Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
By Micah Hanks
In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell’s proposition to raise funds for road improvement by privatizing liquor sales has been met with sharp criticism from state lawmakers. In the wake of the controversial measure, some legislators have argued that privatizing the sale of alcoholic beverages will, in the long run, only cost Virginia hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual revenue. Though privatization may afford independent liquor store owners new flexibility in the products they choose to acquire and sell, new regulations paired with the privatization effort may do little to boost the alcohol economy, as well.
McDonnell and his staff, on the other hand, claim that 94 percent of all the revenue being brought in at present will remain. In order to achieve this, an excise tax of $17.50 per gallon has been proposed, which will be levied on the wholesale of distilled spirits to raise what administration officials say will amount to $175.7 million annually. Another alternative will involve a “convenience fee” which retailers can opt to pay, which will constitute 2.5 percent of on-premise sales instead. If retailers opt for the 2.5 percent increase, officials say the resulting annual revenue gains could amount to $19.4 million per year.
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
The law is the law: persons under the age of 21 in the United States are legally bound from purchasing or consuming alcohol. Nonetheless, there is the philosophy that advocates how some parents, under direct supervision and at their own discretion, may choose to serve small quantities of wine, beer, or other beverage to their children. Under ideal circumstances, there could certainly be benefits to this practice; for instance, it helps demystify the “taboos” associated with alcohol consumption, something that has been suggested as a way to prevent young adults from breaking the law and illegally obtaining alcohol so they can experiment on their own terms. Given this situation, it is arguable that responsible parents giving their children limited, controlled access to an alcoholic beverage might be educational, whereas seeking it out and using alcohol on their own may lead to excessive recreational use, as well as a tendency to try and hide such activity from their loved ones.
The argument remains, and the way it is interpreted by individuals in various cultures around the world differs no less than it does here in the states. Recently, an Australian Liberal “backbencher” named Luke Simpkins has proposed that fines be placed on those who provide children with alcohol; even if it takes place in the home under strict parental supervision (note that the Liberal Party of Australia is actually considered “right of center,” and is associated with what would be labeled conservative politics in the United States and England). According to an article featured in the Australian Chronicle, Simpkins says that, “Given it is illegal for pubs and clubs to supply alcohol to persons under 18, that should be extended to all parents.”
Thursday, December 31st, 2009
While this time of year is hectic enough to prevent much writing from going on, there has been a brief lull this afternoon, allowing for some words to come forth. I believe it is merely the calm before the storm, as this evening signals not just the end of the year, but the end of the decade. During this decade, I have reached adulthood and matured in ways that I didn’t think possible during my teenage years, not least of which is my appreciation for fine beer and cocktails.
Allow me, dear reader, to be a bit reflective for a moment. My first taste of beer was Busch Light, in a non-ceremonial manner that left a bit to be desired. The body was watery, there was no complexity, and the taste was curious. I thought I liked it, but wasn’t sure. It reminded me a bit of seltzer water, in a way, and I didn’t have another drink until quite some time later, when a friend brought over a 40oz bottle of King Cobra. Without being too degrading and venomous towards the… classic malt beverage, it should suffice to say that the experience turned me off of beer for quite some time.
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009
In a bizarre mock-up of classic arcade games like Frogger, The Century Council has linked a holiday-themed game to their website where players guide a family of Gingerbread people across a busy Highway. “Holiday Hop,” though it may not go down in history as a modern classic among the ranks of other video games, is nonetheless an amusing way to educate people about the dangers of driving under the influence.
Click here to play the game “Holiday Hop.”
Friday, December 11th, 2009
I’m very excited to announce the launch of a brand new feature here at the site: our all new Culture of Spirits Radio Blogcasts!
Our first episode features Micah Hanks and Chris McCollum delving into a variety of alcohol-related news. Plus, our good friend (and very special guest) Jeff “Beach Bum” Berry, author of The Grog Log and many other fine books on mixology, joins us in-studio. The COS gang then discusses Tiki cocktail culture and the most exotic drinks in the world… you don’t want to miss this!
To listen to Culture of Spirits Radio Blogcast Episode 1, click here (or right click and choose “save as” to download).
Saturday, November 28th, 2009
By Christopher McCollum
A few weeks ago, I bought a bottle of La Trappe Isid’or, the 125th anniversary edition of the brewery, named after Brother Isidorus, who was the first brewer of La Trappe. I cracked open this bottle a short time later (about thirty minutes to be exact) with fellow Cultured Gentleman, Micah Hanks, to take a sip of this pretty rare brew. We enjoyed our taste of it, but decided to move on to other tastings, such as the Founders Breakfast Stout. I re-corked the bottle, stuck it in my refrigerator and left it for later. Unfortunately, a day later, I came down pretty hard with an illness that left me under the weather for several days. Needless to say, the beer was forgotten. It didn’t help that I haven’t been home much over the past many days, and haven’t been in the ‘fridge longer than a few seconds, to grab things off the top shelf. La Trappe was left on its lonesome, gradually going flat, while my careless self went about my day, oblivious to the treachery going on in my own kitchen.
Today when I re-discovered this beer, I was left feeling ill again, this time a pain to my stomach as I realized what a waste this was. But I was feeling hungry, and decided I would pay respect to this beer by giving the bottle a fiery farewell.
Friday, November 27th, 2009
By Micah Hanks
Body piercings aren’t for everybody, but in many cases they’re kinda neat… as long as they aren’t through one’s eyeball, or the middle of their pinky finger. Similarly, baseball is a great sport, but it didn’t make its way past third base to being dubbed “America’s past time” by using rotting ostrich eggs instead of baseballs. And finally, following this set of examples, we can safely assume that expecting moms don’t often rub baby urine on their swelling bellies to insure a smooth delivery of their wee-ones… in this country at least.
That being said, traditions do vary from country to country, though none of the bad ideas expressed above are actual foreign practices (that I know of). Nonetheless, there are a lot of bad ideas that crop up in lands afar that are nearly as bad, and leave us here in the west wondering “what the heck?” What follows are two examples of poor marketing from the Land of the Rising Sun which illustrate how not to sell a beverage.
Thursday, November 26th, 2009
By Micah Hanks
This month’s issue of Wired Magazine features an article by contributor Brian Krans, which recommends a quick-chill method for getting room-temperature canned beer cold in a snap. Here’s what you’ll need:
* One container of canned air with a spray nozzle (for use with cleaning keyboards, etc)
* A separate container to hold the beer can in place (preferably a coffee mug or something similar that the can will fit into)
Place the room-temp beer can in the container unopened. Holding the canned air upside down (so that its contents are released in liquid form), coat the outsides of most of the can with frost, making sure not to coat the lid or mouthpiece. By the time the frost buildup fades, your beer will be “fridge frosty.” Use this quick fix to help get your cold on fast, even if you weren’t able to think ahead and leave your six pack laying around in the snow all day!
Sunday, November 8th, 2009
By Christopher McCollum
Halloween and the days preceding it is the busiest time of year for me, and as such, my energy was sapped to the point that I actually developed a mild cold and then a less-mild fever, in rapid succession. The weather was awful, I was outside for most of it, and eventually it wore me out so much that I felt like just crawling up in a ball under my covers on my luxuriously soft bed, and simply hiding away from the world for a couple of days. That is precisely what I did, and after getting a little bit of video game time in on my Xbox 360, I recuperated fully and I am now back to swinging for the fences, so to speak. Here’s what’s on my mind today, as I allow it to become re-immersed in the sophisticated culture that we value so highly.
Friday, October 9th, 2009
What do Jessica Alba, Salma Hayek and Eva Mendes all have in common… and more importantly, why ask this question next to a photo that depicts none of the above?
They’ve all been calendar girls for the ultra-classy Italian liqueur Campari; but look out, gals. A stirring new addition to the lineup is about to shake things up, as Campari has released new images of 29-year-old Olga Kurylenko, co-star of the most recent James Bond film Quantum of Solace, posing with a bottle of their ruby-colored aperitif. Shaken indeed; looks like you’d better shake this one with orange, rather than stirring with soda.
The Ukraine-born actress managed to stir up controversy after her appearance in Quantum of Solace, as one Russian extremist group publicly decried her role as the first Russian to play a “Bond girl,” stating that “James Bond is an enemy of the Russian people” (and an imaginary one, no less, but this seems to have little bearing on the intention behind the statement). Nonetheless, her role in the film seems to have been well-received by the media, attracting attention from enterprises such as Maxim Magazine and, yes, Campari.
To view more of the images of Olga Kurylenko posing seductively with Campari spirits, visit this link.