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On the Rocks: The Story of Trump Vodka

News
Source: Bloomberg.com
Source: Bloomberg.com

Bloomberg has a fine piece on the disaster that was Trump Vodka. Reading it, one sees that Trump had no real interest in ensuring the quality of the product. He was peddling it as great stuff before they even had a distillery under contract to make it. And Trump himself does not drink and would not know good vodka from bad….. Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-trump-vodka/

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Let’s Free the Antique Alcohol Market

Booze Politics

Vintage vinyl record, vintage gramophone and glass of whiskey

It seems like every month, I get an email or two from strangers asking me the same question. They read something like this: “Hi. My elderly father died, and when I was cleaning out his house to get it ready for sale, I found some very old looking bottles. Some of them are not open. Are they worth anything?”

Unfortunately, my response never is especially encouraging. There is, I inform them, no licit secondhand market for alcoholic beverages, for the most part. So, I cannot tell you what a bottle of Old Fitzgerald Bourbon from 1970 or a six-pack of Thomas Hardy Ale from 1995 would sell for. Sure, if you had a large and opulent collection of antique beverages, you might be able to get it assessed and sold by an auction house. But even for those lucky souls, it is a painstaking and time-consuming process.

It is a confounding situation, which means, of course, it was created by government. People long have been free to sell their stuff. One need only visit an antique shop or a Goodwill store. There is a market for nearly everything, whether old baseball cards, DVDs and music cassette tapes, or jewelry, antique knives or eye glasses. The garage sale is an American tradition…. (Read more at the R Street Institute Blog)

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Governments Put Taxpayers On the Hook for Micro Breweries

Booze Politics

Jacob Grier Microbrews and SubsidiesGovernments have a habit of issuing debt and giving tax breaks to businesses. ‘We’re luring jobs and growing the economy,’ they claim. All-too-often, governments make bad deals that amount to massive giveaways that largely or entirely obliterate whatever positive economic effects they claim. (Stadiums, sports arenas, and conventon centers are especially bad investments.) Jacob Grier at Reason.com reports that this distressing practice has now shifted to microbreweries.

“Virginia is for beer lovers,” Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) proclaimed at a recent press conference. He was obviously not referring to a lawsuit challenging the state’s use of an antiquated “habitual drunkard” law to jail indigent citizens without due process, but rather to $3 million in corporate welfare from the state’s Commonwealth Opportunity Fund that he approved to lure Bend, Oregon based Deschutes Brewing to Roanoke for the construction of their first East Coast brewery.

Read more at https://reason.com/archives/2016/04/07/crony-capitalists-of-craft-beer

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Idiot’s Guide to Homebrewing

Books
EPSON MFP image
Source: AlcoholReviews.com

Want to learn to homebrew? Then get this book. The author, Daniel Ironside, is an experienced homebrewer. The book lays out in straightforward and lucid prose the what and how of making beer from the simplest recipes (Summertime Blonde) to more complex iterations (Munich Dunkel).

Critically (yes. we’re serious), you can open this book and set it on the counter and it will stay open—which is important when you are stirring wort.

You can nab a copy for cheap here.

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Is Drinking Like Wife-Beating? Um, No.

Booze Politics

A Little Mustard GasThe more one examines the ideas of the American Prohibitionists of a century ago, the more one is driven to conclude that they were arrogant, self-righteous twits  who were horrible at communicating with those who did not share their extreme beliefs.

I found this charming pamphlet while trawling the Anti-Saloon League holdings of the Westerville Library—a public treasure. Consider the title: mustard gas had been used with horrific effects on soldiers during World War I, which had concluded only a few years earlier. Yet, Professor F.E. Mitchell saw no harm in using it in the title of his spoof pamphlet. Bad. Taste.

Then follow the basic logic: liberty, he declares, is not absolute; if it covers drinking then it must also cover wife-beating and horse-stealing. Talk about fallacious! Both the wife-beating and horse-stealing involving an individual attacking the property of another (a woman does have property in her person). Drinking a beer, on the other hand, involves no theft and nor violence toward another. Moreover, the buyer of a drink benefits the producer and the seller of the drink, and the maker of cans, bottles, and kegs. Hence, the comparison is bogus.

Taken fully through, Mitchell’s logic would permit government to abolish liberty in its entirety—in the name of public safety. If you buy peanuts, you might leave them somewhere and a person allergic to them could  happen upon them and go into anaphylactic shock. If you start a company, it might take business from another company, which harms its worker, who might lose their jobs. Etc. The challenge of self-governance is to locate the proper line between liberty and order. Temperance zealots like F.E. Mitchell obliterated the line. You can read the pamphlet at: http://search.westervillelibrary.org/iii/cpro/CollectionViewPage.external?lang=eng&sp=1000139&suite=def

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French Hijack and Destroy Shipments of Spanish Wine

Booze Politics

French Wine RiotBecause, you know, theft and destruction are the proper response to other firms making a product less expensively.

“Spain on Wednesday summoned France’s ambassador to protest after France farmers hijacked Spanish trucks at the border and drained tens of thousands of bottles of wine. The French wine makers attacked at least five Spanish trucks on Monday at a toll barrier at Le Boulou in southwestern France and a stone’s throw from the Spanish border, in what they said was a protest against ‘unfair competition’. They poured the equivalent of 90,000 bottles of red and white down the drain, daubing the words “vin non conforme” (non-compliant wine) on the tankers’ sides. Local police looked on at the ‘social action’”…. Read more at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/06/spain-sees-red-in-wine-war-with-france-summoning-ambassador-over/

And see also: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/10/spain-hits-back-at-french-guerre-des-vins-wine-protest

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