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Historical alcohol consumption in the US

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    Historical alcohol consumption in the US

    Interesting article:


    America's colonial thirst in the road leading to prohibition, which imposed a constitutional ban on production, sale, and consumption of alcohol in the 1920s, was at an all-time high in the 1800s, as an average American drank nearly 90 bottles a year.

    Even after factoring in the abstainers, Americans were consuming 1.7 bottles of a standard 80-proof liquor per person, per week.

    In his book - Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, author Daniel Okrent attributed the raucous consumption of alcohol in the states to the boom in the “corn belt” in the Midwest which created large new supplies of corn.

    At this point, it was cheaper and more profitable to convert corn into whiskey than transporting it to eastern markets, without it spoiling.

    Thus, as Okrent notes, by 1820s, whiskey was sold at twenty-five cents a gallon, making it cheaper than wine, beer, tea, coffee and even milk.

    The number of distilleries also increased five-fold, to 14,000 in between 1790 and 1810.

    “In cities it was widely understood that common workers would fail to come to work on Mondays, staying home to wrestle with the echoes and aftershocks of a weekend binge. By 1830, the tolling of a town bell at 11 a.m. and again at 4 p.m. marked ‘grog time,’” wrote Okrent in his book.

    English traveller Frederick Marryat in his 1837 book "A Diary in America," noted that drinking was synonymous with both celebration and sorrow.

    “I am sure the Americans can fix nothing without a drink. If you meet, you drink; if you part, you drink; if you make acquaintance, you drink; if you close a bargain you drink; they quarrel in their drink, and they make it up with a drink. They drink because it is hot; they drink because it is cold. If successful in elections, they drink and rejoice; if not, they drink and swear; they begin to drink early in the morning, they leave off late at night; they commence it early in life, and they continue it, until they soon drop into the grave.” wrote Marryat in his book.

    Alcohol consumption: 1800s vs 2018

    Currently, an average American consumes 9 litres of ethanol per year, per capita - which is nearly three times less than per capita consumption in 1830.

    #2
    And let’s see the massive spike in 2020...

    Comment


    • Stuey1515
      Stuey1515 commented
      Editing a comment
      I must admit that I heeled a few slabs of beer behind the couch during lockdown for safe keeping

    • Steve R.
      Steve R. commented
      Editing a comment
      Stuey1515, I had to google "slab of beer", just because it sounds so intriguing. Good planning!

    #3
    FWIW, depression has sky rocketed, so has teen & elderly suicides & over dose deaths in 2020. A healthy culture we live in.

    Comment


    • Belfagor
      Belfagor commented
      Editing a comment
      I teach at a private high school. We made the decision to open in person this fall specifically because of this reason. What is terrifying is that the students are visibly happier than ever because lockdown in the spring was so bad for them they'll do anything not to go home, and yet it's still a nightmare scenario of suicidal ideations and attempts (two this week).

    • Uncle Bob
      Uncle Bob commented
      Editing a comment
      A sad, under discussed/appreciated additional negative outcome of lockdowns.

    #4
    Interesting. I wonder what the smoking “curve” looks like. With and Ex vape products.

    Comment


      #5
      There was an article on Discovery or History channel, maybe PBS about beer production that was very educational.
      Another huge reason for the influx of drinking beer and spirits was bad drinking water because of muddy, sewage covered streets back then.
      At least water in beer and spirits was boiled killing the majority of bacteria and germs during production.

      Comment


        #6
        Give those corn farmers credit though. When they lost drinking customers they created a new market as a fuel additive........and wangled subsidies to boot.

        Comment


          #7
          There's a reason they were called "the good old days" !! ;-)

          Comment


            #8
            prohibition of the '20s was to keep alcohol out of the fuel supply. Back then you could buy gas or alcohol for your auto.
            If you follow the money standard oil and others helped financed prohibition.
            Personal consumption was the shroud or cover story to mask what was going on in the background.
            Anyway, just my take.

            Long live BBQ.

            Comment


            #9

            Comment


            • Stuey1515
              Stuey1515 commented
              Editing a comment
              LOL!!

            #10
            All I know is that in 2020 I drank like I did as a 19 year old college student! 😎🍻😎🍻😎🍻😎

            Comment


              #11
              My drinking dropped drastically in the last 15 to 18 months, and in the last year I have probably drank about as much as I normally would have drank in a month or two. The difference is that I expanded my palate with whiskey, and other drinks, beyond beer and wine. As a teen, I did not control my drinking of liquor very well. I quickly moved on to beer, where as I would get tired and go to bed instead of drinking it 'till I fell over. I can count on one hand the times I've had beer in the last year and that is incredibly different than the priors years back to 15 years of age. At my current age, I've found I can enjoy the flavors of liquors instead of simply drinking them until I fall over.

              Comment


                #12
                Interesting read. Thank you for sharing.

                Comment


                  #13
                  Been doing my best!😉

                  Comment


                    #14
                    Living in a small drinking town with a fishing problem, I will definitely bring this up at the next city council meeting and let them know we need to up our game!

                    Comment


                      #15
                      I def went pretty hard at the start of lockdown then slowed to almost nothing. Only so much boozing you can do solo.

                      Comment

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