Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Craft Beer and Alcoholism

The key is, Everything in moderation, including moderation.

A quote so often mis-attributed, that I have no idea who actually said it.

The stir this seems to have caused on our forum is quite interesting.

I do not take the post as alarmist at all. I can’t comment on the industry insider bit, because I don’t have first hand experience with it. For the most part, the rest of his observations are spot on IMO. The interpretation of some of those observations is quite subjective though. Take beerfests for example. I personally do not have a problem with someone overindulging occasionally at a beerfest as long as they are not driving and don’t start acting like an ass.

I completely agree that the Ratebeer “top 50” list is unjustly biased for high gravity beer. Ratebeer has become a good central resource for general info about products, but the ratings should not be taken seriously. Unfortunately Ratebeer does reflect the perspective of most “craft beer geeks” I know, but it does not reflect the view of most homebrewers I know.

I disagree with the notion that you’re automatically classified as an alcoholic because you drink a beer or two on most days. Enough studies have shown that drinking in moderation (1-2 “regular” strength beers) every day actually has health benefits.

Personally I do not drink every day. I make a conscious effort not to. I started drinking craft beer when I was 23. Prior to that, I didn’t really appreciate any form of alcoholic beverage. That was 14 years ago. I don’t remember exactly why, but from the outset I established a rule for myself: I would only drink on weekends, except on holidays and when traveling (drink local, right :slight_smile: ). Sometimes I relax the rule, but for the most part I’m still sticking to it. I’m glad I set those boundaries for myself, because they have very possibly kept me from going off the deep end and because I find that I appreciate the product more after a break.

I’d be lying if I said I drank less since I started brewing. I definitely drink more. I’d also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy getting an occasional buzz. Getting stupid drunk is never fun, though.

I could easily keep rambling, but I’ll stop here. It’s a good–albeit not perfect–blog post. Whether we think the author is really onto something or full of crap, the best response is to take a moment and honestly reflect on our own situation. Given the casual place craft beer has taken in many of our lives, it could easily take over while we don’t realize it’s happening. We don’t have to be alcoholics, have high liver enzymes or be obese for beer to be a problem. Any interest that adversely affects our lives or the lives of our family and friends is a problem.

I agree…just as in tasting beer, different folks will each have a different takeaway with regard to the article. It IS , however, interesting to see the article triggering some rather intense defense mechanisms in the homebrew forums.

I don’t think that any sensible person can disagree that alcoholism is an addiction and for many unfortunate folks, definitely a serious (and possibly genetic) problem. Some people who drink alcoholic beverages are able to enjoy one drink and be done.
But others have trouble knowing when to stop and wind up getting smashed, and others drink them regularly for the sole purpose of getting significantly buzzed or downright smashed; I think most rational people can agree that such cases do indicate a more serious problem.

In any case, I felt the article was right on and rather well written…and I really couldn’t see anything in it at which to take offense.
In the end, I think it provided some very good food for thought.

I’m not sure what about this blog post is ‘offending’ people. I personally think we as a society get ‘offended’ way the H too easily, and I think if something is ‘offensive’ to the point that people get ‘defensive’, there is a whole 'nuther conversation to be had.

The bottom line is also this: modern medicine suggests that 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women CAN be beneficial to health. It also says that if you do not currently drink, the evidence is not substantial enough for you to START drinking based on this research. Also, as the author points out, 2 drinks is the equivalent of two Coors Light cans per day, 2 four ounce glasses of wine, or 2 2oz servings of 80 proof spirits. If one chooses to ignore modern/Western medicine and believe whatever they want, that is their prerogative.

If you can have four 6% APA’s every day of your life, maintain a healthy weight, liver function, cholesterol, cardio/vascular, then giddy up and bless you, you are lucky. If you can do this and have none of those things and be ok with it, then giddy up and bless you, you are also lucky, but in a different way.

All this blogger is saying is that in his industry, there is rampant chemical dependency and depression, masked by an interest/expertise in the ‘craft’ of beer. Beer is fun, beer is artisinal, pure, hand-crafted, blah blah blah. Yes, its awesome, thats why we all frequent this forum, others like it, and even beer festivals. Alcohol, like any drug, also has a slippery slope. Things that feel good can damage us and those around us. Its a simple reality.

Who has seen Sideways? Miles is a consummate oenophile who loves wine. He loves talking about it, educating about it, immersing himself of the culture/people of it, talking about soussants of nutty cheeses in the aroma, but the guy can also slip quickly into a self-loathing, depressed, self-destructive $#!+show, and that unfortunately is not far fetched in wine, beer, or spirits. Plenty of people that are in the industry or extreme hobbyists who are not nearly as bad as Miles have what many (including doctors) would characterize as “a problem”.

To me, the author’s objective is creating awareness and saying what nobody else wants to…neither of which are bad things if you ask me.

I think this is exactly the point a lot of people are missing. The author is not saying people who are in the industry are closet alcoholics. He’s saying that even if you are in the industry, it’s no excuse to not be aware of what you are doing.

I think this is exactly the point a lot of people are missing. The author is not saying people who are in the industry are closet alcoholics. He’s saying that even if you are in the industry, it’s no excuse to not be aware of what you are doing.[/quote]

I beg to differ actually. He definitely is saying people in the industry and consumers are closet alcoholics.

“It takes somewhat less than superhuman powers of deduction to look around at the current craft beer scene and conclude that there are plenty of people plugging away at chronic substance abuse problems under the ameliorating imprimatur of connoisseurship.”

Take it with a grain of salt. He’s a beer rep right? Not a doctor or scientist. He’s formed an opinion and he’s voicing it. I don’t think there’s any malice intended.

Still if he made one person, maybe even someone in this forum, take a look at their own consumption and make an adjustment that could have a positive impact on their life…I agree…never a bad thing.

We’re all human and it’s easy to settle into habits, especially ones that produce pleasure, that may have negative side effects down the road.

As has been said many times before and a few times here, moderation in all things. Offset your moderate beer consumption with a good diet and regular exercise.

Sorry, I phrased that wrong. I meant to say the author wasn’t saying ALL people in the industry are closet alcoholics.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and it’s made me take a step back and examine my habits and how they affect what I’m trying to do in life.

Thanks again.

Good read. I strive to enjoy home-brews and craft beers in moderation. Occasionally, I tie one on, but I try to make sure this is very rare. I was sober at my last home-brew meeting. I got tipsy enough when the home-brew meeting was at my house and my wife informed me that I was asleep on the basement floor at 3am, which I was unaware of at the time.

I left the heavy drinking in college. I have since slimmed down, grew up, got a job, and a family. I really shouldn’t be doing things that put them at risk. I also work on a hospital floor where drug addicts and alcoholics seem to frequent. Seeing someone in their late 20’s dying of alcohol induced liver failure is a bit of an eye opener.

Within my home-brew club, we tend to be fairly well behaved. We had a member leave because a few of us were a tad rowdy. I’m pointing at me for that one. We also had a member who brewed over the legal amount a home brewer is allowed by law. He can no longer drink due to liver issues.

I definitely don’t frequent the beer festivals any more. At my weight of ~125lbs, one and I’m done when it comes to high gravity stuff. I’m more about sipping and having good conversation with friends. Sure, I’ve been on a high gravity brewing kick, but most of that stuff is to be enjoyed in a few years.

I actually drink less now that I’m in the industry.

In my eyes, as long as I’m responsible about my consuption and don’t let it affect others - it’s not an issue. There’s a difference between the alcoholic who mearly drinks often, and the alcoholic who’s often beligerant / violent / getting DUI’s. Although I can see how being in the industry/hobby makes that more likely - I still like to believe craft beer drinkers have better intentions with their consumption.

Excellent article.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com