The first time I went out drinking with my older brother (after I turned 21, obviously...), I noticed halfway through the night that he was clandestinely watering down my whiskey and Cokes. I was going drink-for-drink with a much older contingency and he was making sure I wasn't getting too tipsy by tricking me.
He thought he was doing the right thing. A utilitarian lie for the greater good.
This is essentially what some noted researchers are suggesting we do on a national scale: water down our drinks en masse, to curb America's drinking problem. Big Brother would be taking lessons from my big brother. And dammit, that's not OK.
If you haven't cracked open the latest edition of The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology (and I'm absolutely sure you have not), the newly published research paper titled "Evidence of reducing ethanol content in beverages to reduce harmful use of alcohol," argues that America needs to make the alcoholic content in its alcoholic beverages weaker.
To paraphrase the academically dense and pedantic paper, reducing the alcohol content in beer, liquor, and wine presents a solution to harmful drinking habits and patterns. It ensures liquor companies won't lose any profits by selling less alcohol, and the rest of us would still be able to indulge in as many alcoholic drinks as we desire. The logic is sound… in theory. If people are going to keep drinking in excess, let's reduce the amount of alcohol in their drinks. It's the same! Just less.
Though there is some precedent of this working on a small scale -- if frat brahs can't tell if their beer is watered down, can anyone? -- this is us surrendering to being unable to control ourselves. So, we need our government to do it for us. It's like asking your mom to stop buying Bagel Bites because you simply can't stop eating them. This is not mature. This is babysitting. This is why millennials are a punchline of infancy and inadequacy. It's like tying our own leash to the tree because we know we'll be tempted to leave the yard.
Do we not have the necessary control, America? Has it truly come to this? This is just a proposal -- sure, but a team of five highly qualified researchers coming to this conclusion is incredibly worrisome. This is clearly a stepping stone to the type of dystopian, apathetically accepting society that writers like Ray Bradbury warned us about. What's next? Zapping the THC out of our weed because tourists are getting too stoned? Decreasing our sperm count so it's harder to have accidental pregnancies?
In protest, tonight I will be seeking out the beer with the highest ABV in my area, and then drinking a lot of it -- responsibly!
I, for one, will not stand for the watering down of our beer nor the watering down of our drinking freedom.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.