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cowdery
07-16-2008, 18:54
The press release is dated today. The headline says, "NCL Challenges Myth that Some Alcoholic Beverages Are 'Safer' and 'Less Potent.'"

The subhead is even more provocative: "New Initiative Underscores Need for New Alcohol Label."

You can read the release here (http://www.nclnet.org/news/2008/alcohol_howitalladdsup_07162008.htm). That's the NCL web site, which is good if, like me, you've never heard of the NCL before.

If you drill down, one of their proposals is for every alcohol label to tell how many "standard drinks" the package contains. What's a "standard drink"? Here's what the press release says:

"...the common denominator for a 'standard drink' of beverage alcohol is 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol. Based on this amount of alcohol, a standard drink consists of a 12-ounce bottle or can of regular beer (5% alcohol), a 5-ounce glass of regular (dinner) wine (12% alcohol), and a 1.5 ounce drink of 80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits or liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink)."

I think they meant "or" in that sentence, rather than "and," but you get the point. This drink equivalency thing has been pushed by the Distilled Spirits Council (http://www.discus.org/issues/equivalence.asp) for years.

But this idea of having every label tell how many "standard drinks" the package contains is new. By their calculations, a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer contains one standard drink, a 750 ml bottle of table wine contains 5 standard drinks, and a 750 ml bottle of 80° proof spirits contains 17 standard drinks.

Of course, nothing is standard at my house. Here, we drink Chuck-sized drinks, and don't get anything like 17 per bottle. Eight or nine, maybe.

But what is interesting and important about this is that here is a venerable, 100-year-old consumer advocacy group that is proposing a common sense alcohol policy without the sensationalized accusations you usually see, which is why the only place you'll probably read about it is here.

plaid_emu
07-16-2008, 19:45
Well this ought to make Everclear's marketing easy during the coming depression.

"More 'Standard Drinks' per bottle than any other brand!"

bluesbassdad
07-16-2008, 20:39
I don't know enough about the problems of over-consumption of alcohol to judge the value of their proposal.

I can envision two frames of reference. One is that of the liquor industry; the other is that of public safety.

The NCL (http://www.nclnet.org/about/history.htm)appears to be a broad-spectrum populist/progressive outfit, whose constituency is sometimes the downtrodden and sometimes the general public, as they perceive it. I would be very surprised if they have any concerns of specific benefit to retirees who live off their life savings plus social security.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

callmeox
07-16-2008, 20:51
Of course, nothing is standard at my house. Here, we drink Chuck-sized drinks, and don't get anything like 17 per bottle. Eight or nine, maybe.



I'm all for Chuck sized drinks. I think that we have come up with a new measurement of liquid volume.

The Cowdery = 1/9 of a 750ml bottle

Usage: Gimme a Cowdery of Templeton Rye on the rocks and make it snappy! :grin:

TNbourbon
07-16-2008, 22:39
According to Chuck, Stagg equals 15.3 drinks.
According to the bureaucrats, Stagg equals 30.6 drinks.
My heart and tastebuds lie with Chuck, but all my guests are aligned with the bureaucrats:grin: ...



(SB.com members excepted...really!:skep:)

Thesh
07-17-2008, 13:17
According to Chuck, Stagg equals 15.3 drinks.
According to the bureaucrats, Stagg equals 30.6 drinks.
My heart and tastebuds lie with Chuck, but all my guests are aligned with the bureaucrats:grin: ...



(SB.com members excepted...really!:skep:)

I believe it should go by type.

Distilled spirits:
1 drink = 2 fl oz

Beer:
1 drink = 16 fl oz

OscarV
07-17-2008, 13:28
I was always under the impression that the standard drinks goes like this;
12oz beer
8oz wine
1oz spirits

This new list gives me a half ounce more of spirits!!!
See, sometimes good things do happen.

barturtle
07-17-2008, 13:38
I'll stick to Imperial Measurements ifyoudontmind

Pints are 20 oz, works well for a beer, and I'll take my spirits by the gill (a quarter of a pint...yup that's a 5oz pour!!!)

CorvallisCracker
07-17-2008, 14:52
My favorite dialog from LOTR:

Pippin: What is that?

Merry: It's a pint.

Pippin: It comes in pints? I'm getting one!

Schpyder
07-17-2008, 18:52
I was always under the impression that the standard drinks goes like this;
12oz beer
8oz wine
1oz spirits

This new list gives me a half ounce more of spirits!!!
See, sometimes good things do happen.

A half ounce more of 80 proof spirits. Why would you be drinking something so weak? ;)

ILLfarmboy
07-17-2008, 19:09
It seems odd that the standard serving size for spirits should be measured using 80 proof. Wasn't 100 proof once the "standard", everything else was (is) either over-proof or under-proof.



Distilled spirits:
1 drink = 2 fl oz

Beer:
1 drink = 16 fl oz

wine:
1 drink = 8 oz.


16 oz. of 5% beer equals .8 oz of pure alcohol
2 oz of 100 proof spirit equals 1 oz. of pure alcohol
8 oz of 12% table wine equals .96 oz of pure alcohol

barturtle
07-17-2008, 19:21
It seems odd that the standard serving size for spirits should be measured using 80 proof. Wasn't 100 proof once the "standard", everything else was (is) either over-proof or under-proof.



Distilled spirits:
1 drink = 2 fl oz

Beer:
1 drink = 16 fl oz

wine:
1 drink = 8 oz.


16 oz. of 5% beer equals .8 oz of pure alcohol
2 oz of 100 proof spirit equals 1 oz. of pure alcohol
8 oz of 12% table wine equals .96 oz of pure alcohol

Seems that using this a 20oz pint does make more sense...1 oz of alcohol

Schpyder
07-17-2008, 19:23
It seems odd that the standard serving size for spirits should be measured using 80 proof. Wasn't 100 proof once the "standard", everything else was (is) either over-proof or under-proof.

They're proposing a practical, modern standard. The vast majority of spirits on shelves are at or close to 80 proof. It's only been recently with premium and super-premium brands that we've seen proofs rise, but go take a look at most vodkas/rums/gins/tequilas and they're usually right around 80 proof.

HipFlask
07-17-2008, 20:38
I am all for Barturtles measurement. But can some please explain how this measurement sheem is going to help or hurt me? what difference does it really make?

jburlowski
07-19-2008, 09:42
Wasn't 100 proof once the "standard", everything else was (is) either over-proof or under-proof.


And a dollar was worth a dollar....

ILLfarmboy
07-19-2008, 14:05
And a dollar was worth a dollar....

As far as I know a dollar has always been worth a dollar.

On a serious note, I would be interested in how and when .6 oz of pure alcohol had come to represent a "standard drink". A standard pour of spirit, even taking into account some variation, certainly predates the National Consumers League or any government agency. Choosing .6 oz and extrapolating back wards for various beverages seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse.

Looked at this way, if 2 oz "per shot" was what one could expect if they walked into a saloon 100 years ago, and the standard for spirits was 100 proof, then one ounce of pure alcohol would represent the historical standard.

This is just my guess but what I think has happened is that the standard "shot" became 1 1/2 oz. Perhaps it had always been. And the proof of the majority of spirits dropped to 80. this gives us the .6 oz. from there they extrapolate for other beverages. This leaves us with only 5 oz. of table wine as a serving size. That, I think reveals the greatest flaw in this methodology. Who would agree that 5 oz. of wine is one serving? Seven to eight ounces seems reasonable.

bluesbassdad
07-19-2008, 14:10
As far as I know a dollar has always been worth a dollar.


Brad,

When was the last time you heard someone say "Sound as a dollar" or "How much is that in real money?" ? :grin:

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

cowdery
07-19-2008, 14:34
I'm not sure if the Distilled Spirits Council came up with the "standard" drink idea, but I know it from them. Not unlike what the NCL is arguing, DISCUS has always argued that spirits are unfairly regulated more stringently than fermented beverages in the mistaken belief that they are inherently 'more dangerous.'

As for 'standard,' in this case it is been used as synonymous with 'usual' or 'typical' and, in fact, the way most bars make and serve drinks, the typical serving of beer, wine and spirits does contain virtually the same amount of alcohol.

As for 80 versus some other proof, 80 has become "standard" through the sheer weight of usage. Only a very, very small fraction of all the straight spirits sold are not 80 proof.

In the hospitality industry, the standard bar pour for a straight spirit is actually 1 1/4 oz., not 1 1/2.

There's a joke in the legal professtion than whenever you see the word "clearly" in a brief, you can be sure the matter being so labeled is far from clear. Likewise use of the word "obviously." In this case, the word "standard" is being used by people who are urging the government to declare and enforce a "standard" that does not, in fact, now exist.

ILLfarmboy
07-19-2008, 14:42
Dave,

I guess I'm to young to remember when paper money said "pay to the barer on demand". To me "real money" is precious metals. Our paper money, fiat currency, is backed by our confidence in the currency/ stability of the government.

With the Fed increasing the money supply by allowing the banks to create invisible "checkbook money" by pyramiding bank deposits on top of the bank's reserves, a sneakier way to inflate the money supply without the visible aspects of the Fed just printing more money, devalues our currency and leaves the question of just how much a dollar is worth, debatable. Maybe jburlowski was thinking along these lines. If that is the case, I was hasty in my retort.

bluesbassdad
07-19-2008, 19:52
Dave,

I guess I'm to young to remember when paper money said "pay to the barer on demand". To me "real money" is precious metals. Our paper money, fiat currency, is backed by our confidence in the currency/ stability of the government.

With the Fed increasing the money supply by allowing the banks to create invisible "checkbook money" by pyramiding bank deposits on top of the bank's reserves, a sneakier way to inflate the money supply without the visible aspects of the Fed just printing more money, devalues our currency and leaves the question of just how much a dollar is worth, debatable. Maybe jburlowski was thinking along these lines. If that is the case, I was hasty in my retort.

Brad,

King Franklin had already confiscated the gold by the time I was born.

Even so, the dollar was by far the most stable currency in the world in my youth. The reference to "real money" was an Ugly American sort of comment intended as in insult to the host country whenever a citizen quoted a price in anything but yankee dollars.

BTW the creation of new money is fundamental to the concept of banking -- a consequence of the fact that a high proportion of deposits are loaned out, not kept in a vault. However, you are correct in regard to fiddling with the money supply, a feat easily accomplished in a regulated system merely by changing the reserve requirement.

IIRC from the old Samuelson econ text, a 20% reserve means that every dollar deposited increases the money supply by five dollars. Dropping the reserve rquirement to 10% would mean that each dollar deposited would add 10 to the money supply.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield