Alcohol

The Sweet Spot Between Everclear and Pabst Extra Light

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This week North Carolina banned the 190-proof version of Everclear from its state-run liquor stores. Why? Because it's too strong. As the chairman of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission explained, "young adults drinking nearly pure alcohol are especially vulnerable to alcohol poisoning." Another ABC official declared that virtually pure grain alcohol is "probably the most dangerous product we sell" and has "no redeeming social value."

Meanwhile, Colorado is cracking down on bars and restaurants that sell light beer. Why? Because it's too weak. Unlike the North Carolina ban (which is similar to the policies of 14 other states), the Colorado rule is justified not by invoking idiots who die of alcohol poisoning after chugging Everclear right from the bottle but by arbitrary regulations that say grocery and convenience stores may sell beer no stronger than 4 percent alcohol by volume, while bars and restaurants have to stick to beer above that threshold. The long-ignored alcohol floor is being enforced at the urging of the stores, which want to eliminate competition in the watery swill market.

[Thanks to David Harsanyi for the Coloradio tip and to someone whose email I misplaced (possibly Barton Hinkle?) for the North Carolina tip.]

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  1. Everclear was a requirement for “Purple Passion” when I was in college in MI. We’d drive down to IN for the precious two fifths for the once-a-year bash at my fraternity (cause, of course, it wasn’t sold in MI).

    Party night came with a mandatory warning: “Don’t Drink More Than Two Cups”. Someone always did, cause we were all freedom loving (and liked watching people drink too much)….purple puke all the way back to the dorms every year.

    No one ever died. Weird. Also – Good times!

  2. The most compelling argument for banning Everclear is that it really should be stored in a flammable cabinet*, and most houses don’t have those.

    *By which I mean a specialized metal cabinet for the containment of flammable substances, not a cabinet that easily catches fire.

    1. Why yes, the epidemic of Everclear-related house fires IS a compelling argument.

      1. “most compelling” != “actually compelling in practice”

    2. but what should be done about inflammable liquids?

      1. . . . but what should be done about inflammable liquids?

        I’d ignore Obama’s new regulations, and just continue to store the inflammable liquids with the flammable liquids.

  3. Have there been a flurry of banning over the last few months of a shit-ton of stuff, or does it just feel that way?

    If so, WTF? Do the bureaucrats feel emboldened under Obama or something?

    1. Four Loko, Spice, too-strong alcohol, too-weak alcohol, fast food toys. Don’t you feel safer already?

      1. It’s a damn good thing our youth have somebody looking out for their best interests other than their fucking parents. Otherwise, we might lose an entire generation…of future statists.

  4. I just keep mine between the gunpowder and the gasoline.

    No redeeming social value? This guy really doesn’t know shit. What are you going to mix Kool-Aid with, otherwise?

    1. An ugly guy getting laid because a girl drank PGA punch would claim there is a social value.

      1. Someone knew what I was talking about. And there’s no reason that an average- or good-looking guy can’t get laid, either.

    2. I will never die!

  5. I’m not from Colorado, nor even close, but eating wings with buffalo sauce during football almost cries out for a tall glass of Coors Light. Sigh. What’s a Bronco fan to do? Watch Tim Tebow sit the bench while that incompetent Belichickhratchnik paces the sideline?

    1. Nothing cries out for a tall glass of Coors Light.

      1. Untrue. I’ve drank a wide variety, drank a lot of that variety, and Coors Light is a wonderfully cold and watery beverage with intoxicants. Buffalo sauce, meet Coors Light.

        “Loooove you,” they say.

    2. Do you want to eat those wings, or puke them up? Seriously, dude? Tim Tebow?

  6. Man, I normally am pretty hip to regional regs about the beer/alcohol industry, but that one (about on-premise being *required* to sell beer above 4% ABV)… never even heard of it.

    Probably just a colorado thing? And wonder why/how it originated? (well, all the 3 tier system rules originated with the end of prohibition and the beginning of state-by-state regumalation)… pushed by distributors? … who knows. Be fun to look that one up. It really doesn’t make much sense to me at all. It doesnt seem to me that the liquor-store/bar-restaurant competition should really be all that significant… they don’t necessarily compete for the same occasions. Yeah, once they have a monopoly on a product category, they tend to want to keep it. But it seems odd that they think on-premise consumption badly affects *light beer drinkers*? So much so that they need a law and enforcement mechanism??

    FWIW, the partial significance of this is that light-beer is both the largest share of the beer industry volume, and also the only segment that’s been growing steadily the last decade. (aside from craft beer, but volume is like negligable in that segment). I can see retailers wanting to protect the segment, but can’t believe they really think preventing people from drinking the crap in bars actually improves their volumes. “Oh noes! They dont have Heineken lite! What to do! Lets go to the suds-mart then go home and sit in the garage”

    Famous quote about beer-distributors: “The dumbest group of millionaires in the world”… because their industry is mostly a bunch of politically connected truck-drivers…

    1. Colorado is not 3 tier (one of only two states, it is awesome). This, i think, originated from the “No sell accept in likka sto” being somewhat overturned recently where now low end deer piss can be sold in grocery stores. I have never, nor will I ever lay down worhtless greenbacks for beer in a Colorado grocery store until they remove that stupid law. I would reather drink yellow dye number 5 in water. I have never seen so much blind hypocrisy. We have some of the most open beer and wine laws in the whole country yet you can’t buy the shit in a grocery store…WTF?

    2. (aside from craft beer, but volume is like negligable in that segment)

      The pool of drinkers who’ll pay $11 a sixpack for commercially manufactured bad homebrew is thankfully small.

      1. A. If you buy something equivalent to bad homebrew, you are a moron.

        B. $11? WTF? Plenty of great craft beer at the $7-9 range. Yes, some is that high, but it is a small segment withing the small segment.

        C. WTF? Bad homebrew. I make damn good homebrew and only a few of my beers are clearly better than commercial versions.

        D. You are a troll.

    3. 5% is hardly negligible.

  7. Honestly, the Colorado regulation is welcome from the standpoint of good taste, but it’s still not a good law to have on the books. If bars don’t want a race to the bottom in what gets served on tap, there’s private ways to signal to your customers that you have quality brew.

    1. Their are some good ales with ABV < 4%. Generally they have to be served from draft. The law is incredibly silly.

    2. What do you have against Lindemans?

      1. It isnt *real* lambic.

  8. How are they ever going to make Purple Panther Piss without Everclear? The horror, the horror.

    1. Is that the stuff that 60% of the time, works every time?

  9. I had to evacuate my dorm at 3am due to Everclear. The guys down the hall from me were having a party. Someone tipped the Everclear and it spilled next to a lit cigarette. Don’t know if anyone was holding the cigarette or if it was in an ashtray. No one died of that either.

    1. No Everclear here in MA, but I remember a party in high school where I was sipping a glass of Bacardi 151 while holding an unlit cigarette I planned on smoking once I put my drink down. As I idly put the cig in my mouth to free up my hand for a sec, one of my more boorish friends, deciding the time had come to demonstrate some gentlemanly suavity, whipped out a lighter, flicked, and shoved it in the direction of my face. I can reliably report that, at least on me, singed eyebrows and lashes are not an attractive look.

  10. Have there been a flurry of banning over the last few months of a shit-ton of stuff, or does it just feel that way?

    Just a feeling.

    Since the California “workplace” smoking ban about ten years ago, the landslide of stuff-white-people-don’t-like bans has been constant.
    It’ll end when the asteroid comes.

  11. They banned it in Florida around the time the move to 21 happened. Crazy shit, Everclear.

    1. My parents, from Europe, used to make their own schnapps and other liqueurs. Ethanol is an ingredient, and the guvment won’t let you distill your own.

      There IS a perfectly mild, “stuff white people like”, redeeming social value to the stuff, even for those who don’t appreciate the fine college drinks we made with it.

      1. Also, it’s arguably the best fuel for ultralight backpacking stoves. You can use it to clean wounds, it’s easy to find, and if it gets in your food, it won’t leave you blind, crazy, and vomiting 40 miles from the nearest road.

        Clearly, North Carolina hates backpackers and wants them to die.

        1. When camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (border of MN and Canada), we always packed in Bacardi 151.

          The BWCA only allows extremely primitive backpacking. Everything has to be in a plastic container, there are no motors allowed and you have to pretty much paddle your ass in where ever you go.

          If you have to tote everything in on muscle power alone, you make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Drinking Bacardi 151 mixed with lemonade mix is one of the sacrifices you have to make.

          1. What’s primitive about plastic containers?

            Just sayin’…

            1. Well, it pretty much cuts beer out of the things you can bring with you.

              Glass bottles and cans are not allowed in the BWCA except when they are a non-food item such as insect repellent, medicines, fuel, and other necessary item which are not food or beverage. Food should be repackage in plastic, and garbage should be packed out, not burned or buried in the Boundary Waters.

              If you like camping and canoeing the BWCA is a trip you should really make. Lot’s of fun.

          2. BTW we paddled 100 miles down the Green River in Utah, total wilderness, pack-in/pack-out, which is pretty damned disgusting after a few days, since you’re hauling around a literal bucket of shit.

            But we still had beer. Of course, it sucked because the Green is 80 degrees or so in the Summer, so we had no way to keep it cold…

        2. It’s also the best way to re-season a briar pipe that’s gone sour. Pack the bowl with salt and drip everclear in until the salt is moist. I have been a teetotaler for the better part of a quarter of a century but I have a half pint around for just such a contingency.

          You’d think these legislators would have something better to do.

          1. It’s also the best way to re-season a briar pipe that’s gone sour. Pack the bowl with salt and drip everclear in until the salt is moist.

            Somewhere there’s a guy who, when confronted with his newly-soured briar pipe, had the revolutionary and very original thought that packing his pipe full of salt and then dripping Everclear through it would take that sourness away.

            And I bet I know exactly what recreational hallucinogenic drug was his favorite during that period of his life.

  12. It does seem that behaviors once only grumbled about have turned into outright political issues. The conservative embrace of communitarianism was bound to lead to this, because the only concrete reforms that would gain enough majoritarian strength were reforming those behaviors that the loose amalgamation of progressivists had once agreed upon, and would again.

    And alcohol prohibition is still lurking around there, don’t doubt it. It’s just more clever and dares not speak its name. See: MADD

    It just takes a zealot or an anti-competitive bastard, coupled with a powerful lobby.

    1. The conservative embrace of communitarianism was bound to lead to this, because the only concrete reforms that would gain enough majoritarian strength were reforming those behaviors that the loose amalgamation of progressivists had once agreed upon, and would again.

      Could you please rephrase this so’s I’s cans understands?

      1. This isn’t flippant — I just wrote what I meant by that and it would take way too long, and looks like a bad and oversimplified article. Others can do better.

        I’ll just say that I think that conservative communitarians and progressivists are able to join forces politically to agree to ban vice, because banning vice is necessary to achieve each of their overall goals. That these goals (the top-down building of social capital for the communitarians, and a centrally administered, service-providing state for the progressives) are inherently different and often hostile to one another is no matter. Vice, be it alcohol, bad diet, drugs, etc., must be eradicated for the sake of achieving each philosophic notion of the overall good. So they agree on the means to get to their ends, and since both philosophies place the common good ahead of individual rights, they join forces.

        1. As Max Stirner wrote, “Our atheists are very pious people!”

          This sort of thing is a very interesting subject to me. Do you agree that the division between communitarians in general (not just conservative ones) and progressives is that the former are populist while the latter are elitist? It’s one thing to try to get people together on something for community’s sake in a mutual participatory manner, and another to shape a society by the rule of experts. If that’s how you mean the words, then the conservative communitarians would just be those who lay on it an overlay of traditionalism.

      2. Progressives + Social Cons = nanny state bans

  13. For some people there will always be some rationalization for determining for other people what choices they have. The urge to control the personal behavior of others is simply irresistible to a certain ilk of person. Unfortunately, it is those sort of people who gravitate to positions of authority. Obviously, those who do not wish to control others aren’t generally inclined to seek positions which give them the power to do so.

  14. They came for the Everclear, and I raised holy Hell about it because I needs it to mix with my Sundrop.

    They came for the Bacardi 151, and I stomped the grounds of the ABC store yellin’ at the store manager to come out and fight like a man. How dare he take the prized ingredient to a Flaming Doctor Pepper.

    Then they came for the Green Apple Sour Schnapps, and I yelled while shaking a torch, ‘What am I gonna drizzle on my Krispie Kreme breakfast donuts, you sonsofbitches!’

    They came for the Mad Dog 20/20, and this time exasperated, I just said, ‘fuck it, I’ll distill a couple of gallons of Ernest and Giulio mix it with an off flavor of Sunny Delight, and make my own.’

    Damn the motherfuckin’ oppression. Last year’s privileges and immunities of a citizen makes you this year’s outlaw.

  15. Have you ever had homemade nocino made with vodka instead of Everclear? It’s horrible, horrible stuff.

    Why do the nannies hate half of my heritage?

    1. I’ve been hosting my uncle from Louisiana this week and have made a Jovian effort to keep him out of the kitchen. How did half of my heritage get a good reputation for cooking? I wouldn’t trust a Coonass with the prep work on my bologna sandwich. Stop humoring them, America.

      1. watch out carville might come get you while you sleep

      2. Believe me, you would kill for my blackened bologna sandwich.

        1. BAM!

        2. That is the heart of your problem, you have to over do everything. It is not enough to get a blend of flavors from a few simple ingredients that coalesce with attentive cooking (which gets confused with jigging while singing a Hank Williams’ standard around the kitchen when translated into Coonass). No, you have to create a synesthesiac Hell. Save the sassafras for the MDMA, zippy. It don’t belong on a goddamn sandwich.

  16. As the chairman of the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission explained, “young adults drinking nearly pure alcohol are especially vulnerable to alcohol poisoning.” Another ABC official declared that virtually pure grain alcohol is “probably the most dangerous product we sell” and has “no redeeming social value.”

    1) I’m significantly less vulnerable to alcohol poisoning than the average person, you jackass.

    2) I didn’t realize my free time had to coincide with your own view of social value.

    Disclosure: I don’t drink Everclear, though I am a ‘vulnerable’ young adult.

  17. One of the best cleaning agents is 100% ethanol, aka Everclear. I use this stuff constantly to clean electronic parts.

    “No legitimate use” my ass.

    … Hobbit

  18. Fuck, now Colorado looks pretty geh.

    Having to pay ripoff prices at a bar to get a decent beer, because the grocery store can’t sell it.

    The stores are complaining that people are buying watery shit in a bar? What kind of pussies live in Colorado anyway?

  19. Is there a betting pool yet on when they go after Bacardi 151?

    It meets the same criteria that they used for Everclear.

    By the way, I sure wish they had banned peppermint schnapps when I was a kid. I was like Homer and his 7 foot sub. I kept going back no matter how sick it made me.

    1. Shhhhhhh, don’t give the secret away so quick: no alcohol has redeeming social value. We just have to ban things one by one or people might wake up from their government-funded dream-world.

    2. The blind bard had a 7 foot tall guy stand in for him? Or was the Odyssey based on his experiences while squeezed into a 7 foot submarine?

    3. Is there a betting pool yet on when they go after Bacardi 151?

      It meets the same criteria that they used for Everclear.

      Yeah, but the call it Bacardi, and that makes all the diff.

  20. (aside from craft beer, but volume is like negligable in that segment)

    The pool of drinkers who’ll pay $11 a sixpack for commercially manufactured bad homebrew is thankfully small.

    The pool of drinkers who’ll pay $9 a six pack for awesome and interesting beer like the stuff I found from Kona Brewing Company that is brewed with Kona coffee beans, however, is much larger.

    1. I had that the other night, along with a Tommyknockers Cocoa Porter. It was an interesting pairing

  21. How does it work in Colo. for nonalcohol beverages? Are bars allowed to serve soft drinks? Are they allowed to serve fermented drinks that have had the alcohol removed?

  22. So beer that most people take home to drink has less alcohol than that which people drive to to drink. Ladies and gentlemen your gubmint in action!

    1. Only you can’t really drink that either, or you’re technically drunk. See how de facto prohibition works?

  23. More nanny state bullshit. God damn.

    Do you know what this vulnerable young adult did when she first had Everclear this year? She said, damn this stuff is strong I had better drink it slowly and pay attention to how fast it’s affecting me. I’ve gotten much, much drunker on beer.

    But that is not the point. The point is, it’s a beverage, people. One that makes you feel like a badass.

    God bless Kentucky, where I got my bottle for 6.99.

  24. adults drinking nearly pure alcohol are especially vulnerable to alcohol poisoning.” Anoth

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