7 Science-Backed Ways Beer Is Good for Your Health 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017 2:27:00 PM

 A beer a day may keep the doctor away.


Source: NBC News



Sometimes there's nothing better than cracking open a cold one after a long day.


We tend to view beer as an indulgence - maybe because we associate all those suds with a beer gut and inevitable weight gain. But you'll be happy to hear that, when consumed in moderation (we repeat, moderation), the benefits of beer go far beyond helping you wind down after a stressful week.


What exactly constitutes "drinking in moderation," anyway? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate alcohol consumption as having one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. While research does show there is room for imbibing as part of a balanced, healthy diet, they also advise not to start drinking if you currently abstain.


But if you do keep a six-pack in the fridge, crack open a cold one and say "cheers" to these health benefits!




Many experts agree that beer is more like a food than a beverage - after all, it is referred to as liquid bread. While that does mean you need to be mindful of how many calories you're sipping in each glass, it also means the liquid contains some good-for-you nutrients.


According to one study, "beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine. The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine."


Charlie Bamforth, a professor of brewing sciences at the University of California, Davis, also claims that beer trumps wine when it comes to B vitamins, phosphorus, folate and niacin. Beer also has significant protein and some fiber. And it is one of a few significant dietary sources of silicon, which research shows can help prevent osteoporosis. Preliminary research by Bamforth also suggests that beer may contain prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in our gut.




A new study published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that people who drink 3 to 4 times per week were less likely to develop diabetes than those who never drink. And when compared to those who didn't drink beer, men who enjoyed between one and six beers per week had a 21 percent lower risk of diabetes.




Wine tends to be the choice on the bar menu associated with a healthy heart. But there's reason to love beer for the same reason. A preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016 followed 80,000 participants for six years and found that moderate drinkers had the slowest decline in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, levels - and in turn, a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases. Research also shows that of men who have already suffered a heart attack, those that drank beer moderately were 42 percent less likely to die of heart disease.


A report from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study also confirmed that moderate drinkers were 30 to 35 percent less likely to have had a heart attack than non-drinkers. The study also found that men who drank every day had a lower risk of heart attack than those who drank once or twice a week.




Move over milk - there's a new bone-building beverage in the fridge. A review published in the International Journal of Endocrinology found that moderate beer consumption leads to increased bone density in men. No, it's not the buzz that's helping those bones grow: it's the silicon found in your pint, which is an essential mineral for bone formation.




Another benefit of having silicon on the ingredients list? It helps protect your brain from compounds thought to eventually cause cognitive diseases. Which may be why researchers at Loyola University in Chicago found that moderate beer drinkers are 23 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's and dementia than those who don't drink beer. Another explanation: Beer is shown to raise good cholesterol which improves blood flow to the brain.


And ordering a few pints may give you a boost at trivia night. According to one study, people with a slight beer buzz solved puzzles faster than their sober counterparts. In fact, alcohol made subjects almost 30 percent more likely to find the unexpected solution.




A study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology found that beer can keep bacteria from forming - and growing - on your teeth. The researchers tested the effects of beer extracts on the bacteria that form biofilm and promote tooth decay and gum disease, and found that even the weakest extract of beer tested blocked the activity of bacteria. Beer was also one of the best extracts for blocking communication between bacteria, which slows their growth. Good old Guinness was the beer they used in testing - another reason to channel your inner Irishman at the bar.




Next time your spouse asks why you're still at the bar, tell them you're fighting inflammation.


Inflammation in the body is the underlying cause behind many diseases, and according to a study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, hops (an essential ingredient in beer) has anti-inflammatory properties. The researchers compared the anti-inflammatory effect of different hops and found that the consumption of hops in beer form interfered with inflammation causing compounds.




A study conducted by a psychologist at the University of Texas found that people who drink heavily live longer than those who don't. But don't use it as a license to binge drink this weekend because heavy alcohol use can negatively impact your health. The jury is still out, but studies suggest that a healthy amount of beer can add years to your life, given that it positively impacts cholesterol levels, lowers your risk of diabetes and strengthens your heart.


Also, drinking beer tends to be a group activity, which may play a role in its health benefits as well, since science shows having an active social life is linked to a longer lifespan.


Regardless of the reason why, we'll take it as a reason to crack open a cold one tonight.

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Wisconsin: Tavern League: 'We'll continue to fight' bill to change Wisconsin liquor laws 

Friday, August 04, 2017 1:46:00 PM

Source: The Capital Times

By Katelyn Ferral

August 2, 2017

Wisconsin's Tavern League said Tuesday it will fight a Republican bill that would loosen the state's liquor laws for craft brewers, wineries and distilleries.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel, would significantly roll back limitations on liquor manufacturers, wineries, craft brewers and distillers, by allowing them to serve and sell each other's products. The current limitations are in place as a part of the state's three-tier system, a framework of laws outlining how alcohol manufacturers, distributors and retailers can operate.

Pete Madland, executive director of the Wisconsin Tavern League, said the proposal dismantles the three-tier system and hurts mom and pop taverns. 

 "We're going to strongly oppose this. It breaks down the three-tier system ... it takes producers and turns them into retailers," Madland said. "Our problem is that it gives the producers who compete with our members a distinct advantage because they get their products at the cost of the product while our members have to absorb their cost of production as well as distribution. It obviously puts us at a disadvantage. The three-tier system was set up so they didn't have to compete with those people."

Small, locally owned taverns have dwindled in the state, decreasing from about 15,000 in the 1990s to 11,000 today, Madland said.

"Mom and pop taverns are a tradition here in Wisconsin. For these legislators to hold out a helping hand to these manufacturers who are wildly successful at the expense of these mom and pop taverns is shameful," he said. "When a manufacturer of wine can also retail beer and liquor and also wine... Miller Brewery could have weddings at their brewery. This is absurd."

Tauchen's proposal would also increase the number of licenses issued to taverns, restaurants or stores to sell alcohol. Madland said that provision is unnecessary and would further strain the state's ability to enforce violations of its current liquor laws. 

"Wisconsin ranks third in the country with the number of licenses per capita ... the lack of liquor outlets here in Wisconsin is absurd," he said. "I work with the Department of Revenue almost on a daily basis. I know they're frustrated because there are a lot of violations going on out there. They just don't have the manpower to enforce the outlets in the state."

Tauchen's bill was applauded Tuesday by Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, and Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R- River Falls, at an event at the Wisconsin Brewing Company in Verona.

Harsdorf called the three-tier system "archaic" and said it is actively hampering economic development in her district.

"We have a lot of economic development opportunities ... but don't have the liquor licenses that are critical to attracting businesses," she said.

Zimmerman owns a winery, and said he has seen firsthand how the current system of laws limits business growth. He said he does not see his ownership of a winery, that would stand to benefit from the bill he is promoting, as a conflict of interest. He said many other small businesses would benefit from the bill, which would affect brewers and distillers, too.

"I do not need that winery to pay my mortgage," he said. The other components of the bill can help hundreds of other businesses, including distillers and craft brewers, he said.

Craft brewers cheered the bill as an important step.

Carl Nolen, president and CEO of Wisconsin Brewing Company, said he has experienced the three-tier system from all sides. He worked as a beer distributor before becoming a beer manufacturer and his father and grandfather owned taverns in the state.

"I think the era of modernizing the state's liquor laws is way overdue," he said. "To be modern, we need to keep pace as time goes by. We shouldn't be living with laws that go back since 1933." 

Mark Garthwaite, executive director of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild, said the bill is a pragmatic approach to helping small businesses.

"This is a positive first step that removes barriers to growth for small breweries in Wisconsin," he said. 

The bill has an uncertain future in the Legislature as lawmakers work to finish a state budget that is already one month late and consider Foxconn legislation in a special session this month. But Tauchen and Zimmerman said they believe the bill has the power to be successful.

Madland said the Tavern League will fight it.

"We'll continue to fight this and all legislation we see as a detriment to our membership," he said.

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

New Jersey to Raise Tobacco Purchase Age to 21 

Friday, August 04, 2017 1:43:00 PM

Becomes the third state to make the move; change takes effect Nov. 1

July 25, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jersey is the third state in the nation to raise the age at which a customer can legally buy tobacco products to 21, according to

Only California and Hawaii have similar age restrictions. New Jersey’s age change will take effect Nov. 1.

Signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie on July 22, the new requirement bumps up the minimum age for buying and selling both tobacco and electronic-smoking devices from 19 to 21.

Younger people don’t “fully comprehend the potential for addiction, as well as the devastating long-term effects smoking can have on their health,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a co-sponsor of the bill, according to the news source. Raising the purchasing age, she said, will enable them to “mature more before making this potentially life-altering decision.”

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Ballast Point Brewing to Open Chicago Venue in 2018 

Tuesday, August 01, 2017 4:32:00 PM

Source: San Diego BJ


July 30, 2017

San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing Co. plans to open a tasting room and kitchen early next year in Chicago, which will be the beer-maker's first location in the Midwest.

A company statement said the 12,000-square-foot venue, in Chicago's Fulton Market District, will house a three-barrel "research and development" brewery with a restaurant and a rooftop bar.

The venue will serve several Ballast Point beers including its flagship Sculpin IPA, along with exclusive, limited-edition brews available only at the Chicago location. The opening is planned for early 2018, though a specific date was not announced.

"We're thrilled to bring the San Diego spirit of Ballast Point to such a great beer-drinking city like Chicago," Ballast Point President Marty Birkel said in the statement. Officials said the Chicago restaurant's menu will include items from its San Diego venues, including Baja-style fish tacos and a house-made pretzel with beer mustard, along with more localized fare.

Ballast Point currently operates its main office and brewing facilities in Miramar, along with six tasting room and restaurant locations including Little Italy, Long Beach and Temecula. The company recently opened a brewery and tasting room in Daleville, Va., and is in the process of building out its East Coast production facilities in suburban Roanoke.

Established in 1996 by founder Jack White, Ballast Point was acquired in 2015 by New York-based Constellation Brands, for a reported $1 billion. White last year left the company to start his own craft spirits company, known as Cutwater Spirits in Miramar.

According to the Brewers Association trade group, Ballast Point is the nation's 13th largest beer-maker based on 2016 sales volume, though it is no longer considered a craft beer company by the association due to its corporate ownership.

Ballast Point maintains its own local headquarters and management team and is the largest of more than 100 beer producers based in San Diego County. It brewed 375,000 barrels in 2016, up from 277,152 in 2015, the company reported earlier this year.

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Consolidation Comes with Legal Challenges 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 4:48:00 PM

Mergers among alcohol distributors have taken off during the past few years.


July 25, 2017

The uptick in mergers among U.S. alcohol distributors has been followed closely by another trend: lawsuits. As many major markets have come to be served by just a few companies, their competitors and customers have retaliated with legal push back.

One of the most recent legal fights is taking place in West Virginia, where one of the nation's largest distributors, Johnson Brothers Liquor Co., and its West Virginia subsidiary Mountain State Beverage are facing a lawsuit from smaller wholesalers.

The Minnesota-based company is the fifth-largest wholesaler in the United States, according to Wines Vines Analytics, and was sued by six smaller distributors in West Virginia. According to a statement by the law firm Bailey & Glasser, which is representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in early July, Mountain State Beverage used "anticompetitive" practices in an attempt to monopolize the wine market in West Virginia by forcing smaller companies either to sell or go out of business.

The distributors filing suit against Mountain State Beverage include Wine and Beverage Merchants of West Virginia, Atomic Distributing Co., Beverage Distributors Inc., Jo's Globe Inc. and Martin Distributing Co. The companies claim Johnson Brothers and Mountain State operated at a loss to drive competitors out of business, paid fees and used other tactics to induce suppliers to not do business with the plaintiffs and regularly claimed to suppliers and the plaintiffs' employees that the companies would soon go out of business. 

In March of this year, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York-based Empire Merchants against Breakthru Beverage Group that was formed following the merger of Wirtz Beverage Group and Charmer Sunbelt.

Empire had alleged Breakthru smuggled millions of dollars' worth of alcohol into the New York market via a subsidiary company in Maryland. The case was dismissed with prejudice by a U.S. district judge.

In November of 2016, an owner of several bars in Albany, N.Y., filed a lawsuit against the nation's largest distributor: Southern Glazer's. The owners sought $1.25 million in damages and alleged a Southern employee fabricated thousands of dollars of orders of sales and also charged more than $100,000 through the bars' Southern accounts for alcohol that may have been sold on the side.

According to reports in the The Times Union newspaper, the attorney representing the bars rejected an offer to settle the case because Southern refused to acknowledge such abuses by its staff were widespread.

The company later released a statement to the Albany paper that it plans to "vigorously defend" itself against the "inaccurate" claims in the suit and blamed the wrongful conduct on "a single employee acting independently of company policy and who has been terminated."

The current status of the case is unclear, and James Linnan, the Albany attorney representing the bars, did not immediately return a call or email for comment by Wines & Vines.

The claims in that case are quite similar to allegations in a lawsuit filed earlier this month. Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits is the target of a class-action lawsuit that alleges "unfair, unlawful, deceptive and fraudulent business practices" that run afoul of numerous state and federal laws.

The lawsuit was filed July 5 in the U.S. District Court of Northern California by the firms Scott Cole & Associates APC and Wakeford Gelini on behalf of San Jose, Calif., resident James C. Nguyen, who holds a liquor license for a San Jose restaurant and bar.

According to the lawsuit, Nguyen learned of Southern's allegedly deceptive practices after he received a tax bill from the state for liquor he never ordered from the wholesaler.

That's because his attorneys argue Southern's management and employees made a habit of using their customers' account numbers to process fraudulent purchases to either achieve their sales quotas or drive up business for lucrative accounts. The lawsuit also alleges Southern sold alcohol to unlicensed third parties as well as provided full-size liquor bottles with "sample" labels for free or sold alcohol for a penny per bottle as "kickbacks" or as a way to keep retailers and restaurants from reporting any unethical behavior.

Southern is also accused of threatening to cut off supply if a restaurant or retailer didn't buy sufficient quantities of brands offered by the wholesaler.

The goal, according to the lawsuit, was to maintain exclusive and profitable relations with the top suppliers and extract as much profit as possible from restaurant and retail clients. "Through its unscrupulous, unethical and unlawful schemes detailed herein, Southern has enjoyed increased revenues, profitability and market share from its larger volume of sales," the lawsuit filing alleges. "These practices have given Southern an unfair competitive advantage over its competition with a resultant disadvantage to the public and class members."

The company's practices, as described in the lawsuit, also allegedly helped secure "highly desirable and highly profitable supply relationships" and that, "during the class period, Southern enjoyed numerous exclusive contracts with alcohol manufacturers/producers, with a resultantly larger client base, more orders therefrom and higher profitability."

A spokesman for Southern did not immediately reply to Wines & Vines' request for comment but was quoted in other news reports as saying the company was still reviewing the allegations in the lawsuit and did not have any comment on the lawsuit.

In a statement released after filing the lawsuit, attorney Scott Cole said the case, if successful, could "substantially" compensate many of Southern's customers for several years' of business. "Southern's clients trusted they'd be treated right-not charged for liquor they never bought, not forced to buy what they didn't need," Cole said. "The sheer number of potential violations is jaw-dropping."

According to Wines Vines Analytics' distributor database Southern operates in 44 states and distributes for 1,178 domestic wineries. On its website, the company claims to sell 150 million cases of wine and spirits per year, and Forbes estimated the firm's total revenue in 2015 at nearly $12 billion.

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Revenue from Illinois' five-year-old cigarette tax hike falls short of expectations  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:28:00 PM




Five years ago last month, another tax hike was hitting pocketbooks around the state of Illinois.

In June 2012, a dollar-per-pack cigarette tax increase raised the state levy from 98 cents to $1.98. The same law also increased taxes on other products such as loose tobacco and supplies. Supporters estimated the state would see an additional $350 million each year from the hikes.

A review of data from the Illinois Department of Revenue, however, shows the number never has come close to the goal.

According to the IDR’s Annual Report of Collections, total revenue from cigarette taxes and the tobacco products tax was approximately $609 million in fiscal year 2012, the final year before the tax increases took effect.

The following year, total revenue collected from cigarettes and tobacco totaled $856 million, meaning $244 million more was brought into state coffers.

Total revenue numbers peaked in 2015, as the state collected $861 million, before falling to $844 million in fiscal year 2016.

All told, in the four years following the tax hikes, the state of Illinois fell about $419 million short of projected additional revenue from cigarettes and tobacco.

“People were saying, ‘See, this is good. People have quit smoking.’ Well, no,” state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, said. “For about $20 a carton difference, people have no problem driving over to Indiana, to gas stations just over the border.”

Reports do indicate a decline in the smoking population in Illinois, but one that’s in line with the rest of the country.

The Illinois Department of Public Health uses the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to track adult tobacco use in the state. It shows 18.6 percent of Illinois residents identified as being a smoker in 2011. That number dropped to 15 percent in 2015, the most recent year data is available. Nationally, the rate dropped from 18.1 percent in 2012 to 15.1 percent in 2015. 

An IDPH official says there may be numerous reasons why the rate has dropped, so it’s difficult to say how big of an impact the tax increase made.

“When you’re surrounded by five states with lower cigarette taxes, the problem is when it gets to be a $15 or $20 per carton difference, people will change their behaviors,” Syverson said. “Will some people quit smoking? You might get some. But, otherwise, you’ll get a lot of migration out of the area.”

At the time of the tax hike, then-Gov. Pat Quinn also touted the increased revenue as a way to shore up the state’s Medicaid program. The state was able to access dollar-for-dollar federal matching funds from the tax on cigarettes for payments to Medicaid. But Syverson says it hasn’t made a huge difference.

“This generates a couple hundred million dollars to help pay Medicaid bills,” Syverson said. “But as a state I think we’re going to spend $10 billion or $11 billion on Medicaid each year, plus the federal matching money. Does it have an impact? Yes, but it is small compared to our overall Medicaid spend, especially since Obamacare kicked in and Medicaid costs increased dramatically.”

Meanwhile, recent cigarette tax hikes in Cook County and Chicago have left the Windy City with the highest per-pack tax in the country, totaling $6.16. Additionally, the city of Chicago raised the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21 in 2016.

Syverson says the high price of cigarettes in the state also led to an increase in smuggling across state lines. Earlier this year, a Cook County grocery store owner was charged with allegedly purchasing millions of dollars of cigarettes at St Louis-area stores and reselling them in Chicago for a much higher profit using Illinois tax rates.

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Labor department to rescind tip-pooling restrictions 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:22:00 PM

Changes would let front- and back-of-house employees share tips 

Source: NRN

Jonathan Maze

Jul 21, 2017

 The federal government is planning to rescind a controversial regulation preventing restaurants from pooling tips, a major victory for industry advocates who had fought the rule for years.

 This week, the U.S. Department of Labor published a notice that it intends to rescind the tip-pooling rule, which the Obama administration put in place in 2011.

 "By all means, this is a huge victory for us," said Angelo Amador, executive director of the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Law Center. "This is a great development."

 Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, restaurants are able to pay wait staff a lower wage as long as their tips make up the difference, which is known as a "tip credit."

 Historically, restaurants that don't take the credit have been able to take tips and "pool" them, to share with back-of-house staff. Tip pooling is designed to make pay more equitable throughout a restaurant.

 But the Obama administration repeatedly tried to change the rules to forbid tip pooling and let wait staff to keep their tips. The National Restaurant Association has repeatedly fought the efforts in court.

 "We have been litigating this since at least 2010," Amador said.

 The courts have differed in their views over whether the Department of Labor could make such a regulation, with some federal courts agreeing with the association, and others agreeing with the federal government.

 The Department of Labor's decision to rescind the rule should eliminate some confusion over the future of the regulation.

 "At least for the time being, it lifts the confusion that has been created by issuing the rule to begin with," Amador said. "Courts have been all over the place."

 Still, the rule is not in place yet, and Amador said that until it is published restaurants should still follow previous regulations forbidding tip pooling.

 "While this is good news, the law is still what the law is," Amador said. "Proceed with caution."

 Nor will the rule stop the potential litigation.

 Amador suggested that a recent court ruling against the Department of Labor led the agency to reconsider the rule. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit recently sided with the association and denied a government motion for a rehearing.

 Meanwhile, the association wants to bring tip pooling to the Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether the labor department can make such a regulation.

 Amador said the labor department opted to change the rule in part to make an argument to the Supreme Court to avoid that step. The government would argue that a Supreme Court decision is unnecessary because it rescinded the rule.

 But the association wants to continue litigating to settle the issue.

 "We want to prevent this is three years down the line a different labor secretary decides to give it another try," Amador said. "We want the Supreme Court to decide."

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Beverage Licensees Support Bipartisan Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:20:00 PM
Posted on July 21, 2017

Bill Would Establish Digital Database, Bringing Copyright Ownership & Licensing Information to the Public and Stakeholders

July 21, 2017 – Bethesda, MD – American Beverage Licenses (ABL), a national trade association representing nearly 15,000 beverage alcohol retailers, announced its support today for the Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act (H.R. 3350). The bipartisan bill, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and cosponsored by Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), and Steve Chabot (R-OH), would establish a reliable, unified database of copyright ownership and licensing information for musical works.

“Beverage licensees thank Congressmen Sensenbrenner for his legacy of strong leadership on music licensing issues and his recognition that increasing transparency in the music licensing system benefits licensees and artists alike,” said ABL Executive Director John Bodnovich. “Many bars and taverns obtain licenses so that music can be legally played in their businesses. The database that this bill calls for will provide them with dependable information on which they can make entertainment choices for their businesses.”

Bar and tavern owners, who already operate in the traditionally-regulated beverage alcohol industry, understand the importance of observing laws and regulations, including complying with copyright laws for the public use of musical works. Beverage licensees generally use copyrighted musical works – either via streaming service, jukebox, karaoke, live bands, DJs, or otherwise – by purchasing licenses from performing rights organizations (PROs). Each year, these licensed beverage businesses support songwriters by collectively paying millions of dollars in licensing fees to PROs.

Under the current system, bars and taverns have no verifiable and reliable way to determine which musical work rights belong to each of the PROs. This prevents beverage licensees from making informed business decisions when it comes to purchasing music licenses and knowing what they are getting when they obtain licenses from PROs. This uncertainty can result in protracted disputes between small business owners and PROs. More ominously, it can lead to bars and taverns shutting down live music in their businesses altogether.

The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act would alleviate this problem through the creation of a public database that identifies entities through which musical works are licensed in a format that reflects current technological practices; is updated on a real-time basis; and is publicly accessible without charge. By establishing the database under the Register of Copyrights, and encouraging rights owners to register their works with the database, this bill will benefit all stakeholders in the music marketplace.

“This is a bipartisan issue, affecting hospitality businesses in every town, city and state across America,” said Bodnovich. “Beverage licensees have been clear that their focus is on bringing transparency to the music licensing process. The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act is a sensible step toward that goal, and we look forward to working with Congressman Sensenbrenner to advocate for this legislation.”

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

The Strange War on Alcohol Advertising 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 1:13:00 PM

Source: The American Spectator


July 21, 2017

 Earlier this year, there began a drum beat to ban drinks advertising. There was the Washington Post, which ran an article titled, "For women, heavy drinking has been normalized. That's dangerous." To ensure readers were sufficiently panicked, they included "Nine charts that show how white women are drinking themselves to death." The authors fingered alcohol advertising and even an Amy Schumer movie.

 The ivory tower, eager to help, also chimed in. "It is a looming health crisis," declared one academic. Addiction journal, an always cheerful read, issued a "call for governments around the world" to pass laws banning alcohol advertising. "Governments are responsible for the health of their citizens," admonished Prof. Thomas Babor, who edited the issue and long has demonized drink. To this end, public health agencies should be empowered to enforce the ban and punish anyone who violates it.

 The Federal Trade Commission, for its part, frets, "These days, advertising is almost everywhere we go - on television, in the bus, on the street, and on the Internet. Alcohol advertising is no exception. And, as is the case with most advertising, alcohol advertising makes the product look great!"

 What is all so bizarre is that the data on alcohol consumption paint a very different picture of America and drink. A new Gallup survey reports about six out of ten Americans today consume alcohol occasionally, which is about the same level as it always has been.

 But what about alcohol misuse, you may wonder? Well, per capita alcohol consumption is down from 10 liters to 8 liters per year since 1980, a 20% drop. Chronic liver diseases, which alcoholics can get, is down from 15.1 individuals per 100,000 to 10.4 per 100,000 during that same period. Drunk driving also is trending downward.

 But what about the children, you may ask? Well, underage drinking by high schoolers has declined over the last decade. So too is binge drinking by under-age persons. The Centers for Disease Control reports: "During 1991-2007, the prevalence of current drinking among high school students declined significantly, from 50.8% (1991) to 44.7% (2007), and then significantly declined to 32.8% in 2015. The prevalence of binge drinking increased from 31.3% in 1991 to 31.5% in 1999, and then significantly declined to 17.7% in 2015."

 All of which makes the thesis - that alcohol advertising is a peril that demands new laws and new governmental enforcers - very strange.

 Kevin R. Kosar is a senior fellow at R Street Institute and heads its alcohol policy reform program. He is the author of Moonshine: A Global History (2017) and Whiskey: A Global History (2010).

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services

Preckwinkle Pops Off On Retailer Lawsuits Against Soda Tax 

Friday, July 14, 2017 3:58:00 PM

WBEZ Staff

July 13, 2017

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Thursday blasted the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, accusing the group of seeking “maximum negative impact” by waiting to file a lawsuit to block the county’s sweetened beverage tax until just days before it was scheduled to go into effect, a move that will cause “hundreds” of county workers to lose their jobs. 

More content below this sponsor message

“That’s disingenuous on their part, to put it kindly,” Preckwinkle said of the association on WBEZ’s Morning Shift. “We enacted this tax last November. At any point after that, they could have talked to us about compromise. … They chose the very last moment to have maximum negative impact. If they had done it immediately, we might have had this judicated in the courts by now and know where we were.” 

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association did not immediately comment.

A Cook County judge last month put a temporary halt on the penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages after the association argued the tax is unconstitutional and vague. 

As a result, Preckwinkle said each county department and office will have to cut 10 percent of its budget. County officials had hoped to balance the county’s $4.4 billion budget for the 2017 fiscal year with the tax, which was estimated to bring in more than $67 million this year and $200 million next year. 

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, a close ally of Preckwinkle who also appeared on Morning Shift Thursday, said any layoffs within her office would be “painful.” A spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff’s office said nearly 1,000 employees could receive pink slips

Preckwinkle said 1,100 workers were laid off in November due to budget cuts. She said she doesn’t know how many additional layoffs will be made now. 

Appearing on Morning Shift, Preckwinkle talked about the difficulties of finding another revenue stream and what she expects to be a “protracted court battle” over the sweetened beverage tax. Below are some interview highlights. 

On the possibility of raising other taxes 

Toni Preckwinkle: I don’t think that there’s any source of revenue that I could get nine votes for. You have to understand, we did this last year because it was two years out of an election. I can’t ask my commissioners — because I know I won’t get the votes — to propose another tax increase right before they have to run in the primaries or right before they have to run in the general election. That’s just really unlikely. 

On finding compromises with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association 

Preckwinkle: We enacted this tax last November. At any point after that, they could have talked to us about compromise. What they talked to us about is modifying the rules and [regulations], which we issued in March and we have tweaked since then in every case they at their request. 

And then, two days before the tax was to be implemented, they went to court and sued us. They could have brought suit anytime between November, when we enacted the budget, and the end of June, when we were about to implement the tax. 

They chose the very last moment to have maximum negative impact. If they had done it immediately, we might have had this judicated in the courts by now and know where we were. As it is, we’re in for a protracted court battle. 

On budget cuts 

Preckwinkle: We’ve asked bureau chief, every department head, every separately elected official to cut their budgets by 10 percent between now and Nov. 30. They can do that with non-personnel costs — contracts, vendors, whatever. They can do that through personnel, but since most of our budgets, across the board, are personnel, it’s going to result in some layoffs. I’m not sure the exact magnitude. We’re eliminating a lot of positions, sweeping them as one way of saving money so people can’t fill positions. But we’re also going to end up laying off hundreds of people. 

On layoffs

Preckwinkle: One of the worst things about this job is that I’ve had, over the course of the seven years that I’ve been in office, [is] to lay people off. It’s heartbreaking because the folks who are going to be laid off, it’s no fault of their own. It’s not a reflection of their performance or the importance of the work that they do. It’s because we just don’t have the resources to pay all of our costs.

Share This Using Popular Bookmarking Services
Page 4 of 65 << < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 30 60 > >>