Today when you walk down the alcohol aisle in a grocery store or when you go to a liquor store you see cinnamon flavored whiskey, honey flavored bourbon, and just about any flavor vodka you could imagine. My parents told me that when they were in their twenties there was just regular rum, vodka, or any other kind of booze with no extra flavor. Other then different brands, there wasn’t much for them to choose from. However recently, all types of alcohol are becoming more tasty and sweet. I haven’t decided whether I think this is because Americans need huge varieties of everything to choose from or because drinking has become so mainstream that we needed to make it taste better.
After we discussed the different ways that people of other cultures handle illnesses, it got me thinking about how other cultures view drinking. It seems like in the United States, the average American kid has their first drink at around 16 or 17 years old. Usually it’s not until we’re in our late twenties that we actually start drinking responsibly. Drinking in high school is much more prevalent now then it ever was and the amount that people drink in college has also gone up drastically. Why is this? Why do alcohol companies make products taste like candy or cupcakes? Who are they trying to real in? (Just want to clarify, I’m not against drinking whatsoever this topic is just interesting to think about)
An interesting article I found talks about how there is no universal definition of what a drink is. In Austria one drink is 20 grams of alcohol, while in Switzerland one drink is 10-12 grams of alcohol. The author of the article also discusses how each country has different guidelines for alcohol consumption for instance someone is allowed to drink more if it’s a special occasion rather then just a random night of the week. The author brought up an interesting point in saying that the way that the way drinking is viewed depends on the country. At the end of the day, we’re all human. No matter where you are or what the laws are, if you drink too much alcohol you could be involved in an accident and be badly hurt. However, in a place like Britain where everyone has good health insurance, it doesn’t really matter what kind of accidents you get in to so their drinking laws are not that conservative.
This brings me to my next point: the U.S. has one of the highest rates for alcohol abuse in the world. Why is this? Europe is far less conservative with their drinking laws then the U.S. is and yet we still have more alcoholics. Most people say this is because our drinking age is 21 while in other countries it’s 18 or even 16. Would the number of alcohol abusers decrease in the U.S. if some type of universal age for consumption were made? Even though our age to consume might be higher, do European countries have candy flavored booze? Overall, I think this is an interesting topic to discuss. I know a lot of people say “we’re not Europe” when politicians compare the U.S. to other European countries. But perhaps in terms of drinking laws it might be useful to mimic Europe.