This week, a roundup of why we’re drinking what we’re drinking:
• The Economist, my favorite snooty English magazine, looks at the resurgence in craft beer and spirits in the U.S. This matters to wine drinkers because those two businesses have been able to do something that wine still struggles with: Providing a quality product at a fair price that’s not necessarily made by a multi-national. Besides, how often do you get to see U.S. liquor laws described as “irksome?”
• Why are Australians drinking less? This is apparently a matter of some debate Down Under, given how much Aussies like to drink. They always appear on lists detailing the world's top boozers, but something has happened over the past several years, with consumption down 2.6 percent in the past year. One expert says his countrymen are cutting back because they drink too much, and less is healthier. The general consensus, though, blames the recession and the strong Australian dollar, and as soon as the economy improves, they’ll be tippling as usual.
• Are we drinking more beer again? A Gallup poll says so, noting that wine is no longer the most popular alcoholic beverage in the U.S. This was a big deal a year or so ago, and I got about a trillion badly-written news releases about this; don’t they teach statistics and polling anymore? More interesting is the the gender gap among wine drinkers: Women outnumber men more than two to one, and if the poll is to be believed, only one-fifth of American men drink wine.