Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix
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Harmony Leads to Alcohol
November 29, 2006 (USA Today) - Harmony, New York - One of the state's few remaining alcohol-free towns will no longer be dry. Voters in Harmony, near the Pennsylvania border, approved propositions Tuesday to allow restaurants to sell wine and beer. Starting Jan. 1, convenience stores in this Chautauqua County town will also be allowed to sell beer.
World Beer Consumers Win a Few Battles
November 8, 2006 (Distinguished Brands StreetTalk) - USA -And in other recent court cases, an Ohio judge ruled that a state law prohibiting consumers from bringing alcohol purchased out-of-state into Ohio is unconstitutional. Stating that the law interferes with federal interstate commerce laws, the judge also dismissed a case against a man accused of transporting beer into Ohio. The case is likely to be appealed..
Beginning November 1, Oregon grocery shoppers will be able to redeem mail-in discount coupons on beer and wine after an Oregon Liquor Control Commission rule was amended. Backed by support from Anheuser-Busch and the state's Beer and Wine Distributors Association, the change was sought to level the playing field with hard liquor companies who have been allowed to offer money-back-by-mail coupons.
GERMANY-Finance ministers of Germany and the Czech Republic have joined forces to block the EU's Commission plan to raise minimum duties on beer. Announcing their intention to veto the proposed tax, both ministers will express their views at this week's meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels. Czech's are the world's top consumers of beer and Germany is the world's third largest beer producer after the U.S. and China.
Fingerprinting Beerdrinkers - Big Brother Loves Technology
October 20, 2006 - Beer fingerprints to go UK-wide By Mark Ballard - The government is funding the roll out of fingerprint security at the doors of pubs and clubs in major English cities. Funding is being offered to councils that want to have their pubs keep a regional black list of known trouble makers. The fingerprint network installed in February by South Somerset District Council in Yeovil drinking holes is being used as the showcase. "The Home Office have looked at our system and are looking at trials in other towns including Coventry, Hull & Sheffield," said Julia Bradburn, principal licensing manager at South Somerset District Council. Gwent and Nottingham police have also shown an interest, while Taunton, a town neighbouring Yeovil, is discussing the installation of fingerprint systems in 10 pubs and clubs with the systems supplier CreativeCode. Bradburn could not say if fingerprint security in Yeovil had displaced crime to neighbouring towns, but she noted that domestic violence had risen in Yeovil. She could not give more details until the publication of national crime statistics to coincide with the anniversary of lax pub licensing laws on 24 November. She was, however, able to say that alcohol-related crime had reduced by 48 per cent Yeovil between February and September 2006. The council had assumed it was its duty under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) to reduce drunken disorder by fingerprinting drinkers in the town centre. Some licensees were not happy to have their punters fingerprinted, but are all now apparently behind the idea. Not only does the council let them open later if they join the scheme, but the system costs them only £1.50 a day to run. Oh, and they are also coerced into taking the fingerprint system. New licences stipulate that a landlord who doesn't install fingerprint security and fails to show a "considerable" reduction in alcohol-related violence, will be put on report by the police and have their licences revoked. Offenders can be banned from one pub or all of them for a specified time - usually a period of months - by a committee of landlords and police called Pub Watch. Their offences are recorded against their names in the fingerprint system. Bradburn noted the system had a "psychological effect" on offenders. She said there had been only been two "major" instances of alcohol-related crime reported in Yeovil pubs and clubs since February. One was a sexual assault in a club toilet. The other occurred last Friday when an under-18 Disco at Dukes nightclub got out of hand after the youngsters had obtained some alcohol from elsewhere. A fight between two youngsters escalated into a brawl involving 435 12 to 16 year olds A major incident is when 15 police attend the scene, said Bradburn. She was unable to say how many minor incidents there had been, but acknowledged that fights were still occurring in the streets of Yeovil. The Home Office paid for Yeovil's system in full, with £6,000 of Safer, Stronger Communities funding. Bradburn said the Home Office had paid her scheme a visit and subsequently decided to fund similar systems in Coventry, Hull and Sheffield. The Home Office distanced itself from the plans. It said it provided funding to Safer, Stronger Communities through the Department for Communities and Local Government's Local Area Agreements. How they spent the money was a local decision, said a HO spokeswoman.
"Democratic" Thailand Considers Outlawing Under-25 Drinking
October 17, 2006 - (TNA) Alcohol ad ban needs further study - Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday ordered further study of a comprehensive 24-hour ban on advertising alcoholic beverages in all forms of media, a bill proposed earlier by the country's Ministry of Public Health. Issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the ban defining liquor, beer, and other alcoholic drinks as "health-hazard products" was submitted for cabinet consideration in its weekly Tuesday meeting. If approved by the cabinet, the ban will take effect after being announced in the Royal Gazette for 45 days. However, the cabinet resolved that representatives from ministries concerned jointly discuss how to make the proposed regulation more "balanced" before it becomes effective, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said after Tuesday's meeting. The five ministries -- Public Health, Education, Commerce, Industry, and Social Development and Human Security -- must conduct further study as the proposed ban has some dubious clauses regarding legal enforcement against violators, he said. For instance, the prime minister said, the much-debated issue was the proposed article prohibiting those aged below 25 from alcohol consumption, which the meeting held that such an approach will not be fruitful since, in practice, it will be hard for would-be law enforcers to verify underage consumers. The proposed ban "needs further study to make it more balanced and practical," he said.
Minneapolis Airport Allows Discrimination Against Alcohol-bearing Taxi Passengers
September 18, 2006 (USA Today) - Minneapolis-St. Paul is concerned that its taxi service is deteriorating. Citing their religious beliefs, some Muslim taxi drivers from Somalia are refusing to transport customers carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol. It started with one driver a few years ago, but the average number of fare refusals has grown to about three a day, say airport spokesman Patrik Hogan. "Travelers often feel surprised and insulted," he says,. "Sometimes, several drivers in a row refuse carriage." Taxi drivers and officials from the airport, taxi companies and the Muslim American Society are discussing how to address the issue. Partly out of concern that taxi drivers might be citing religion to avoid short-distance fares, the airport is now forcing drivers who refuse a fare to go to the end of the line for waiting taxis. It is not a popular decision mong drivers, Hogan says. The airport is expected to propose today that drivers who wish to avoid alcohol-toting passengers change the light on their car roofs, possible to a different color. Hogan says the move will help let airport employees and customers know which taxis serve alcohol-carrying passengers. Drivers refusing a fare won't have to go to the end of the line. "Airport authorities are not in the business of interpreting sacred texts or dictating anyone's religious choices... Our goal is simply to ensure travelers at (the airport) are well served."
Drunkeness Affects Aim of Acquitted Cop
August 13, 2006 (USA Today) - Residents of a housing project filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming they were terrorized by a former Bridgeport police officer who went on a drunken shooting rampage. John Biehn was accused of going to the project with a loaded gun, pointing it at some people and firing at others but missing. He was acquitted of most charges in May.
Stadium Vendor Not Liable for Serving Drunk Fan
August 6, 2006 (USA Today) - An appeals court in Trenton, N.J., overturned a $105 million verdict against a stadium concessionaire that sold beer to a drunken fan who later paralyzed a girl in an auto wreck. Ordering a new trial, the three-judge state appeals panel said the trial court improperly allowed testimony about the "drinking environment" at the 1999 football game at Giants Stadium. The girl's family claimed that vendors for stadium concessionaire Aramark continued to sell beer to Daniel Lanzaro even though he was clearly drunk, and that Aramark fostered an atmosphere in which intoxicated patrons could continue to buy alcohol. After the game, Lanzaro, then 30, caused the wreck that paralyzed then-2-year-old Antonia Verni from the neck down. Lanzaro is serving a five-year prison term for vehicular assault and settled with the family for $200,000.
U.S. Politicians Forget Beerdrinkers in Luxury Tax Repeal
May 10, 2006 (Distinguished Brands Newsletter) - Hundreds of independent brewers and distributors are lobbying the Federal Government to repeal an excise tax that costs small brewers as much as $3.75 per keg. For consumers, about 40% of the cost of a glass or bottle of beer is tax: excise, state and sales. It's an annual attempt to get a 1990 law repealed on luxury items and beer. Most of the luxury tax has already been repealed, but the beer excise tax remains.
Russia Targets Beer for Trade War
May 10, 2006 (Distinguished Brands Newsletter) - Russia - A ban on Russian beer was called by a Georgian government minister in retaliation for Russia's blockade of shipments of wine from Georgia. Citing fear that the wines contained pesticides and were of poor quality, Russia stepped up its trade dispute with a threat to ban mineral water imports also. Georgia has argued that the ban is politically motivated.
Drunken Golfing a Problem for Korean Prosecutor
July 25, 2005 (Joongang) - Seoul, Korea - Prosecutor-General Kim Jong-bin told his colleagues yesterday that they should be working more work and playing less. Mr. Kim referred specifically to golf and drinking a potent mixture of whisky and beer, known as a boilermaker. Golf and drinking do not mix with the image prosecutors need to portray to the public, Mr. Kim said. Because a round of golf is so expensive in Korea, it is generally thought to be out of reach for what civil servants can afford for pleasure. One concern is that prosecutors who accept an invitation to play at no cost might be compromised. The topic came up at a lunch last week attended by Mr. Kim and 30 other chief prosecutors. "I heard that young prosecutors who go golfing have become a common eyesore," Mr. Kim told the gathering. "Seeing the prosecutors playing golf, people wonder, 'where does the money come from?' And if the prosecutors are invited by others to play golf at no cost, it is even more inappropriate because the host might one day be the subject of an investigation." Mr. Kim recently was invited to play golf at an event organized by Korea University alumni, but he did not attend because he was to be paired with Huh Joon-young, head of the National Police Agency. The two men have quarreled over the issue of how investigations should be directed. Mr. Kim also told the group of prosecutors to limit their alcohol consumption. "A boilermaker is the symbol of undemocratic group culture in Korea. I ask all the prosecutors to avoid that custom," said Mr. Kim. An official of the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office said, "Even though what Mr. Kim said was not an official announcement, most of the prosecution officials will take it as an actual ban."
To Serve and Protect and Brawl
August 9, 2005 (MosNews) - Moscow, Russia - A police officer was badly beaten by a woman who rushed to help her friend wounded minutes earlier by the man in a drunken brawl. The officer was hospitalized with numerous injuries. The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon in Moscow, a spokesperson for the Moscow prosecutor's office told Interfax news agency. Preliminary reports said that a police officer had been drinking alcohol in the company of two women. At some point he quarreled with one of them and fired several shots at her from his pistol wounding her in the leg. Seeking to avenge her friend another woman attacked the policeman, hit him several times and took his weapon away from him. The man was hospitalized with a fractured jaw bone and head injuries. The wounded woman was also rushed to a Moscow hospital. Moscow prosecutors are investigating the incident.
Katrina Victim Out of Coors, Down to Wine
September 6, 2005 (AFP) - NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana - Many stubborn New Orleans residents are refusing to leave their homes, and some are making their determination to stay in a style that could only come from the hard-drinking, good-time city. Curt Belton, a Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent in charge of boats touring the city, told Tuesday of a message found in a wine bottle drifting in floodwaters along Canal Street in the entertainment district. "To whom it may concern: Please send with immediately, (one) ice cold chest of Coors Light. I'm out at this time. Down to wine. Some shrimp and oysters would also be appreciated. Thank you," said the note, which was signed and gave an address. Belton said the patrol went to the home and found the author sitting on his front porch. Between sips of wine, he told them he was staying and had enough wine to last "quite a few days." Belton said he was going to frame the note because it was "pure New Orleans". The emergency official said that of the 15 to 20 people his patrol encountered in homes on Monday, only one agreed to leave. "There's just a ton of people still out there," Belton said. "They don't want to come, and the main reason they're giving us is their pets," he said. "It's crazy."
Colorado County Passes Smokefree Workplace Law
November 1, 2005 (Vail Daily) - EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado - Eagle County Passes Smokefree Workplace Law By Joseph W. Cherner Voters pass smokefree workplace referendum 72% to 28% Parts excerpted from the Yesterday, voters in Eagle County (Colorado) voted overwhelmingly in favor of smokefree workplaces (referendum 1B). The referendum, which requires all workplaces (including restaurants and bars) to be smokefree, passed with 72% of voters in favor. While some smokers were disappointed, others were understanding. "What I do to myself, I choose to do to myself, but I don't want to cause anybody else harm," smoker Tim Sapir said. "I work at a (smokefree) bar and I wouldn't want to be there everyday" if smoking were allowed. Almost three-fourths of voters approved the measure, which means commissioners will ban smoking in public places and workplaces in Edwards, Eagle-Vail, Beaver Creek, Dotsero and other unincorporated areas. Earlier Tuesday, Gore Range Brewery employees and customers sounded off on the referendum. Smoking at the bar and restaurant is prohibited during dinner hours. Smokers typically go outside, where heaters keep them warm, bartender Elizabeth Luciano said. Luciano smokes occasionally while drinking, but she said she supports the law. When a bartender was pregnant recently, employees asked smokers to go outside, she said. And some smokers said they don't mind the outdoors. "I don't really care about being inconvenienced. It's bad anyway," said Michael Colapietro, who sat outside the brewery while puffing a menthol cigarette. Kenny Rossi, who smoked for 15 years, said from a barstool at Finnegan's Wake that he doesn't care if Eagle County bans smoking indoors. The smoke doesn't bother him, but he knows it annoys many others, he said. Stacy Brockman, visiting the area from Kansas City, said it's not the government's place to meddle with smoking. However, if the law were enacted she said she would still visit Finnegan's Wake - and smoke outside. Other Colorado ski areas, such as Aspen, Snowmass, and Breckenridge, are already smokefree. To win smokefree air where you live, go to http://www.smokefree.net/alerts.php
Courts Creates New "Crime" of Urinating to Justify Warrantless Searches
March 2, 2006 (AP) - San Francisco, California - Emptying one's bladder in a public place is a crime, even if there is no specific law prohibiting the practice, a state appeals court ruled. Ruling on an appeal brought by a Berkeley, Calif., man who was charged with cocaine possession after an officer stopped him mid-pitstop, the Court of the Appeal for the Second District said Wednesday that public urination is a crime that justified the officer's search of the man's pockets. David McDonald was detained after an Oakland police officer allegedly spotted him urinating in a Berkeley parking lot three years ago. The officer arrested McDonald and, while searching him, allegedly found cocaine. McDonald tried to have the cocaine evidence suppressed by arguing that because there was no law, the officer did not have a reason to search him. McDonald was convicted and sentenced to drug treatment and probation.
Beer Preserves the Brain
November 5, 2005 (Reuters) - Austria - Older people with a history of moderate drinking may suffer less mental decline than those who do not drink, a new study suggests. The study, carried out by the Western Psychiatric Institute in the US, was based on data collected from more than a thousand people in Pennsylvania, aged 65 years and older, over a period of seven years. "Health professionals have generally paid more attention to alcohol abuse and dependence, and their adverse consequences," said the study's author, Dr Mary Ganguli. "Our study suggests we should also consider the potential benefits of more modest patterns of alcohol use." The study's participants, none of whom showed signs of dementia at the start of the study, were divided into three groups: one that did not drink; one that reported minimal drinking - once a month or less; and a third group that reported moderate drinking. The study participants' mental function was assessed at the start of the study, then with periodic assessments every two years. Overall, those classified as minimal and moderate drinkers exhibited less decline in their scores on tests that measured general mental status, executive functions and psychomotor speed, than non-drinkers. Minimal drinkers also showed less decline in their scores on tests of learning, including learning a word list, and naming, than non-drinkers. Potential reasons for the benefits of moderate drinking may be related to its cardiovascular effects, Dr Ganguli explained. It may also have a beneficial effect on the brain's neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers. Despite the findings, Dr Ganguli insists the study "should not be interpreted as recommending initiation of alcohol consumption to preserve mental functioning in the elderly." She added: "What is needed now is not for people to run out and get drunk in the hope of preserving their brains, but for more studies to be conducted on the precise effects of alcohol on brain structure and function." Previous studies have pointed to the benefits of moderate drinking - for instance, the beneficial effects on the heart from drinking red wine.
Tap Beer in the News
March 13, 2006 (AP) - OSLO, Norway - It almost seemed like a miracle to Haldis Gundersen when she turned on her kitchen faucet this weekend and found the water had turned into beer. Two flights down, employees and customers at the Big Tower Bar were horrified when water poured out of the beer taps. By an improbable feat of clumsy plumbing, someone at the bar in Kristiandsund, western Norway, had accidentally hooked the beer hoses to the water pipes for Gundersen's apartment. "We had settled down for a cozy Saturday evening, had a nice dinner, and I was just going to clean up a little," Gundersen, 50, told The Associated Press by telephone Monday. "I turned on the kitchen faucet and beer came out." However, Gundersen said the beer was flat and not tempting, even in a country where a half-liter (pint) can cost about 25 kroner ($3.75) in grocery stores. Per Egil Myrvang, of the local beer distributor, said he helped bartenders reconnect the pipes by telephone. "The water and beer pipes do touch each other, but you have to be really creative to connect them together," he told local newspapers. Gundersen joked about having the pub send up free beer for her next party. "But maybe it would be easier if they just invited me down for a beer," she said.
Quebec Plans for Smoking Ban
February 15, 2006 (CBC News) - Quebec restaurants and bars won a brief reprieve from a province-wide smoking ban when the Minister of Health pushed back the start date of the ban to May 31, 2006. Originally, the ban on smoking in all public places, including restaurants, bars, brasseries, taverns and bingo halls, was proposed for Jan. 1, 2006. The industry won the five month extension following public hearings, in which CRFAs Council of Chain Restaurants: Quebec (CCRQ) made the case for designated smoking rooms as an alternative to an all-out ban. Under the province's new legislation (Bill 112), hotels can reserve up to 40% of their rooms as "smoking permitted" rooms, while designated smoking rooms in restaurants, bars, brasseries, taverns and bingo halls will be banned. Smoking is expected to be allowed on outdoor patios, with some restrictions. CCRQ is monitoring development of the detailed regulations concerning Bill 112, and working to ensure the views of the foodservice industry are taken into account.
As of January 2006, cigarette-loving Quebec will join the ranks of other Canadian provinces and cities that have banned smoking in bars and restaurants. The province introduced legislation Tuesday that prohibits people from lighting up in most enclosed public spaces, including bars, restaurants, casinos, bingo halls, conference centres, private clubs, bowling alleys and even festival tents. Bill 112 will also restrict people from smoking in schoolyards and within nine metres of an entrance to a health-care facility. People will still be allowed to smoke on patios and in nursing homes, however. "We are approaching this concept with public health in mind and public health applies in bars and in restaurants," Health Minister Philippe Couillard said as he introduced the legislation. Quebec has one of the highest smoking rates in Canada. One in four people over the age of 15 still smokes, compared to the Canadian average of one in five. Bars worried about effect on profits Some bar owners in the province say a smoking ban will hurt their business. "In Ottawa, in Ontario, which was one of the first cities [to ban smoking], sales were down by 30 per cent in some instances," said Suzanne Langelier of the association representing Quebec bar owners. Francis Thompson of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association of Canada applauds the provincial government's move. "It's pretty complete coverage and I think it reflects the fact that things have changed in Quebec and they've changed pretty quickly." The province will hold public hearings on the legislation and may agree to delay the ban for a few months to give businesses and clients more time to adapt to the thought of smoke-free settings.
English Smoking Ban in all Pubs and Clubs
February 15, 2006 (BBC News) - MPs have voted by a huge margin to ban smoking from all pubs and private members' clubs in England. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the change, expected to take effect in summer 2007, would "save thousands of people's lives". Ministers gave a free vote amid fears Labour MPs could rebel against plans to exempt clubs and pubs not serving food. The Commons decided by a margin of 200 to impose a ban on smoking in all enclosed public spaces. The Cabinet was split on how far restrictions - set out in the Health Bill - should go, with Conservatives calling government policy a "shambles". Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chancellor Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Charles Clarke all voted for a blanket ban. But Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, Defence Secretary John Reid and Education Secretary Ruth Kelly opposed it. This is really going to affect generations to come and make the nation a lot healthier lspeth Lee, Cancer Research UK A total smoking ban is due to come into force in Scotland next month, and Northern Ireland is set to follow suit in April, next year. The Health Bill gives the Welsh Assembly the right to decide for itself whether to implement a ban it has already twice approved in principle. Ms Hewitt, who voted for a total ban for England, told the BBC: "I'm absolutely delighted. This is really a historic day for public health." She added: "This is going to save thousands of people's lives." 'Illiberal' Elspeth Lee, of Cancer Research UK, said: "This is really going to affect generations to come and make the nation a lot healthier." However, Simon Clark, director of smoking support group Forest, said: "This is a double whammy and an unnecessary and illiberal piece of legislation that denies freedom of choice to millions of people. "The Government should educate people about the health risks of smoking but politicians have no right to force people to quit by making it more difficult for people to consume a legal product." About one third of people who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day will have their first within five minutes of waking Earlier, health minister Caroline Flint said fines for failing to stop people smoking in restricted areas would go up by more than ten times from £200 to £2,500. She said: "I am confident that these increased fine levels will result in better compliance with smoke-free legislation, which of course, will make enforcement easier." The Cabinet originally proposed prohibiting smoking only in pubs serving food, in line with Labour's election manifesto. A free vote was offered after many Labour MPs, fearing a partial ban could increase health inequalities among customers and staff, threatened to rebel. Ministers came up with three choices: a total ban; exempting private clubs; or exempting clubs and pubs not serving food. Many MPs opposed a smoking ban on civil liberties grounds. 'Good news' The government predicts an estimated 600,000 people will give up smoking as a result of the law change. Conservative MPs were offered a free vote on the issue. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said ministers had "put forward proposals which their own backbenchers thought were completely unworkable". But it was "a very important step", he added there "had to be a culture that encourages better health". Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb said: "This legislation is good news for tens of thousands of bar staff up and down the country. "The key issue has always been the health and safety of people who work in public places." Tory leader David Cameron missed the vote following the birth of his third child, a son, earlier on Tuesday. In a recent report, the Commons health select committee said a total ban was the "only effective means" of protecting public health.
Thai Company Survives Threat from Relisious Extremists
February 15, 2006 (Distinguished Brands Newsletter) - Despite demonstrations from thousands of people, including Buddhist monks, Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission approved a plan to list Thai Beverage PCL on the Singapore stock exchange. Protestors say the company's need to make a profit would encourage drinking, especially among the young. Thai Beverage suspended a planned local listing until a law governing the alcohol business is passed.
Alabama Continues to Earn Reputation as Backwater Society
February 15, 2006 (Distinguished Brands Newsletter) - The Alabama Senate voted unanimously to ban drinking keg beer anywhere other than bars, restaurants and other locales licensed to sell it. The bill now moves to the House, where a similar version has already passed committee. A lobbyist for beer wholesalers is encouraging a statewide keg registration rather than the ban.
Another Alcohol-related Injury - Not Bird Flu
February 4, 2006 (Kansas City Star) - (Vienna, Austria) - It wasn't bird flu. It was flying drunk into windows that killed 40 songbirds found dead in Vienna. Experts who conducted tests on the songbirds concluded that the birds were intoxicated from eating fermented berries. Their discovery last month in a residential neighborhood triggered concerns that bird flu had reached the Austrian capital.
Lao Bia Flowing
December 30, 2005 (Associated Press) - (Vientiane, Laos) -Inspired by Czech brews, propelled by patriotism, Beerlao has snapped up 99 percent of its domestic market and some international awards while forging a rarity in this impoverished remnant of the communist world -- a distinctive brand name. Probably the only Laotian product that rings bells in the region or beyond, Beerlao is also gearing up for an export drive and some international promotion, which, until now, has been largely word-of-mouth and Internet chat. At home, Beerlao (Bia Lao in the Lao language) goes unchallenged, its golden tiger head logo far more prominent than the red star of the ruling communist party. The state-owned Lao Brewery Co. supports schools, health facilities and sports competitions, paying an estimated $32.5 million into state coffers this year -- more than any other single enterprise. "National pride is a big part of our success," says marketing manager Bounkanh Kounlabouth, underlining the company message: Drinking Beerlao is good for the country. The growing number of foreign tourists, many of them young backpackers, likewise partake, especially since a can goes for the equivalent of 56 cents at many bars and restaurants. Watching the sun set over the Mekong River while sipping a cold Beerlao (side order of deep-fried crickets optional) has become a must-do for visitors. And travelers returning home post comments on Internet sites such as: "probably the best beer in the world," "decent beer but massively hyped up," and "when is it coming to Sydney?" So far only 1 percent of production is exported, mainly to Cambodia, Vietnam, France, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. It also is smuggled into neighboring Thailand, which puts onerous restrictions on its import. But Bounkanh said a factory to be built in southern Laos as an export base will double production capacity to some 63 million gallons a year. The enterprise, which traces its origins to French colonial times, added dark brew and a light beer to its regular lager this year and went into a 50-50 joint venture with Denmark's Carlsberg Breweries, the world's No. 5 beer-maker. "Laos is developing fast and many tourists are coming to it. The time has come to offer more choices to drinkers," Carlsberg Vice President Mogens Thomsen said when the deal was sealed in October. Smooth, golden-colored and with a bouquet of rice substituting for the more traditional barley, Beerlao has won awards in Europe, the United States and New Zealand and was voted Asia's best beer of 2004 by Time magazine. With only 2.3 million Laotian drinkers, the domestic market is limited but growing at about 10-15 percent a year. Consumption is estimated at just 4 gallons per Laotian, compared with 21 gallons for Americans. Czech brews, Bounkanh said, were Beerlao's prime inspiration, and he and several other executives spent years studying beer-making in the Czech Republic. Yeast and hops are imported from Germany and malt from Belgium and France, but the rice is Laotian. The company realizes that Beerlao's "full taste of happiness" and the nationalist factor are not the only reasons for its success -- a 40 percent tax on imported beer helps. This, however, will vanish in 2008 when Laos joins the Southeast Asian free trade zone. Bounkanh knows imports will weaken Beerlao's grip on the market, but he hopes exports will fill the shortfall. Meanwhile, the company's modern, computerized brewery on the outskirts of the capital, Vientiane, cannot work fast enough. "Sometimes in the peak season we cannot meet the demand," Bounkanh said while savoring a glass of Beerlao. "Why is it so good? It's fresh, fresh beer. It's off the shelves in two weeks."
Criminals Should Beware of Breweries
December 27, 2005 (Buenos Aires Herald) - (Berlin, Germany) - Police in Berlin made their easiest arrest of the year at their annual Christmas party, after spotting a man rummaging through the pockets of their coats in the cloakroom. Officers said the unlucky pickpocket had not known that the revellers in a Berlin brewery were law enforcers.
Wisconsin Craftbrewers Fare Well Against Beer Wholesalers Lobby
November 10, 2005 (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) - (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) - Wisconsin's beer wholesalers and small brewers on Monday struck a compromise on legislation the brewers had initially opposed for fear that it could bring higher prices and fewer choices for specialty beer drinkers. The bill still would require brewers to grant exclusive distribution territories to wholesalers, something the wholesalers want. Wholesalers buy beer from brewers and then sell it to taverns, liquor stores and other retailers. Most wholesalers already have exclusive contracts with brewers. But the small brewers said a state mandate could hamper their ability to sell beer without using wholesalers, which they said could reduce competition, restrict their access to retailers, raise their costs and force price increases. The brewers bitterly fought the fast-moving bill (AB 787/SB 415), which gained Assembly approval one week after being introduced, and which was pushed by the politically powerful Wisconsin Wholesale Beer Distributors Association, a heavy source of campaign contributions for both Democrats and Republicans. Under the compromise, a small brewer could bypass wholesalers to make direct deliveries to retailers in certain situations. That provision would apply when a wholesaler faces a business interruption, such as bankruptcy, that breaks the distribution link between breweries and retailers. Also, brewers could make direct deliveries to festivals, as well as emergency shipments to retailers running short on beer. Finally, the compromise would ease proposed restrictions on other direct deliveries by brewers to retailers. "It's a good thing for us," said Russ Klisch, president of Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. "It gives us a little more flexibility." Deb Carey, president of New Glarus Brewing Co., agreed.
The original proposal, she said, "was just killing us." enate could vote Wednesday The compromise, which the wholesalers association and the Wisconsin Brewers Guild supported, was reached with Sen. Ron Brown (R-Eau Claire) and Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), the bill's authors. Brown is chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, which approved the bill Friday. The compromise bill could go before the full Senate on Wednesday, and then it would need approval in its new form from the Assembly. Under the original proposal, brewers would have been forced to maintain separate warehouses if they ship beer directly to retailers. Brewers would have been exempt from that provision if they produce fewer than 100,000 barrels of beer yearly or sell fewer than 30,000 barrels directly to retailers. State law now allows in-state brewers to ship beer directly to retailers. But the law requires brewers outside Wisconsin to maintain a separate warehouse if they ship directly. That costly provision amounts to different treatment for out-of-state brewers and leaves the law vulnerable to a legal challenge, the distributors said. Most of Wisconsin's small brewers produce far less than 100,000 barrels, according to the distributors, which said the original proposal would not harm small brewers. But some small brewers are growing rapidly, and they feared that the original legislation would eventually apply to them. Under the compromise, any brewer with yearly production below 50,000 barrels may sell any amount of beer directly to retailers. Also, any brewer with yearly production above 50,000 barrels may sell up to 1,000 barrels directly to retailers yearly before the separate warehouse provision takes effect.
$6,000 in donations - The beer distributors said the bill is needed to preserve the state's regulations that govern beer sales. Wisconsin's system, similar to those in other states, promotes responsible marketing of beer, the wholesalers said. But some industry observers said there is no evidence to support those claims. Some large retailers have said they could sell beer at lower prices if they could buy directly from breweries. Overhanging the debate is the political clout of the wholesalers association. The association donated $6,000 to state legislative campaign committees during the first six months of 2005. The donations from the association's political action committee were split evenly between Democratic and Republican coffers. The association also provided $24,838 in state campaign donations in 2003 and 2004, including $3,000 to Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election committee and $4,188 to legislators who are sponsoring the bill, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a government watchdog group. The legislation is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May. The court ruled that state laws in New York and Michigan that banned direct interstate wine shipments to consumers were unconstitutional and anti-competitive. Although that decision applied just to wineries, it had strong similarities to a lawsuit challenging a Washington state law that bars retailers from buying beer, wine and spirits directly from breweries, wineries and distillers. Costco Wholesale Corp., which operates warehouse-style stores and plans to expand into the Milwaukee area, filed the Washington lawsuit. Costco said it could sell alcohol at much lower prices if it could buy the drinks directly from beverage producers and bypass wholesalers. After the ruling, beer distributors in Wisconsin and other states moved to shore up laws protecting their middleman roles. The bill being considered in Madison is a result.
Santa - 1, Connecticut Liquor Control Commission - 0
November 9, 2005 (Newsday.com) - (Hartford, Connecticut) - Connecticut residents will be able to toast to their health this holiday season with a bottle of Seriously Bad Elf. The state Department of Consumer Protection announced Tuesday it would approve the sale of Seriously Bad Elf ale in Connecticut despite earlier concerns that the beer's label might appeal to children. The department determined that although state regulations bar alcohol advertising with images that might entice kids, including images associated with Santa Claus, the regulations do not apply to beer labels. The state had notified Shelton Brothers, the beer's distributor in Belchertown, Mass., that it would reject the labels for Seriously Bad Elf and one for Warm Welcome ale based on the state regulation. The label for Seriously Bad Elf shows a malevolent elf with a slingshot firing Christmas ornaments at Santa's sleigh as it flies overhead. Warm Welcome's label depicts Santa coming down a chimney into a lit fireplace. On its Web site, Shelton Brothers took a whimsical view of its difficulty marketing the beer in Connecticut. "In the case of state of Connecticut vs. Santa Claus, the defendant pleads bewildered. 'I never meant to hurt anybody,' an obviously shaken Claus told reporters after posting bail at a Hartford-area police station," the Web site says. "Claus, also known to authorities as Kris Kringle and Father Christmas, was taken into custody after alert analysts at the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection noticed his likeness on the label for an imported English ale known as Seriously Bad Elf," Shelton Brothers said. At a compliance hearing before a state liquor commissioner last month, a lawyer for the distributor argued the state would be violating the distributor's free speech rights by banning the labels. Protecting Santa Claus also violates the Constitution's establishment clause, which prohibits government endorsement or disapproval of religion, she argued. The state Department of Consumer Protection ordered a formal hearing for Nov. 22 before the state Liquor Control Commission. The hearing was canceled on Tuesday and a ruling was issued in favor of Shelton Brothers. "The constitutional issue did not come into play here," said Edwin Rodriguez, the state's consumer protection commissioner. "The courts have given the states total jurisdiction on how it regulates liquor within its borders. But our regulation specifically exempts labels." Dan Shelton said he was almost disappointed by the ruling. "They took the easy way out," he said. "There is so much wrong with that regulation that (the lawyers) were looking forward to attacking the whole thing in court." Shelton said he is not sure when Seriously Bad Elf might make it to Connecticut store shelves.
Japanese Regulators Concede Defeat to Brewing Industry Tactics
November 9, 2005 (Distinguished Brands International) - Japan - A tax game between Japan's brewing industry and the Finance Ministry is heating up once again. The ministry wants to end the current cycle of raising taxes on products only to see the industry develop a new drink that is not covered by the higher rate. The liquor tax, now divided into 10 categories broken down by ingredients and production methods, would be scaled back into three or four with only small differences in the rates. In an effort to mitigate industry opposition, the proposal includes a reduction in the current beer tax rate which might serve as an incentive to consumers to buy more regular beer because of the smaller gap in price. The tax game began ten years ago when the first low-malt beer was put on the market and was taxed a much lower rate than regular beer. Lower prices made the drink, happoshu, an instant hit.
Colorado Voters Tell Eagle County to go Smokefree
November , 2005 (Vail Daily Online)- Eagle County - A group of residents will now get to work proposing ways to reform Eagle County's government. Potential changes include expanding the Board of County Commissioners from three to five members, removing political parties from county races and making positions like sheriff, coroner and county clerk appointed - rather than elected - posts. The vote was close, with 4,075 for the measure and 3,850 against. Nine residents were elected to the commission that will write a charter that includes these changes. Voters will have to approve the charter in a future election. Colleen McCarthy, Heather Lemon, John Horan-Kates, Kathy Chandler-Henry, Don Cohen, Charlie Wick, Tom Edwards, Jacque Whitsitt and Michael Bair won seats. Results are not yet available in the race for the final two at-large seats on the commission. Voters overwhelmingly endorsed having the commissioners ban smoking in public places, such as bars and restaurants, in Eagle-Vail, Beaver Creek, Edwards and other unincorporated parts of Eagle County. More than 6,000 voted for the ban and only about 2300 voted against it.
Coors Finds Profit in Sale of Otherwise Worthless Alcohol
October 27, 2005 (Knight Ritter) - Golden, Colorado - Two Colorado-based companies are finding that one answer to lessening the country's dependence on foreign fuel imports might be hiding in the six-pack that you carry home from the grocery store. Across a sliver of Clear Creek that cuts through the Coors brewery here, a maze of stainless steel pipes rises amid the sharp aroma of beer. On this site - roughly the size of a four-car garage - Coors Brewing Co. and Aurora-based Merrick & Company are using beer waste to process 1.5 million gallons of the gasoline substitute called ethanol. One 9-year-old plant distills residuals from beer making and has been such a success, officials from the brewer and engineering company said, that a second, $2.3 million plant will open later this month on the same site. The second plant will double ethanol production at the brewery, partly through inputting millions of gallons of spilled Coors, George Killian's Irish Red and other beers directly into the process via an underground pipeline. "With the demand high and the need even higher, it seemed like a great time to expand," said Steven Wagner, the Merrick vice president who helps lead the Coors ethanol project. Under a 15-year agreement, the company leases land from Coors, buys the residuals from the brewer and owns the plant. The ethanol - made in much the same way as moonshine - is sold under a contract with Valero Energy Corp., which distributes the fuel to Diamond Shamrock stations across the Front Range. "We've basically taken a waste stream and turned it into a revenue stream," Wagner said. Both plants combined will produce only a fraction of the expected four billion gallons of ethanol sold nationwide next year, but supporters say the plan illustrates the growing demand for gasoline substitutes as the country battles skyrocketing fuel costs and attempts to expand existing gasoline supplies.
The ethanol agreement, Coors officials said, is a perfect fit for the company. "We've always produced low-grade ethanol, so this was a logical step," said Rick Paine, the co-products process manager at the Coors facility, referring to the alcohol-heavy grains and yeast used in beer-making. "The fact that we can do it all here is just an added bonus." Alternative fuel sources are especially relevant in Colorado, where clean air laws mandate that ethanol be blended with gas during the winter to reduce vehicle emissions. The law also creates a built-in market for Colorado-based producers because about 100 million gallons of ethanol are used in the state each year. Ethanol demand - already at an all-time high nationwide - has increased threefold since 1996 and will expand further after federal energy laws that mandate more use of alternative fuels go into effect in the near future. At least 7.5 billion gallons must be used in the U.S. by 2012, fueling nationwide interest in ethanol production. Nationally, at least 83 plants are currently in operation, more than 20 are being built and dozens more are in the planning stages. That includes Colorado, where three ethanol plants are in development in Evans, Sterling and Windsor. The plants will push Colorado from having virtually no ethanol production to being one of the nation's top 10 producers by late next year. "We're at a time when we're dealing with guaranteed minimum markets, and that reduces risk," said Ron Lamberty, vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, a nonprofit group of producers based in South Dakota. "One more gallon (of ethanol) produced here means one less gallon of gas we get from outside the country." But ethanol is hardly free from criticism. Opponents of the fuel substitute say ethanol can be costly - its price has jumped 40 percent in two years - and the market could bottom out if oil prices decrease significantly.
Korean Regulators Cap Beer Price Increases
October 27, 2005 (Yonhap) - Seoul, Korea - Hite Brewery Co. and Jinro Ltd. will be barred from raising their beer and soju prices above the level of consumer price gains for the next five years, South Korea's antitrust regulator said Thursday. The measures by the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) are to prevent the market domination enjoyed by the two companies from hurting consumers and competitors. The watchdog had conditionally allowed Hite to take over the management of Jinro in July. Hite and Jinro are the number one manufacturers of beer and soju in South Korea. The beermaker holds a roughly 57 per cent market share, while Jinro's portion of the soju market stands at around 55 per cent. Soju is a popular distilled liquor that has an alcohol content level of 21-25 per cent, compared to 4-5 per cent for beer. "There were prolonged discussions on the merits of the government intervening in price setting, and it has been determined that such a move is needed to preempt any moves to raise prices," said Lee Byung-ju, the head of the FTC's antitrust bureau. He added that this price cap had already been announced in July when the two companies were allowed to merge and that the final guidelines will be sent to Hite within the month. The cap will go into effect from the date that the company receives the orders. Lee also said that if Hite and Jinro fail to follow the new rules, they could face fines and administrative actions. The official, however, said the ceiling does not apply to new brands of beer and soju that the companies may release, although once they are marketed the same rules will be applied so any price hikes will have to stay below the rise in consumer prices. He said the rules will not apply to wine or any other alcoholic beverage besides beer and soju produced by either company. In addition, Hite and Jinro will be required to submit a detailed plan to the FTC for approval, pledging they will not use their dominant market positions to hurt rivals, and adhere to it for the next five years. The two firms are also required to submit a report on their shipments to wholesalers every six months to the corporate regulatory authority so it can keep track of any sharp increases in sales that could be construed as distorting the market. Hite and its consortium partners signed a 3.42-trillion-won (US$3.27 billion) agreement with Jinro on June 3 after being selected as the primary negotiation partner for the takeover in early April.
Arkansas Burdens Keg Purchasers
October 26, 2005 (USA Today) - Little Rock, Arkansas - Liquor store owners say a new state law for buying a keg of beer has led more customers to buy cases instead. The law requires customers to pay an extra $75 deposit and sign a document stating they understand it's illegal to provide beer to underage drinkers.
Cruisn for a Brusin
October 25, 2005 (USA Today) - Presque Isle, Maine - Jeanine Williams, 44, a woman who allegedly stole an Aroostook County Sheriff's Department cruiser and struck an officer who had arrested her for operating under the influence faces a string of charges, Sheriff James Madore said.
Student Gets Firsthand Lesson in American Alcohol-related Censorship
October 25, 2005 (USA Today) - Montpelier, Vermont - The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is planning to appeal a federal court ruling that banned images of drugs and alcohol on clothing worn by a Williamstown middle school student. The student was ordered to cover up images of drugs and alcohol on a T-shirt that was critical of President Bush. A federal judge rules last year the school could order the student to cover the images but not the words.
D.C. Council Moves to Stop District Police from Harassing Non-drunk Drivers
October 24, 2005 (USA Today) - Washington, DC - The D.C. Council began the process of making permanent changes to the city's DUI laws. An emergency measure passed last week stops police from arresting motorists solely on drunken driving charges unless their blood-alcohol level is above 0.08. At a hearing, officials from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and AAA Mid-Atlantic spoke in favor of the change, while Mothers Against Drunk Driving offers qualified support. Police Chief Charles Ramsey said many impaired drivers do not meet the limit of 0.08 because they are under the influence of other drugs.
Oklahoma Police Train Underage Drinkers in Alcohol Purchasing
October 23, 2005 (USA Today) - Tulsa, Oklahoma - Police are using about 30 students, some as young as 15, to buy alcohol from local stores as part of an undercover sting operation. The operation is aimed at curtailing underage drinking and alcohol sales to minors.
Nebraska Patrol Music Critics Diss Comstock Festival
September 9, 2005 (USA Today) - Lincoln, Nebraska - The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission is thinking about refusing promoters a liquor license for next summer's Comstock rock and country music festivals. A State Patrol report described one of this summer's festivals as "a three-ring circus of drunken debauchery, rather than a gathering to enjoy good music.:
Frederick, MD Set to Criminalize Beerdrinkers in County Park
August 31, 2005 (USA Today) - Frederick, Maryland - Sipping a beer in a Frederick County park could soon be against the law. The Frederick County Commissioners have voted to hold a public hearing on banning all alcoholic beverages from parks. Under the proposal, violators could be fined $50. Currently, alcohol may be consumed by groups that obtain a permit.
Test of Sunday Sales in Washington State
August 30, 2005 (USA Today) - Olympia, Washington - Twenty state-run liquor stores will be open on Sunday to see if it brings in significant revenue. The State started the test last month at some stores. The Legislature will decide whether to make Sunday liquor sales permanent.
Smoking Down, Tax Revenue Up
August 30, 2005 (USA Today) - Providence, Rhode Island - Tax revenues from bars and restaurants rose about 20% since a smoking ban was enacted March 1 in Rhode Island, according to the state Division of Taxation. The state collected $5.83 million in taxes from March through June, a significant jump from the $4.86 mission collected at the same time last year.
Driver Needs Professional Help
August 29, 2005 (Pitch Weekly - News of the Weird) - In July in Sparta, Wis., Darkalena Large, 43, insisted that she and her car were fine, but police arrested her anyway on suspicion of drunk driving after finding her in the car, which was stuck on a curb with one tire missing and the wheel's rim badly mangled (and recently on fire, according to a witness).
University Student Demonstrates Social Darwinism
August 23, 2005 (USA Today) - Lexington, Kentucky - A University of Kentucky student from Tennessee was struck and killed by a train outside a large party where he and another student appeared intoxicated, campus police said. Officials found the body of Thomas Byers, 19, of Germantown. Byers ran away from officers who had arrived at the party, Maj. Joe Monroe said.
To Serve and Protect - Police Train Bartenders
August 23, 2005 (USA Today) - Janesville, Wisconsin - Police are teaching bartenders how to deal with unruly patrons after problems at area taverns. The lessons include "How to Order a Drunken Subject Off the Premises" and "How to Help Police When Tehy Shoot Someone With a Taser." The programs are part of the department's increased enforcement.
Wisconsin May Outwit Federal Alcohol Extortion Laws
August 22, 2005 (Wall Street Journal) - Madison, Wisconsin - A legislator who introduced a bill to reduce the drinking age from 21 to 19 for Wisconsin soldiers is proposing an alternative measure that would make underage drinking fines just $5 for soldiers 19 and 20. Rep. Mark Pettis said he drafted the new bill because of concerns the federal government would withhold transportation money if the initial one passed.
Publicity Drys Up Trappist Beers
August 21, 2005 (Reuters) - The 30 or so Trappist and Cistercian monks at the Abbey of St. Sixtus of Westvleteren in Flanders have been forced to stop selling their revered beer after a Web site voted it the best beer in the world, and it promptly sold out. In June, a survey of thousands of beer enthusiasts from 65 countries by the Web site RateBeer.com rated the monk's dry, dark Westvleteren 12 as the world's best. But the abbey, with a limited brewing capacity, was not able to cope with the beer's sudden popularity. "Our shop is closed because all our beer has been sold out," a message on the abbey's answering machine says. The abbey has no intension of increasing its capacity to satisfy market demand. "We do not live "for" our brewery," the father abbot said on the abbey's Web site. "We are not brewers. We are monk's. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks."
Insurance Front Group Faults Lack of "Guilty Unless Proven Innocent" Law
August 20, 2005 (USA Today) - Providence, Rhode Island - Rhode Island was the only state to receive a "poor" rating in a survey of drunken driving laws, according to a national highway safety organization. Among the reasons cited by the Insurance Institute for Highway safety was the absence of a state law that provides for automatic license revocation for drivers who fail or refuse breath tests.
Florida County Considers Right to Buy Liquor
August 20, 2005 (USA Today) - Navaree, Florida - Ballots will be mailed today to about 103,000 voters who will decide whether drinks stronger that beer and wine coolers should be sold in Santa Rosa County, one of the last places in Florida that bans hard liquor sales. Ballots must be returned by Sept. 6. The pro-wet campaign has consisted of a direct-mail brochure, while opponents have held church rallies. Both sides also expect to advertise.
Review of Madison's Smoking Ban
August 19, 2005 (USA Today) - Madison, Wisconsin - A University of Wisconsin-Madison medical school researcher plans to study whether the city's smoking ban has hurt taverns and restaurant bars. Dozens of bar owners claim the ban has cost them customers since it took effect July 1. David Aherns said he plans to review sales tax receipts submitted to the state Department of Revenue to see what's really happening.
Sweden Bars go Breathing-Friendly
June 1, 2005 (The Local) - Sweden introduced a ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, joining a growing band of European countries seeking to reduce the number of people who light up and limit the risks of second-hand smoke. The ban has been largely welcomed in the Scandinavian country, where a recent poll showed that 85 percent favour an end to smoking in restaurants and 77 percent support a ban in bars and clubs. Even two-thirds of smokers questioned said they agreed with the ban, according to the Temo poll conducted in early May. The Swedish law follows similar legislation already introduced in several other European countries, including neighbouring Norway and Ireland. As of June 1st Swedish patrons will have to go outside for a chilly puff. Establishments will only be allowed to permit smoking indoors if they build a separate, closed-off section with specially-designed ventilation, though no food or drinks can be consumed in the special area. But most small bars and restaurants will not be able to afford such renovations. The ban comes following intense lobbying from the National Board of Public Health, which has long argued that hotel, bar and restaurant staff are three times more likely to die of lung cancer than employees in other sectors due to their extensive exposure to smoke.
Despite the broad acceptance of the new law, some smokers said they were hesitant about its introduction. "I don't know what smokers are going to do," said Yvonne as she stubbed out her umpteenth cigarette in an ashtray at the Golden Hits restaurant and nightclub in central Stockholm. "They'll go smoke outside with their drink but some will probably leave without paying," she joked. Bar and restaurant owners have been gearing up ahead of the June 1st ban. Svat Ayranci, the owner of the small "Stil" nightclub, said he expected that he would have to remind his clients who light up to take their cigarettes outside. "It'll be hard at first," he admitted. But it should pay off. The Temo poll showed that 95 percent of 2,000 people surveyed said they expected to go out to eat as often or more often once the ban comes into effect. Only three percent said they would go out less often. Other studies have shown that the ban will have little impact on restaurants' and bars' sales, since those who have higher incomes go out more often and smoke the least.
Meanwhile, Sweden's centuries-old tradition of "snus", a form of moist snuff placed under the lip and used by more than a million Swedes, could see an upswing. Snus comes individually packaged in portion sizes, wrapped in a thin layer of paper which is placed under the lip and sucked on for several hours. A pack of 20 packets is sold in a round, plastic pillbox. The EU banned the sale of snus in 1992, citing research that said it causes cancer, but granted an exception to Sweden when it joined the bloc in 1995. Some Swedish bars and restaurants plan to place "snus-trays" - instead of ashtrays - in their establishments. The new anti-smoking legislation is the latest step in an ambitious Swedish plan adopted in 2002 to get people to kick the nicotine habit. Already one of the countries with the lowest share of smokers, having dropped from 31.4 percent in 1980 to 17.5 percent in 2003, the aim is to cut their number by half by 2014. In 1998, Sweden was the first country in the world to have fewer than 20 percent smokers, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. The plan is also aimed at reducing the number of youths under the age of 18 who smoke as well as the share of heavy smokers, and to ensure that no one is exposed to second-hand smoke against their will.
Eat More Kudzu, Drink Less?
August 2005 (Scientific American) - Beating binge drinking? a small study has found that ingesting kudzu extract can cut subsequent alcohol consumption by almost half, perhaps because the herb sensitized the body's response to alcohol. (May Alcoholism: Clinical Experimental research)
Wrong Time to Step out to take a Pee
August 4, 2005 (AP WorldStream via COMTEX) - Seattle, Washington - A woman was arrested in the U.S. for attempting to open an airplane exit door while the plane was still in the air, police said. The 52-year-old woman from Florida left her seat and tried to open the door as the United Airlines flight was descending into Seattle to land Wednesday, police said. The plane was at an altitude of about 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) at the time. She failed but "did manage to turn the handle far enough that a warning light went on in the cockpit," Seattle-Tacoma International Airport spokesman Bob Parker told KING-TV. A flight attendant persuaded the woman to sit back down, but nobody physically restrained her. Parker said the other passengers stayed belted in their seats in case she did manage to open the door. The woman was arrested for investigation of malicious mischief when the plane landed. Police were investigating whether alcohol and prescription medication were involved. A United spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment late Wednesday.
Enlightenment Strikes Court System, Maybe
August 3, 2005 (USA Today) - Fairbanks, Alaska - Judges in the Fairbanks area are considering a court system that would put drunken drivers into treatment rather than jail. The therapeutic court programs would gradually loosen restrictions if offenders stay sober and out of trouble. Critics say the courts should not be directly responsible for rehabilitating lawbreakers.
Town Just Says No, to Return of Smoking
August 2, 2005 (USA Today) - Steamboat Springs, Colorado - The city council has rejected a proposal to ease a smoking ban by allowing patrons to light up in outdoor areas of restaurants and bars. The ban, which took effect July 1, prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars, workplaces and outdoor amphitheaters, and within 10 feet of windows and doors of affected buildings.
Less Smoke Equals More Health
August 1, 2005 (USA Today) - Albany, New York - Restaurant and bar workers are suffering fewer runny noses and sore throats since the state's workplace smoking ban took effect two years ago, according to a study by state health officials. Researchers linked the reduction on symptoms to the decline in second-hand smoke exposure. The law prohibits smoking in most workplaces.
Kansas Town Hears 21st Century Calling
July 27, 2005 (USA Today) - Emporia, Kansas - City commissioners approved an ordinance allowing the sale of beer and liquor on Sunday, months after Emporia voters rejected a similar proposal. The ordinance takes effect Nov. 15 unless a petition protesting it is filed. One liquor store owner has been pushing for the change since January, saying Emporia needed Sunday sales to compete with nearby communities.
Human Rights Don't Apply to Arrested Drivers
July 20, 2005 (Joogang.co.kr) - Seoul, Korea - An official at the Seoul District Prosecutor's Office who arrested for drunken driving has complained about being unnecessarily handcuffed by police. The official, a junior prosecutor whose family name is Park, was stopped by the police on June 23 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Mr. Park was given a breathalyzer test that indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.137 percent, which is over the legal limit of 0.10. Questioning the accuracy of the test, Mr. Park requested a blood test at a hospital, which showed a level of 0.146 percent. Following the test, he was taken to the police station in handcuffs. The police officer who arrested Mr. Park said, "We had no choice but to use the handcuffs, since the suspect strongly resisted going to the police office." But Mr. Park said, "I was aware that were I to be uncooperative it could be considered an interference in the duties of the police so I was cooperative throughout. Despite this, I was handcuffed both before and after the blood test." The police subsequently confiscated Mr. Park's driving license. The prosecutor's office has meanwhile opened an investigation into the case. Under Korean law, a drunken driver can be handcuffed when arrested. But Mr. Park argued that he had cooperated by showing his driver's license and taking the test to check his alcohol level, and handcuffing was not necessary. "Handcuffing a drunken driver, even though he has cooperated with the police, could infringe on his human rights," said Han Mun-cheol, a lawyer. by Chung Kang-hyun
Sloshing no Excuse for Police Pat-down Search
July 16, 2005 (USA Today) - Bismarck, North Dakota - Students who were patted by police before a hockey game at the University of North Dakota two years ago were illegally searched, the state Supreme Court said. The ruling came from an appeal by Scott Seglem, who was carrying two cans of beer in his jacket into the game. At the time, Seglem was 20 and was cited for underage possession of alcohol.
Anti-alcohol Law Meets Law of Unintended Consequences
July 16, 2005 (USA Today) - Cheyenne, Wyoming - First lady Nancy Freudenthal is asking for repeal of a law allowing insurance companies to withhold coverage for injuries resulting from drug or alcohol use. Because of the law, she said, doctors and nurses are less likely to ask about or test for drug or alcohol use because it could cause then not to be paid for their services.
Special Chinese Beer Ingredient - Formaldehyde
July 15, 2005 (AFP) - Beijing, China - A Chinese woman drinks a bottle of beer during lunch at a foodstall in Beijing yesterday. China's beer industry, among the largest in the world, has defended itself against reports that 95 percent of its bottled beer contains formaldehyde, a cancer-causing agent, state media said yesterday. Industry officials said the chemical -- commonly used to preserve dead bodies or as a disinfectant -- plays a part in the brewing process but that the level in Chinese beer is within acceptable standards, the China Daily said. "Consumers need to know that the formaldehyde in beer is a different type from that in household chemicals, and this confusion has scared people greatly," Xiao Derun, director of the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association's beer branch, was quoted as saying. Trouble began brewing on July 5 when the Beijing-based newspaper the Global Times printed a letter claiming to be from a beer inspector saying many Chinese breweries were using formaldehyde as an additive. Accompanying the letter was an investigative report that quoted Du Lujun, secretary of the association's beer branch, as saying 95 percent of the country's beer contains the chemical. According to Du, breweries use formaldehyde because it is a cheap way of preventing sediment from forming during storage, the report said. The reports were circulated in many Chinese newspapers, alarming beer drinkers across the country. On Monday, the Korea Food and Drug Administration said it had decided to test Chinese beer imports for formaldehyde before allowing them to clear customs, China Daily said. Japan's health ministry has also asked importers of Chinese beers, which are increasingly popular in Japan, to check the ingredients with manufacturers to ensure they do not include formaldehyde, which Japan bans in food. Brewers usually use silica gel, which is not hazardous, to remove unwanted substances from beer but some Chinese brewers may be using cheaper formaldehyde to cut costs, Kyodo News agency quoted Japanese government sources as saying. Xiao said Chinese law does not ban beer from containing formaldehyde, but restricts the amount in common beer to no more than 2mg per liter, and in "organic" beer, to no more than 0.2mg per liter. The association's annual nationwide survey found no domestic beer that exceeded the limits, Xiao added. However, according to a China Business Times report, a 2002 survey of 19 domestic brands conducted by the National Food Quality Supervision and Inspection Center found the average formaldehyde content to be 0.31mg per liter, China Daily said. China's major beer companies, including Tsingtao and Yanjing which account for the majority of the Chinese market, have stopped using formaldehyde in favor of other additives, it said. Xiao added that a market survey has shown the formaldehyde content of imported beer to be similar to that of the domestically produced brew, the report said.
Bud Didn't Make Him Wiser
July 14, 2005 (MOS News) - Cherkassy, Ukraine - A drunk man who fought with a bear in a zoo in Ukraine has been seriously injured. The man and his friend, also drunk, went to the zoo in the Ukrainian city of Cherkassy. After attempting to tease some monkeys, they went to the bears open-air cage, the Newsru.Com web agency reported. One of the drunks, 22, decided to show his strength and jumped over the gate and pretended to be a trainer. In response, the bear weighing 270 kilograms struck the man. The drunk, however, started to kick the bear but the animal hit the man again and again. After a female bear appeared at the scene, a passing pedestrian managed to pull the drunk back to a safe spot, the agency reported. The attacker was rushed to hospital in a grave condition.
Belgians Stand Firm Against Religious Extremists
July 1, 2005 (Reuters) - Brussels, Belgium - A lunch meeting between a leading parliamentarian in Belgium and counterparts from Iran has been canceled because the beer-loving Belgian could not stomach a ban on alcohol. "Even for the tolerant Herman De Croo, that was a bridge too far," De Croo, a Dutch-speaking Liberal, told De Standaard daily Thursday. De Croo, president of parliament's lower house, had been due to entertain the speaker and members of the Iranian parliament Friday during their visit to Belgium -- famous for its diversity of beer brands. But he said lunch had been canceled because the Iranians, who as Muslims do not drink alcohol, wanted their hosts to do the same. "I did not receive such demands in writing. But ... I was indirectly asked not to serve alcohol," said De Croo. The visit ran into further trouble after Iran's parliament speaker Gholamali Haddadadel insisted he would not shake hands with the female president of Belgium's Senate. Anne-Marie Lizin, a Socialist, then canceled their meeting. She said in a statement that Iranians should respect local customs in Belgium, just as Belgians should in Iran.
Seek Medical Aid, Get Arrested and Die
May 26, 2005 (USA Today) - Louisville, Kentucky - A man taken into custody for public intoxication while at a Veterans Affairs hospital in March died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, an autopsy showed. Jefferson County deputy coroner Jim Wesley said that seven prescription drugs were found in the body of Timothy Chappell, 40. Wesley said that an enlarged heart may have been a factor in the death. Chappell had gone to the hospital for a dental appointment.
Just Say No Mom
April 14, 2005 (Express) - Smyrna, Georgia - Beverly Fisher, 48, was arrested in Smyrna, Ga, in February for allegedly throwing cans of beer at one son and beating another because he had refused her request to roll marijuana joints for her.
DMV Drive-Through Improvisation
April 8, 2005 (Washington Post) - Anchorage, Alaska - A man drove his car into a wall at the Division of Motor Vehicles building, then walked in and renewed his driver's license, police said. Police believe the man was driving while impaired on medication and charged him with driving under the influence. No one was injured.
2005 Beerdrinker of the Year Selected
February 26 - Denver, Colorado - In front of the cameras, crowd and row of black-robed, powdered white-wiged judges Tom Ciccater was selected as the 2005 Beerdrinker of the year. For press stories of the event follow the links: Real Beer results Real Beer announcement Post ceremony travel: White Beer Travels coverage Zythos Bierfestival coverage Washingtonian Magazine coverage On Tap Magazine coverage
January 9 - (USA Today) - The family of David Scaringe, who was killed by a stray bullet fired by police chasing a drunk driver in 2003, will receive $1.3 million from the city, the mayor said. It's the largest settlement in Albany's history. Scaringe, 24, was shot on a busy Albany street on New Year's Eve 2003.
All Binge, no Purge
January 6 - (AP/Express) - Doctors said Tuesday they did four extra blood tests on a drunken man in Polvdiv, Bulgaria, to confirm initial test results indicating that he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.914, far above the life-threatening level of 0.55. The 67-year old man was hospitalized Dec. 20 after a car hit him. A breath test showed the high blood-alcohol level; police thought it was inaccurate.
Bhutan Brewpubs Beware
November 30 - (Express) - The tiny, impoverished Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan next month will become the first country in the world to ban all smoking in public and all sales of tobacco.
Kansas Voters Hold Off 21st Century
November 30 (USA Today) - Satanta, Kansas - Residents of this small southwestern Kansas community still have to make a 30-mile round trip to Copeland to buy drinks with more alcohol than beer. Voters rejected a proposal to allow the sale of liquor and wine. Opponents of the measure said alcohol hurts families. Supporters wanted to keep the revenue in Satanta. Only a few towns in the state prohibit the sale of packaged liquor.
Zero Intelligence Policies Spreading like Cancer
December 8, 2004 (Washington Post) - New Orleans - A girl 8, was suspended for nine days for bringing to school what appeared to be about 30 "Jell-O shots." Under the school's ban on the possession or distribution of a lookalike, the girl's suspension will stand even though the gelatin contained no alcohol, a school official said.
You Only Hurt the one you Love
December 3, 2004 - A British couple's wedded bliss lasted just 90 minutes, ended by a brawl that led to the groom's arrest, the Sun reported. Trouble began after Scott McKie, 23, of Bramhall toasted the bridesmaids, officials said. His new wife Victoria, 39, was upset at the choice of toast and hit him over the head with an ashtray. Fifty guests watched as Scott picked up a hatstand and threw it javelin-style at the bar, then threatened to kill his new wife. He fought with police when they showed up and was hauled down to the station. Victoria filed for divorce the next day.
Supreme Court Rules DUI not a Crime of Violence
November 10, 2004 (Express)- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on November 9, 2004 that a Haitian man who pleaded guilty to felony DUI could not be deported for the conviction since the statute specifies deportation for crimes of violence, and that drunken driving, even with an accident, is not a crime of violence. Read this decision which may slow the spread of abusive and irrational anti-alcohol laws: http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/03-583.htm
Serial Snuggler Prefers Beer & Pizza
November 10, 2004 (USA Today) - Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Baton Rouge's serial was sentenced to five years of probation. Steve Danos, 26, pleaded guilty earlier this year to 12 counts of unauthorized entry. None of the victims was hurt. The intruder roused the residents to ask about a party, helped himself to beer and pizza, folded clothes, made nachos and crawled into one woman's bed to rub her stomach.
Utah Governor Considers Legalizing Adulthood
November 10, 2004 (USA Today) - Utah Gov.-elect John Huntsman Jr. said his efforts to boost Utah's economy and its image may include changing the state's liquor laws, the nation's most restrictive. Huntsman, a Republican, said he also wants to simplify taxes, give breaks to small businesses, cut capital gains taxes and match other states' economic incentives. Huntsman, the son of a billionaire industrialist, is a Mormon who abstains from alcohol. He has appointed restaurant-chain owner Tom Guinney and former radio host Tom Barberi - whose mantra was "legalize adulthood in Utah" - to recommend more "user-friendly" alcohol regulations. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day saints are forbidden to drink, and laws in the heavily Mormon state reflect that. Getting a glass of hard liquor requires a trip to a private club, where patrons must "join" and pay a membership fee.
Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery Under the Influence
November 10, 2004 (AP) - A drunk man broke into a Mayacamas, Calif., fire station after his car became stuck in the mud Friday to look for a phone, but couldn't find one. So he stole a fire engine to try to dislodge the car, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He drove through the station door, but then ran the truck off the road before getting to his car. The fire engine, too, got stuck in the mud.
American Style Zero Intelligence Spreads
October 11, 2004 (AP) - Whatever happened to chocolate, vanilla and strawberry? a court in southern Russia has banned the sale of Ukrainian ice cream that hit the shelves under names alluding to drugs, such as "Your Hemp Dose" and "Poppy Fun", a drug control official said Friday. Narcotics officers in the city of Rostov-on-Don filed suit after noticing the ice cream in kiosks, and a district court ordered the product removed from all shops and other points of sale in the region, said Larisa Maslova, spokeswoman for the Rostov region drug control department.
Beer for Football Victory
October 8, 2004 (Radio Prague) - Czech brewery promises to "reward" players if they win Euro 2004. The Czech football team's excellent run at Euro 2004 has been good for the pub trade here as many Czechs go to bars to watch the matches and cheer their team on. One Czech brewery has been in the news recently with an interesting marketing ploy to take advantage of this upsurge in business and keep beer on people's minds. In what is apparently an effort to encourage the team, the Bernard brewery has offered the Czech coach a lifetime's supply of beer if his players can win the tournament. The brewery has also promised the entire Czech squad 160 litres of beer each, if they are successful at Euro 2004. One would think that such an offer would hardly motivate a bunch of millionaire professional footballers, but Prague barman David Hylas disagrees. He says all Czechs have an emotional attachment to beer and that the offer would be appreciated: "Oh yeah - If you say the word 'Czech' the first thing that comes into your mind is probably beer. The Czechs call it their 'liquid bread'. Traditionally, nobody here really minds when the price of flour or milk goes up, but whenever the price of beer increases it's always a big problem." The Czechs are indeed fond of their beer. Lagers and dark beers have been brewed here for centuries and the Czech Republic regularly tops international beer consumption charts. If beer is their favourite drink, football is also their most popular sport. David says that beer and football often go hand-in-hand, as most Czech players like to wind down with a few beers after a hard match. "Beer and football is the same word almost. Why do we play football? Just to get a thirst and to splash it with a beer. We play to get a thirst and to treat ourselves with a beer. If you just go for a beer on its own, you maybe feel you shouldn't treat yourself that much, but if you play football beforehand, you're going to treat yourself and get a couple of pints - that's perfect." Having been a barman for over a decade, David has seen his bar fill out down through the years for many football tournaments and other large sporting events, especially when the Czech competitors are doing well. He predicts that a victory for the Czech Republic in Portugal would be good for business as the locals will presumably treat themselves to gallons of their national drink to celebrate. But what if the Czechs lose? "Then, we'll just drink dark beer, because Czechs make black, dark beer as well. Black is the colour of sorrow so [when we're sad] we've drink the black beer."
Guilt by Association with Beer
October 1, 2004 (AP) - Keith Emerich, 44, who lost his driving privileges after his doctor reported to police that he drank a six-pack of beer a day, has asked Commonwealth Court to overturn the state Department of Transportation's decision to revoke his license. A Lebanon, Pa., County Common Pleas judge ruled that Emerich may obtain restricted driving privileges as long as he uses a device that tests his blood-alcohol content before starting his car. Emerich, a printing company employee, was notified in April he would lose his license, about two months after he disclosed his drinking habit to doctors treating him for an irregular heartbeat. A Pennsylvania law from the 1960s requires doctors to report any impairments in patients that could compromise their ability to drive safely. Emerich has said he does not drive drunk and argued that he reduced his beer drinking to weekends and has a clean driving record.
Political Correctness Comes to Multinational Brewing Behemoth
October 1, 2004 (Post Express) - Belgium - Belgium-based InBev, the world's biggest brewer, no longer wants its managers drinking during lunchtime, Reuters reported. Staff moving into brand-new headquarters will find that alcohol is no longer being served at the company bar during working hours. The company told its unions - which were angry that they were not consulted - that the pub would still serve beer after hours. The policy does not affect employees at production sites. InBev was created in August when Belgium's Interbrew merged with AmBev of Brazil, and lunchtime alcohol consumption is out of step with the culture of an international company, spokeswoman Marianne Amssoms said.
Creative Prohibition Idea from New Mexico DA
Alcohol Related Non-injury
September 14, 2004 (Post Express/AP) - Not many people get run over by a train and live to tell about it. Shawn Polley did - but won't remember much of his story. Police in Le Mars, Iowa, say Polley was drunk and passed out between the rails on a set of railroad racks earlier this month. A train engineer didn't notice Polley until his train had passed over the sleeping man. Miraculously, Polley wans't hurt. Police said that when they finally reached the scene, they had to wake him up.
Truck Driver Disappears with 50,000 cans of Moosehead
August 27, 2004 (CNN/Reuters) - Toronto, Ontario - Cans labeled in English and Spanish still missing, driver found, mystery unsolved. Details at www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/americas/08/26/canada.beer.heist.reut/index.html
Russian Autocrats Take Lessons from American Neoprohibitionists - Media Fuels the Fire of Hysteria
August 6, 2004 (Kansas City Star - AP) - Thanks to hip advertising and trendy breweries, beer's popularity has soared in the land of vodka. But Russia's brewers have hit a snag; the lower house of parliament passed legislation Thursday that would put some of Europe's toughest restrictions on beer ads. The move reflects growing concern about alcoholism and lawlessness in Russia - and underscores the tremendous impact that President Vladimir Putin is having on the country. If the measure gets upper house approval and is signed into law, no beer ads would be allowed on TV or radio from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. At other times, the ads couldn't show humans, animals or animated characters or imply that beer is connected with social or athletic success - restrictions that also were extended to beer ads for newspapers and magazines. Lawmakers cited public concerns about growing alcoholism and youth drinking, and some regional lawmakers are pushing for a ban on drinking in public. "The situation is very critical. We may lose an entire generation," Mikhail Grishankov, deputy head of the security committee in the State Duma, parliament's lower house, was quoted as saying by the business newspaper Vedomosti. On average, Russians drank about 15 gallons of beer per person last year, still below many European nations, but consumption is growing, the Russian Brewers' Union said. Beer is sold around the clock at kiosks, costing as little as 15 rubles for a half-liter bottle, or about 50 cents a pint.
Oregon Becomes Beer-friendly for Consumers
August 19, 2004 (USA Today) - Portland, Oregon - A two-year pilot program to sell liquor in Portland grocery stores makes shopping more convenient for consumers and boost foot traffic for grocers, supporters say. Critics say the plan will hurt existing liquor stores. The state started phasing in the program this month. Six outlets are to open by Dec. 31.
Big Bears Choose Ranier
August 19, 2004 (USA Today) - Baker Lake, Washington - When state Fish and Wildlife agents found a black bear passed out on the lawn of Baker Lake Resort , some clues were scattered nearby: dozens of empty beer cans. The bear apparently got into coolers belonging to campers and used his claws and teeth to puncture the cans. The bear will be relocated.
Government Drug Prevents Hangover
June, 2004 (Popular Science) - Russia - A drug that the KGB invented to keep heavy-drinking spies on their toes will be sold to Americans as a hangover cure. Developed by the Russian Academy of Sciences in the 1970s, the RU-21 hangover preventative is based on sound physiology. When alcohol enters the body it is absorbed by the cells, which convert it into acetaldehyde. A toxic compound, acetaldehyde is believed responsible for causing hangovers. RU-21 has two effects, according to its marketer, Spirit Sciences of California. First it slows the production of acetaldehyde. Then, it stimulates the cells to produce an enzyme that converts acetaldehyde into less toxic acetic acid, which the body then excretes. Spirit Sciences plans to have RU-21 for sale at major retailers this year.
Churches Accustomed to Restricting Beer Businesses Now Find the Shoe is on the Other Foot
August 14, 2004 (USA Today) - Clover, South Carolina - Some town leaders who've had enough of storefront churches downtown are pushing an ordinance to stop churches from opening and to keep others from expanding. Officials said the storefronts only generate foot traffic for a few hours on Sundays. Town Council postponed a decision. Furman University political science professor , Donald Aiesi, said the limitation is clearly unconstitutional.
Men's Health Magazine Trashes Denver Beer Scene - Yellow Journalism on Steroids?
August 13, 2004 (Denver Post) - Aurora, Colorado - Friday, August 13, 2004 - Researchers at Men's Health magazine have published a report that ranks Denver as the drunkest big city in America. Denver tops even the most notoriously decadent, the survey says. We smashed New Orleans and stewed Las Vegas. We tied one on over L.A. and schnockered New York. The ranking surprised even the researchers. "Who knows?" the article reads. "Maybe the thin air makes everyone thickheaded about designating drivers and limiting libations." Though the article takes a lighthearted look at the rankings, the editors based the list on some sobering statistics: Denver ranked worst among 101 big cities for the number of drunken-driving arrests, alcohol-related driving deaths and deaths due to six alcohol-related liver diseases. Matt Marion, who edited the article, cautioned that the survey intends to rank the cities by a measure of lethality, and not overall drunkenness - which is perhaps impossible to measure. "What we really looked at were cities that we call 'dangerously drunk,"' Marion said.
That doesn't mean the mag didn't have a little fun with the subject. The piece is titled: "Is Your City Sloshed?" Denver ranked last. Aurora staggered in at 64th with Colorado Springs tying with Lexington, Ky., at 62nd. Marion said the rate of Denver DUI arrests reached 547 per 100,000 residents. About 68 percent of fatal traffic accidents here were caused by alcohol, and deaths due to liver disease occurred at a rate of 12.4 per 100,000. "We are the Napa Valley of beer," said Steve Kurowski, spokesman for the Breckenridge Brewery in Denver. "We have more brewpubs per capita than any state in the country." And we revel in it. Next month Denver will sponsor the "Great American Beer Festival," which, according to the Association of Brewers in Boulder, has "the biggest selection of beers ever gathered together on the globe." The beer gathering at the Colorado Convention Center will feature 1,600 beers from 320 breweries. Some question the magazine's methodology. With the emphasis placed on DUI arrests and driving deaths, New York comes off looking like a Sunday school meeting - but New Yorkers can carouse until near daybreak and depend on cabbies or mass transit - or parking meters as walking sticks - to wend their way home. Denver police spokesman John White said the city has a low tolerance for alcohol-impaired drivers. It's a safety issue, he said. "As a department, we do very aggressively enforce our DUI laws," White said. Denver's low grade comes despite declines in recent DUI arrests and alcohol-related deaths. That data hasn't yet made it into the national databases on which the magazine relied.
Still, it's not the first time a magazine has noticed Denver's drinking problem. Last year, Men's Fitness gave the city bad marks, saying Denver has "far more bars and taverns than most cities surveyed." Denver is, after all, a town run by a bar-owning mayor, considering a senatorial candidate who runs a beer company, and one that watches its baseball in a park named for the senatorial candidate's beer company. But Mayor John Hickenlooper, who owns seven bars, didn't find the ranking a selling point for the city. "Any time you're in the bottom half, you can't be happy with that. It's no laughing matter," Hickenlooper said. He said cities with some of the highest grades including Boston have excellent mass transit systems that may have given them an edge. Hickenlooper said he has long offered designated drivers free soda and orange juice. "I've always believed the bar industry had the responsibility for the highest ethics in serving people," he said. Jo, office manager for Denver's Alcoholics Anonymous, said almost 470 AA groups in the metro area host 1,100 meetings each week. Between 8,000 and 10,000 people from all walks of life attend, she said. "Basically, they (Men's Health) are talking about all the people who aren't here yet," Jo said. "Maybe they'll be future members."
Colleges Pay the Price for No Positive Drinking Role Models
August 12, 2004 (Denver Post) - Aurora, Colorado - The University of Colorado is trying to shed its image as the No. 1 party school in the nation by imposing tougher alcohol policies, including a required Web class on alcohol abuse for freshmen. The school's Board of Regents on Wednesday also debated pulling illegally displayed CU logos from liquor- store promotions and protesting liquor-license applications near campus. CU is still smarting from being ranked the top party school in the nation last fall by the Princeton Review magazine. Also, two federal lawsuits claim sex and booze were used at CU to entice high school athletic recruits. Wednesday's newly announced drinking policies were first discussed before allegations about CU's football recruiting practices were made public in January. But they are designed to address a runaway campus culture that fostered the scandal. Students must earn an 80 percent on the three-hour, noncredit alcohol-education course to register for next spring's classes, vice chancellor Ron Stump said. About one-fifth of the 5,548 incoming freshmen have already completed the course. All are encouraged to take it before the start of classes Aug. 23, said Robert Maust, director of CU's alcohol-education program. "Some students felt offended by the requirement, that it implied they had a problem with alcohol and we expected them to cause problems on campus," Maust said. "But after taking the course, they realize that it's intended to inform, not discipline." In addition, the school's "three strikes and you're out" alcohol policy was toughened to allow for suspension on the first or second alcohol violation. Penalties also were stiffened for each offense. "If it's egregious enough, it could result in suspension on the first strike," Stump said. "We found that some students thought they had three shots at this thing." An egregious violation could include physical or sexual assault or destruction of property. It could also include endangering the health or safety of someone else, CU officials said. Parents will now receive a letter after a student's first drinking violation. Some parents complained they weren't learning of the problem until the second occurrence, Stump said. Regent Jim Martin suggested an immediate phone call from CU to parents on the first offense. "A phone call to the parents from the university would be a wake-up call and raise the consciousness level one degree," Martin said. An alcohol violation is defined as any number of student-code violations including underage drinking or drinking in nondesignated areas on campus. A violation does not necessarily require police action, CU spokesman Peter Caughey said. Students can contest violations before the campus judicial-affairs hearing board and can appeal a decision. Students can also be prosecuted criminally.
CU also announced more detailed plans in direct response to the football scandal. A 14- member faculty-dominated advisory board was named to propose athletic-department policy on admission standards, recruiting practices and hiring. Also, Stump will now spend half his time working on athletic-department issues such as team discipline, addressing allegations of sexual harassment and violence against women, and overseeing compliance with recruiting policies. Lisa Simon, spokeswoman for Lisa Simpson's attorney, had no comment on the new policies. Simpson is one of three plaintiffs in the federal lawsuits who claims she was raped at an alcohol-fueled off-campus party in 2001. Peggy Lamm, co-chairwoman of the commission that made recommendations for change after investigating the scandal and CU culture for three months, was unavailable for comment on the new policies.
Efforts to fight campus alcohol abuse may not stop with Wednesday's new rules, regents said. Regent Cindy Carlisle suggested stripping Boulder liquor stores of the CU logo used in advertisements. Use of the logo without permission is illegal, CU attorneys said. Carlisle also said CU should be more aggressive in protesting liquor-license applications before the local liquor licensing board. CU cracks down - New sanctions for alcohol/drug offenses at the University of Colorado at Boulder: First offense-Parental notification; Five hours of community service; Attendance at alcohol awareness class costing $100; Probation for one semester - student is on notice that more serious penalties are forthcoming with additional violations; Can include suspension depending on severity Second offense-Parental notification; Ten hours of community service; Referral to the city of Boulder's "2nd Offender" program at a cost of $400; Suspension for one semester if on probation for first offense Third offense-Parental notification; Suspension
Reservation Prohibition Fuels Nearby Beer Sales
August 11, 2004 (USA Today) - White Clay, Nebraska - The State Liquor Control Commission denied a license for a forth beer store in Whiteclay. Whiteclay, which has about a dozen residents, has sales of about 11,000 cans of beer per day, mainly to some of the Ogala Sioux who cannot legally take beer onto the Pine Ridge Reservation.
But Officer, The Island Just Jumped Out In Front of Me
August 11, 2004 (USA Today) - Burlington, Vermont - Todd Ellsworth, 30 pleaded innocent to drunken boating charges following a crash on Lake Champlain that injured four people. Ellsworth's 30-foot powerboat smashed into a small island in Malletts Bay, police said. Three passengers were treated and released from the hospital. A fourth suffered a serious head injury.
Better Drinking Through Technology
August 11, 2004 (AP/Express)- A trio of college fraternity buddies hopes to end the problem of warm beer. Adam Hunnell and two of his "brothers" are using a $20,000 entrepreneur grant to develop the "Keg Wrap." Hunnell, a grad student at Cleveland's Case Western Reserve University, compared the Keg Wrap to a heating blanket that chills instead of warms, powered by an electric socket or a car's lighter. "We had kegs with a party and we thought, 'There's got to be a better way than sticking a keg in a trash can and creating a big mess'." co-developer Nathan Siavin recalled.
Alcohol-Related Injuries at 30,000 Feet
July 21, 2004 (AP) - (Moscow, Russia)- Drunken passengers often give air crews trouble, but Russia's leading airline yesterday reported an "unprecedented" reversal: a passenger was assaulted by intoxicated flight attendants. Two crew members on a domestic Aeroflot flight beat up a passenger who had complained that the flight attendants were drunk, an airline spokeswoman, Irina Dannenberg, said. The passenger, who was identified only as A. Chernopup, was aboard a recent flight from Moscow to the Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk, Ms Dannenberg said. She said the crew belonged to another airline, Aviaenergo. Seeing that the crew were intoxicated and were not fulfilling their duties, Mr Chernopup asked to be served by a sober and competent flight attendant, Ms Dannenberg said. He was then beaten up by crew members. On Russian flights, attendants often have to struggle to keep intoxicated passengers under control. But on this flight, she said, flight attendants were so intoxicated that they "behaved improperly" and only began catering to passengers 90 minutes into the four-hour trip. The daily newspaper Izvestia quoted another passenger as saying that half of the food the crew served ended up on the floor, leaving the aisle strewn with debris that passengers had to walk over as they disembarked. According to the passenger, Mr Chernopup left the plane with a black eye and was sent to a doctor. Izvestia also reported that a criminal case was opened after he reported the incident to the police.
Vodka and Cheese - a Dangerous Mix
July 20, 2004 (Express/AP)- Police in Marysville, Tenn., say they arrested a 23-year-old man wearing nothing but cheese on Sunday. He was allegedly carrying food stolen from a concession stand at a pool. Police say they found Michael Monn's Jeep parked near the pool, with clothes and a bottle of vodka inside. They they saw Monn running toward the Jeep in the nude, with cheese in his hair, on his face and on his shoulders. Police say he smelled of alcohol and wasn't fully coherent.
Government Protects Connecticut Citizens from Barroom Poker
July 15, 2004 (USA Today)- Four Connecticut bars were told to end "poker night" promotions in which they allow the card game to be played for cash. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a cease-and-desist letter to three bars in Stamford and one in Hamden. State liquor officials said barroom poker violates state laws that ban gambling except for social games between friends.
Beer and Firearms Impact Fertility
July 14, 2004 (Express/AP)- A man in Sheffield, England, who accidently shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his trousers was jailed for five years Tuesday for illegal possession of a firearm. David Walker, 28, underwent emergency surgery following the March 6 incident. Tests were continuing to find out how it would affect his fertility and future sexual relationships, his lawyer Gulzar Syed said, adding that some pellets remained in Walker's scrotum. Walker admitted one charge of possession of a prohibited firearm at a previous hearing.
Million Dollar Propaganda Campaign - Are You More Intelligent than this?
July 13, 2004 (USA Today) - (Puerto Rico) - The island launched a $1 million campaign to discourage youth from smoking and drinking. The campaign slogan is "You are more intelligent than this" and includes TV and movie ads. It's the first project of Puerto Rico's Office of Drug Control, which was created in 2001.
June 17, 2004 (Express) - Beer won't just give you that tingly feeling on the inside - it can also serve as a saive for the outside forces that ail you, a German brewer says. The small Neuzeller Kloster Brewery in the village of Neuzelle brews what it calls a bathing beer in addition to its usual assortment of beverages, Reuters reported. The beer - a product for external and internal use, according to its label - is a hit in the relaxation room at Germany's Hotel Esplanade, where patrons soak up the suds during bathroom treatments.
June 4, 2004 (Express) - A 39-year-old man was arrested Tuesday after stripping off his clothes and entering a Woodstock, Ontario, car wash for an impromptu shower. Police say a cab stopped to fill up at a gas station about 10 p.m. when the passenger got out and decided to have a wash before going home, the Woodstock Sentinel-Review reported. The man's name wasn't released. He was charged with being intoxicated in a public place.
Iron from your Drinking Diet?
July 7, 2004 (AP/Express) - Vietnamese doctors removed three metal construction rods from a man's stomach about a month after he swallowed them in a rice whiskey drinking challenge, an official said Monday. Huynh Ngoc Son, 22, swallowed the rods, which were 5.7 inches long and about a quarter-inch thick, after being dared by his drinking buddies in mid-May, said Dr. Le Quang Nghia of Binh Dan Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Son went to the hospital last week complaining of serious stomach pains. The rods were removed during a 30-minute operation, and Son's stomach was not seriously damaged by the ordeal, Nghia said.
Albuquerque Brewpubs go Breathing-Friendly
July 1, 2004 - After years of enduring a city "clean air" ordinance that provided no clean air to beer drinkers there is finally relief. The city's new ordinance gave bars the choice of enclosing their smoking areas or going non-smoking. The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce predicted a loss in state gross tax revenue of $4M the first year, yet there were no aid programs to help businesses offset the costs of businesses providing a clean air setting for their employees or customers. As bars in Tempe learned the hard way recently, a mindless push to go non-smoking without analyzing how easily determined smokers can go to a nearby municipality can be devastating for business. Fortunately for Albuquerque brewpubs they are unlikely to loose business to customers driving west to Turtle Mountain, south to Tractor Brewing or north to Second Street Brewing. For a more positive review of successful implementations of a smoking ban check out the review of Dublin's now non-smoking pub environment in July's Celebrator Beer News and July's Budget Travel.
Organic Hangover Cure?
June 29, 2004 (Chicago Tribune)- Louisiana - A study release Monday has found that an extract of prickly pear cactus can prevent a severe hangover. The study found that when taken hours before drinking, the extract can alleviate symptoms such as dry mouth and that nauseated, can't-stand-the-sight-of-food feeling. It does not appear to ease other symptoms such as headaches and dizziness. But unlike raw egg mixtures, cold pizza, greasy breakfasts and other folk remedies, the extract helps prevent the symptoms instead of trying to relieve them. The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine and was led by Dr. Jeff Wiese at the Tulane Health Sciences Center in New Orleans.
From Pints to Puffs to Nicotine Gum
April 2004 (On Tap) - A pint and a butt might seem an inextricable part of the Irish bar scene - but no more. As of last week, smoking is banned in Ireland's bars and restaurants and other public spaces. It's a trend that's on fire. Norway will adopt a ban April 8; Sweden, July 1; New Zealand, Dec.1; and Bhutan, Dec. 31. An international treaty to ban smoking in public places has been signed by 101 countries, says John F. Bazhaff III, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health. Ratification is pending. The United States hasn't signed the treaty, but travelers who smoke and those who hate it, take note: Smoking is banned in restaurants and bars statewide in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Delaware. Smoking is banned in restaurants but allowed in bars in Florida, South Dakota, Vermont and Utah. The law is similar in Maryland, except that bar areas in restaurants may allow smoking. Singapore now apparently considers smoking even worse than chewing gum: The nation this month will lift its 12-year ban on chewing gum to make an exception for nicotine gum to help smokers quit.
Civilization Chipping away at Utah Prohibitionists
June 1, 2004 (Providence, Utah)- City leaders lifted the ban on beer and wine with meals at restaurants. But the revised rule isn't without the restrictions common across Utah. Restaurants would be allowed to sell beer and wine as long a 70% of the establishments business comes from food. It also limits the bar area to 30% of the restaurant's total space.
Drinking for that Inner Glow
April 21, 2004 (Sydney Morning Herald)- Ditch the vitamins and herb pills - getting that "inner glow" has never been easier...if you work at ERA's 24-year-old Ranger mine in Kakadu National Park. Fancy a potion that will set you alight from the inside out? Talk about looking after you staff, with no less than 28 lucky mine employees chugga-lugging uranium-contaminated water at the mine last month after the process water system - containing uranium and other chemicals - was mistakenly connected to the system that supplies drinking and showering water. Whoops.
Drinking Challenger Looses in Meltdown
April 21, 2004 (Sydney Morning Herald/Newsday) - (New York)- A drunken man died after he set fire to a rug and challenged his roommate to see who could stay longer in their house - on Fire Island, New York. Police said that as the flames spread, Thomas Woods, 59, fired one or two rounds from a pre-World War I Mauser pistol, although they did not know why. When the fire began to look dangerous, Mr. Wood's roommate, Rod Bennet, ran to a neighbour's house to summon the fire brigade. Police said there were no indications of foul play and no arrests had been made. Mr. Bennet was handcuffed after the fire because he was combative and distraught. His story of what happened "is so incredible" that it's probably "credible", Detective Sergeant Ed Fandrey of Suffolk County homicide squad said. The two men were drinking heavily on Saturday night when Mr. Woods issued his dare: "Let's see which one of us leaves first." Apparently, after issuing the dare Mr. Woods had fallen asleep on a couch and tried to escape when he woke up. His body was found near the entrance, on top of a pile of plastic that had melted off the windows during the blaze.
Double Jeapordy OKAY when Against Delaware Bar Owners
March 11, 2004 (USA Today) - (Dover, Delaware)- A bill that would have prevented violators of Delaware's indoor smoking ban from being fined twice failed in the Senate by a single vote. Supporters said it's unfair that bar and restaurant owners who allow smoking in their establishments can be fined by both the health department and the alcoholic beverage commission.
Idaho Students Learn How Big Brother Stays Big
March 11, 2004 (USA Today) - (Boise, Idaho)- The House Education Committee unanimously supported a state scholarship that would reward high school students who volunteer for and pass random drug, alcohol and tobacco testing. School districts would have the option of participating in the program.
Arizona Consumers Get More Time
June 11, 2004 (USA Today) - (Phoenix, Arizona)- The state Senate approved legislation that would allow alcoholic beverage sales until 2a.m., an hour later that currently permitted. The House had approved the bill, so it goes to Gov. Napolitano. a Napolitano spokeswoman said the governor hasn't read the bill or taken a position on it.
Tale of "alcohol and a woman"
June 9, 2004 (USA Today) - (Grand Island, Nebraska)- Howard County Sheriff Troy Kaiser is standing trial this week. He's charged with threatening another man at a March 2003 dance at Grand Island's Fonner Park. Police have said the incident involved alcohol and a woman. If convicted, Kaiser could face up to five years in prison, a $10,000 fine and lose his law enforcement certification.
Please Excuse Norman from Drunk School Today
April 27, 2004 (International Express) - (Sydney, Australia)- A drink-driver's plan to avoid a court appearance backfired when he sent a phoney sick note to his solicitor. Retired businessman Norman Preston, 59, claimed he was too ill to appear. In fact, he was heading to Mexico but he faxed the note as he checked in for the trip and it carried the airport address. Magistrates at Llandudno, North Wales, fined Preston, of Bispham, Lancs, who already had two drink-driving convictions, £175 for failing to surrender to bail. He was also banned from driving for five years, ordered to pay £75 costs and given a 12-month community rehabilitation order.
Lobbyists Override Consumer Protection Legislation
May 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (St. Paul, Minnesota)- A move to ban smoking in bars and restaurants may fizzle in the legislature. The bill didn't get a committee hearing in the House, two key committee deadlines have passed and the House speaker and the chairwoman of a key House health committee oppose it. Democrats and Republicans both support the proposal, but the hospitality industry says it would hurt bars and restaurants.
Smokers' Effluent Under Attack
May 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (Los Angeles, California)- A City Council committee recommended banning smoking on beaches. The proposal matches laws already passed or pending elsewhere along the Southern California coast, where cigarette butts litter beaches. A similar proposal in Santa Monica received initial City Council approval last month. San Clemente and Solana Beach have enacted bans.
Prevent a Sniffle, go to Prison in Oklahoma
May 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)- Oklahoma would become the first state to regulate cold tablets with decongestant pseudoephedrine under a bill pending in the Legislature. Pseudophedrine is used to make methamphetamine, an illegal drug. The bill would require a photo ID and a signature to buy such products at a pharmacy. Pseudoephdrine is found in over-the-counter cold medication.
Social Engineering's 21-yr old Drinking Age Fails to Cure Underage Drinking - Surprise!
May 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)- Juvenile arrests for drunken driving rose nearly 12% from 2001 to 2002 while adult arrests for the offense decreased 2.7%, according to the Department of Transportation. The number of teenagers arrested for drunken driving in 2002 was 724, a 15-year high. Critics said the study shows that it's too easy for juveniles to get alcohol.
Oklahoma Taliban Spell Out 12th Century Justice Against Zymurgist
May 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (Chickasha, Oklahoma)- A Grady County inmate received a 10-year sentence for brewing an alcoholic beverage from orange juice and grape jelly while in jail. Timothy Pugh, 26, pleaded guilty to possession of contraband in a penal facility after he was caught with three gallons of the brew.
Rumors of Campus "Quantity" Beer Drinking
May 1, 2004 (USA Today) - (New Orleans, Louisiana)- Loyola University accused 24 members of a splinter sorority group of hazing incidents that included forcing pledges to drink large amounts of alcohol and sit in bathtubs filled with ice. Tri Phi is an off-campus social group. Some of the students denied mistreating pledges and said the charges are based on rumors.
Delaware to Lighten Up on Abusing Alcohol Licensees?
March 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (Dover, Delaware)- Legislation pending in the state Senate would reduce the punishment for violations of the state's indoor-smoking ban. Under the current law, bars violating the ban can face an additional sanction from the alcohol commissioner. Supporters of the proposed change say it isn't fair that places with alcohol licenses face a harsher punishment that others.
Due Process Thwarts Anti-alcohol Law Enforcement Excesses
May 15, 2004 (USA Today) - (Pierre, South Dakota)- Ashley Lynn Webb took her fight with Aberdeen authorities to the state Supreme Court - and won. Webb was 20 when she was arrested in an Aberdeen alley for underage drunken driving. She was stopped because the officer mistakenly believed that it was illegal for drivers to back up on roads. Her driver's license can't be revoked because the officer didn't have a legitimate reason to stop her, the justices said.
Lawrence to go "Breathing Friendly" ?
May 6, 2004 (USA Today) - (Lawrence, Kansas)- City commissioners gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would ban smoking in almost all buildings open to the public, including bars and restaurants. The ordinance needs approval next week to take effect July 1.
St. Paul Weighs Going Breathing Friendly
May 6, 2004 (USA Today) - (St. Paul, Minnesota) - City Councilman Dave Thune plans to introduce an ordinance to make St. Paul's restaurants and bars smoke-free. He calls it a public health measure designed to protect bar and restaurant employees and patrons. It could affect as many as 1,200 establishments. If the ordinance is adopted, St. Paul would become the largest city in Minnesota to go smoke-free.
Montana Cops Tell Kids "Don't Celebrate at St. Patrick's Day Parade"
March 16, 2004 (USA Today) - (Butte, Montana)- Law enforcement authorities want children to stay away from Uptown Butte for the St. Patrick's Day parade and celebration Wednesday. The presence of children makes it more difficult for law officers to police underage drinking and drunken driving, Sheriff John Welsh said.
Missouri Tells Kayakers "A Bottle of Beer Get's You a Year in the Slammer"
March 14, 2004 (USA Today) - (Jefferson City, Missouri)- Canoeists and kayakers can no longer bring glass containers onto Missouri waterways under legislation passed by the House. The provisions of the bill are directed only at small boats easily susceptible to tipping, such as canoes and kayaks. Violating the law would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Prohibitionist Honored at Institution of "Higher Learning"
March 11, 2004 (USA Today) - (Providence, Rhode Island) - Robert Carothersalcohol, president of the University of Rhode Island, was recognized by education researchers in Washington for helping curb student alcohol abuse. Among his initiatives was barring alcohol from social and athletic functions on campus. He also made homecoming weekend in October an alcohol-free event. Carothers, 61, became URI's president in 1991.
Kentucky Bar Owners Claim Constitutional Right to Pollute Customers' Lungs
March 10, 2004 (USA Today) - (Frankfort, Kentucky) - Attorneys for the city of Lexington asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to uphold a ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public buildings. An organization of bar and restaurant owners sued to block the ordinance, claiming it was unconstitutional. Attorney John Walters says the case is about business owners' property rights. The city said it acted to protect public health.
.08 Law Snares Wisconsin's Top Cop
February 29, 2004 (USA Today) - (Wisconsin)- Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager pleaded guilty to a civil drunken-driving violation and apologized to voters, saying "this was a big mistake." Lautenschlager, 48, was cited Monday after she drove her state-owned car into a ditch. She was alone and wasn't injured. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.12%, according to a preliminary breath test. The state limit is 0.08%. Her lawyer said she paid the $784 fine, will lose her license for a year and will undergo alcohol counseling. She said she won't resign.
From Unhealthy Smoke to Obnoxious Stench
February 29, 2004 (USA Today) - (Smyrna, Georgia)- For the second time in less than a year, Bull Dozer's Saloon avoided a fine for allowing patrons to smoke indoors. The bar successfully claimed that patrons had been smoking herbal cigarettes, which aren't covered by the state smoking ban. Police say a third case includes evidence that tobacco was being smoked.
Leveling the Playing (Time) Field
February 25, 2004 (USA Today) - (Lansing, Michigan) - A state lawmaker wants to change a law that governs alcohol sales on Sunday to make sure that business located in the Central time zone aren't disadvantaged. The law says sales cannot begin until noon Sunday but doesn't specify time zone. The bill would clarify the time as noon ET, so businesses in the Central time zone could open at 11 a.m.
To Protect and Shield (One's Own)
February 25, 2004 (USA Today) - (Providence, Rhode Island) - State police want to change a law designed to protect officers' rights. They say it shielded a trooper who should have been fired. Trooper Eve Marani was fired after she admitted to driving drunk and assaulting officers who tried to arrest her. She had had her dismissal reduced to a one-year, unpaid suspension by appealing to a panel established under the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.
Too Frisky for Field Sobriety Test
February 24, 2004 (USA Today) - (Billings, Montana) - A jury acquitted an accused drunken driver seven months after an officer stopped the partially dressed man and his fiancee. Robert Niel Johnson III argued that embarrassment prevented him from carrying out field sobriety tests. His Fiancee testified that they had been celebrating their engagement in a Billings bar and she became "frisky" during the ride home. The couple has since married.
Buttocks Exposure Legalized in Akron
February 24, 2004 (USA Today) - (Akron, Ohio) - City Council is trying to clear up any confusion about the legality of baring bottoms. Members today will consider dropping the word "buttocks" from the definition of nudity in the city zoning code. That would bring Akron in line with the rest of Ohio. A bar owner has asked if thong-style coverings were legal. City code allows them only in a sexually-oriented business. "(The proposed revision would) simply mean that walking around with some or all of your buttocks exposed is not necessarily a crime.
Political Correctness at Florida Liquor Store
February 12, 2004 (USA Today) - (Pensacola Beach, Florida)- The owner of a liquor store named after Apache leader Geronimo said he's considering renaming the store. Owner Fred Simmons considers Geronimo's Spirits to be a tribute. But critics say the name is degrading to the warrior and medicine man and plays into the stereotype of Indians and drinking.
Unlike Virginia Bureaucrats, Delaware Supports Small Businesses
February 10, 2004 (USA Today) - (Milton, Delaware)- The local sewage treatment plant can no longer handle the wastewater from Dogfish Head brewery. Sam Caglione (sp), the owner, said he wants to keep the brewery in Milton but it will depend on whether the town upgrades the treatment plant. Caglione said other communities have been wooing his company with promises of free water hookup and other incentives.
21st Century Creeps into the South
February 10, 2004 (USA Today) - (Nashville, Tennessee) - Officials in several cities say they want to repeal a state law that prevents them from regulating smoking in restaurants, bars and other businesses. At least three bills pending in the Legislature would wipe the 1994 law from the books. Supporters of the bills include officials from Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. Past efforts to regulate tobacco have met stiff opposition from the restaurant industry and farm groups.
In Arkansas - "We Don't Need No Stinkin Evidence" for DWI Conviction
February 10, 2004 (USA Today) - (Little Rock, Arkansas) - The state Supreme Court reimposed a third-offense drunken driving conviction against a man after the Court of Appeals had set it aside. Justices said prosecutors didn't need blood-alcohol evidence to prove that Justin Porter drove drunk. Porter wrecked his car and smelled of alcohol, but his blood-alcohol level was below the legal threshold when he was tested a half-hour after the accident.
Live Free or Die (by Administrative Penalties and Fines)
February 5, 2004 (USA Today) - (Concord, New Hampshire) - A bill introduced in the state House would increase penalties for DWI offenders if minors are passengers. It would set a minimum fine of $500 and a mandatory loss of license for up to two years for anyone convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a passenger under the age of 16.
City Exempts Own Beer-businesses from Closing Laws
January 21, 2004 (USA Today) - (Atlanta, Georgia) - Underground Atlanta, the downtown entertainment complex that already has later closing times than bars elsewhere in the city, is asking to remain open until 6 a.m. Other establishments must have last call at 2:30 a.m. and close by 3 a.m. Nightspots at Underground can pour until 4 a.m., an exemption granted to the city-owned complex by the Atlanta City Council.
Ice Beer Rescue
January 20, 2004 (Reuters) - (Moscow, Russia) - Russia has sent in the army to bolster a week-long struggle to rescue 10 tons of beer trapped under Siberian ice, Itar-Tass news agency said Tuesday. A lorry carrying the beer sank when trying to cross the frozen Irtysh river, and a rescue team of six divers, 10 workers and a modified T-72 tank from the emergencies ministry have so far failed to save the load. "The situation hasn't developed according to our ideal scenario," the deputy head of the Cherlaksky region, told the agency. Temperatures were around minus 27 degrees Celsius (minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit) in the region, near the Siberian city of Omsk and around 1,400 miles from Moscow. A week-long effort to cut a 100 yard corridor to the river bank to pull the truck to dry land failed when the vehicle was swept away from the rescue site, Tass said. But it said the soldiers were confident it would take them just a day to retrieve the beer.
Secondhand Smoke for Dummies Pays
January 9, 2004 (USA Today) - (Pierre, South Dakota) - A woman with asthma is entitled to worker's compensation benefits for breathing difficulties that were triggered by working in a smoky bar, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled. The Veterans of Foreign Wars club in Eureka argued that Jennifer Cantalope should not get benefits because she kept her asthma secret when hired and her doctor urged her to stay away from smoky places.
Extremists Push Fourth Amendment Down Slippery Slope
January 6, 2004 (USA Today) - (Providence, Rhode Island) - Opponents of drunken driving say they will push this legislative session to close a loophole in state law. The activists say the law allows suspects stopped by police on suspicion of driving under the influence to refuse to take a chemical test. The refusal carries a civil penalty only, plus a minimum three-month license suspension for the first offense.
at: New Mexico Virtual Brewpub