Salty Drinks
A Recent History of Grappa

Alcohol Abstinence Education

Recently in the news, a 16 year old kid apparently died of excessive alcohol consumption at a party. (The autopsy is not complete, could have been other things in his system.) First the police locked up the party host who threw the event while his parents were away. Now they're trying to find who purchased the alcohol to prosecute that person as well.

While I agree the alcohol-purchasing person should probably be fined, chances are he or she will be charged with involuntary manslaughter or something else awful. Personal responsibility be damned, let's blame someone else.

I think that the current state of alcohol education encourages binge drinking, and is the equivalent of abstinence-only education for sex. It doesn't work because it creates an all-or-nothing model of a pleasant act. After you turn 21, or after you get married, booze and sex is awesome! Before, you are not allowed to even learn about it. It's great, but we can't tell you anything about it.

I am particularly perturbed by alcohol brand websites. All of them require you to enter your birth date or click to prove you're 21 years of age. That means in order to learn about, say, the history of a brand or person behind a brand, you need to be old enough to drink alcohol. Why? These sites already promote responsible drinking within the site- it's not like you click through and they instruct you how to drive a car with a six-pack in your lap. And how would reading drink recipes on these sites encourage underage drinking? I can read about how to drive a backhoe, but since nobody will give me a backhoe there's no danger of me scooping irresponsibly.

I understand that these age restricted sites and alcohol abstinence education in general are what everyone has to do to avoid being sued. (Websites are basically ads for the brand, and ads showing people having fun with the addition of alcohol are against the current industry advertising policy.) But I also think that these policies prevent people from learning about alcohol and its role in history and culture- things that would make it seem a lot less glamorous and exotic.