Monday, March 17, 2008

The Week in Alcohol

Another reason for Russia to join the European Union One million revelers marked St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, celebrating Ireland's status as the binge-drinking capital of Europe. Alcohol consumption in Ireland has risen 50% over the last 20 years, with binge-consumption now twice the average in the rest of the continent. "Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, often pictured drinking Bass ale, last week called for a crackdown on drinking. His initiative followed the murder of two Polish workers who were stabbed with a screwdriver in the south city suburb of Drimnagh on Feb. 23. The Dublin-based Irish Times said they were killed for refusing to buy alcohol for a teenage gang."

...But the Asian Tigers respond to the challenge The South Korean Health Ministry announced that binge drinking was costing the country 2.9% of its gross domestic product per annum. "They often continue boozing past midnight, entering a second round or a third round of drinking at karaoke bars or restaurants, drenching themselves with 'Bombshells' -- cups of beer mixed with whiskey".

A name that just had "wine" written all over it Niagara Vintners Inc., the Ontario winemaking co-op that produced "20 Bees", has gone bankrupt. Originally the brainchild of a group of 19 growers "they built a 43,000-square-foot winemaking facility near Niagara-on-the- Lake, Ont., opened a retail outlet and announced plans to hire 400 workers. They also set a target of producing up to 100,000 cases of 20 Bees and 20 Ice annually, roughly five times what many established wineries produce." The consensus of analysis is that they set their sights too high, too early: their ambitious first run was 30,000 cases, 21,000 of which remain unsold with the receiver---along with 3.6 million liters of bulk wine

They're going to call her first fragrance "hangover"
Actress Eva Mendez, fresh from a spell of rehab at Utah's Cirque clinic, signed a new contract with Calvin Klein, which includes her own line of perfume

Flash! Australian nation now on suicide watch!
Last year 1.3 million bottles of Arrogant Frog were exported to Australia, a 20 percent increase on 2006, according to Jean-Claude Mas, the wine's Languedoc-based producer.

Click on map to enlarge... In response to greater demand for Champagne, particularly from "emerging [read Asian nouveau riche] markets", France's Institut National des Appellations d’Origine has enlarged the official Champagne appellation from its current 270 villages to 310. "For those joining the exclusive club of Champagne producers, the move will be extremely lucrative, according to Gilles Flutet of the I.N.A.O. On one side of the divide, land is worth about $3,000 a hectare, but its value rises to nearly $1.5 million a hectare on the other side."

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