|Standard inner city high-ABV line-up|
Most of the folks I talked to shrugged over the results. I get it. Bud and Bud Light are among the most popular beers in America. Not really a surprise seeing them on a list like this...lots of people drink them (sad to say). It's the other beers on the list that perked my interest.
See, Bud Ice, Colt 45 and Steel Reserve are malt liquors. They have higher alcohol content than beer, from 5.5% to just over 8%. Even those stats are deceiving. There are flavored versions of Colt 45 that pack over 12% ABV. That's not all. The other bad news is that these beers often come packaged in super-sized bottles and cans. Perfect.
|The 12% heart of the matter|
The thing is, we all know where these beers are primarily sold: at inner city convenience stores in areas inhabited by poor people. These beers are a cheap drunk. For a couple of bucks, you can get an oversize can or bottle of this hootch and get seriously hammered. Which too often leads to trouble.
I don't know what the ER stats would reveal for Portland...we are not Baltimore. But I can say big ABV beers are readily available in small stores around Portland, particularly in poorer areas. How do I know? Because one of my contract jobs takes me to these stores on a regular basis and I am mystified by what I see: coolers loaded with high octane crap beer.
Hospital stats aside, I wonder about the ethics of selling products like this. You aren't going to see a lot of this stuff moving from standard or higher end grocery stores. It's the little guys in the crappy areas that move the bulk of this junk. I know at least one beer distributor who is somewhat embarrassed by that reality. But business is business, you know.
Don't get me wrong. I hear the counter argument. "People need to take some responsibility for what they consume." I understand the distributors and stores are merely giving people what they want. "Someone else will do it if we don't," is their answer. That's all fine and well. But the ethical issue isn't going away. It isn't okay to sell this poison.