Good American bourbon was never easy to make. First a sour mash is fermented, distilled into a clear spirit and then it is place in oak barrels to age for at least three years, but the good stuff usually ages long enough to hit puberty, or even longer.
Sales of Scotch whisky in the UK have declined 12 percent over the last five years and the Scotch Whisky Association has pinned the blame for the slump on the alcohol duty escalator. In 2012 Brits bought 90 million bottles of whisky, down from 102 million in pre-recession 2007.
The escalator increases the duty on whisky by two percent above inflation every single year and to make matters worse the 2013 Budget also featured an increase in duty of 5.3 percent, reports Tax-News.com.
The Scotch Whisky Association says tax accounts for 80 percent of the total retail price of a bottle of whisky. Furthermore, beer is not covered by the escalator, hence the association believes the exemption unfairly distorts the market, as whisky lovers are paying 48 percent more duty than beer guzzlers. The association is now calling for the duty escalator to be scrapped altogether.
“There is no justification for spirits being taxed more heavily than beer. After more than half a decade, the Government should review the duty escalator rather than maintain the mantra that it should run for the remainder of this Parliament. The escalator will further depress the volume of sales of Scotch whisky in the UK,” said Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA,
The Scotch Whisky Association pointed out that the Scotch whisky industry supports 35,000 jobs across the UK, including quite a few in economically deprived areas, i.e. Scotland.
A new study released in the journal Alcoholism, which we get for obvious reasons, suggests that diet soda can make long drinks quiet a bit more potent. Regular soft drinks stimulate the stomach in much the same way as a meal, but sugar free drinks don’t.
As every teen learns the hard way, having some food in your stomach delays emptying, hence it delays alcohol absorption as well. Since diet beverages don’t trigger the stomach to delay emptying, they allow alcohol to reach the bloodstream more quickly.
“The results were surprising,” Cecile A. Marczinski, assistant professor in the department of psychological science at Northern Kentucky University, told ABC News. “We are talking about significant differences here. (…) Participants who drank diet soda with vodka had blood alcohol contents as high as 18 percent more than when sugar-containing mixers were used.”
Petros Levounis, director of the Addiction Institute of New York, pointed out that southern European countries have lower rates of alcoholism in spite of increased alcohol intake for similar reasons.
“They always drink while eating,” he said.
However, based on our extensive experience and field trials, we can offer an alternative explanation – people in southern European countries tend to lie more. Just ask Greek creditors.
Marczinski argued that the choice of mixer can make a significant difference and that mixing diet soda with spirits could potentially have harmful consequences.
“In the long run, it’s more harmful for your body to be exposed to a higher alcohol concentration than a few extra calories,” she said.
However, the jury is still out on Marczinski’s findings. Boris Tabakoff, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said the study involved subjects drinking three to four drinks over a five-minute period.
“Few if any bars will serve you a drink that strong,” he said. “If you want to chug your alcohol to the point of consuming the equivalent of three to four drinks in five minutes, you should not worry about calories.”
He added that alcohol is packed with calories, so calorie-conscious drinkers would be better off limiting their alcohol intake than choosing sugar-free coke or Perrier with their whisky.