would rather not be caught holding a beverage of the alcoholic variety. For instance, the mornings that follow the occasional over-indulgence are some of the best times I can think of not to even look at liquor. Similarly, I wouldn’t want to be caught speeding down the highway with a Mint Julep in-hand, either (this, of course, wouldn’t be very responsible at all)! However, perhaps the very worst time to have an alcoholic drink in your paws would be while handing it off to an underage drinker.
Indeed, the greatest obligations of the mature, sophisticated, and responsible drinker include protecting themselves (i.e. not drinking and driving or engaging in other activities that may endanger those around us), and most certainly, protecting young people around us who may begin to show interest in alcohol consumption before they are able to do so legally. Therefore, with recent information which suggests many alcohol advertisements actually do target teens, it seems noteworthy here to delve into the reality of teen alcohol consumption, and ways it can be prevented.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
The Raleigh News and Observer reported yesterday that top-shelf liquor prices in North Carolina will begin to fall drastically as of August 1, 2009, as the depression crunch continues forcing consumers to opt against buying high-quality liquors. In order to boost sales, brands like Grey Goose are slashing prices competitively as incentives for buyers.
“High-end booze has been taking a sales hit as consumers have increasingly turned to bargain-priced liquor,” wrote journalist Mark Johnson. “Distillers of the good stuff are chopping their prices to hang on to recession-weary customers.”
In reality, “free market in action” may not be the best way to describe this instance of sudden price drops, since the prices of the various available brands themselves aren’t the only factors working against consumers of quality spirits. With economic constraints greatly limiting expendable income, regular consumers and frequent buyers are literally being forced to trade quality for quantity. Therefore, long term effects resulting from prices falling, especially in this case, may not look so good in terms of state revenue.