“Begun, the beer wars have.”
~Uh, we don’t know. Yoda?
“America loves beer!” is something our writers shout every day, often while confronting concerned family members reading letters at the urgings of a strangely persistent psychologist. “America needs beer!” they often add afterwards as their mother starts slowly sobbing into a handkerchief. “Don’t judge me okay, goddamn it, I’m not the reason dad left!” they inevitably end up saying, but that’s a personal matter we’d rather not get into.
Yes, beer saves us from overrated things like “sobriety” or “the crippling weight of reality” and America needs none of those things. That’s why the average American drinks almost 21 gallons of beer each year. That means America as a whole consumes more beer in a year than they do milk. And milk doesn’t exactly have an age limit tacked onto it.
The truth of the matter is, despite how much Americans love their beer (which ranks just above “puppies” and just below “nothing”) we have to allow ourselves to realize that we live in a global society, and other countries brew and even drink their own beer too. Even North Korea has beer. Granted it’s just basically fermented gravel with some stray barleys thrown in there, and the bitterness of the hops is replaced by a generally uncomfortably forced Nationalism, but the point still stands- we’re not alone in this beer drinking world.
“Eh, still better than Natty Lite.”
But while the whole world may agree on the deliciousness of beer, there are still some points of contention. And that is why we at America Fun Fact of the Day are going to be the first combatants in the great World War of Beer, because it’s time to set things straight. When we hear article after article discussion European beers lowering their alcohol content, we know it’s time to stand up for the rights of Americans and high-gravity beer drinkers everywhere.
That’s right, folks. Fill up your five gallon kettles with some water, steep some hatred in there, bring it to a boil, and add that hoppy bitterness because we are here to declare…
WORLD WAR BEER: America’s Response To The Watering-Down of English Beers
Like all good war stories, this one requires a background and hopefully a hilarious cultural misunderstanding turning into something far more deadly and sinister. AB InBev, the Brazilian-Belgian conglomerate (really? Brazil?) that bought out Budweiser, markets and sells three well known popular beers. All of these beers are brewed to be a healthy 5% alcohol per volume, but in England especially, Stella Artois is called the “Wife-beater.” This is partly due to the “supposed behavioral effects of the drink” which is a nice way to say “this beer is stronger than all the other beers available for this price.” The fact that Becks and Budweiser are just as alcoholic should tell you something about how cheap Stella Artois is in England.
Why do we bring this up? Well, that’s because these good European folks, in some misguided effort at “saving millions of dollars in duty costs” have, at least for England, decided to lower the strength of these beers from 5% to 4.8%. Before you get up and…oh what’s that? You’ve already established a pitchfork mob outside of your local Anheuser-Busch headquarters? Wow, you mobilized fast. It’s like that SOPA thing all over again. Okay, well, calm down, go back to your homes, this effect is only taking place in the United Kingdom. Phew.
Shh, it’s okay, everything is going to be okay, sleeeep, sleeeeep, shhhh.
While this itself is settling, a terrifying precedent where beers lower their alcohol content, this is not the first time that Europe has tried to toy with us like this. As AB InBev announced the lowering of their beers’ ABV, Guinness announced that they will be releasing a lower-alcohol version of Guinness…that is only 2.8% alcohol. 2.8! Come on, we’ve seen higher ABVs from cartons of expired grape juice. When your brewing a beer that registers lower than “AFFotD member accidentally pricking his or her finger and putting their finger in their mouth” on the alcohol scale, you’re doing it wrong. Again, this beer is going to be released primarily in…
“This isn’t even beer anymore, they’re just dropping food coloring in glasses of water and are calling it Carling.”
Of course, the final straw for America’s war with England’s incessant desire to lower the alcohol content of their beer comes from Greene King. The company responsible for Old Speckled Hen, in a misguided attempt to “boost sales” have decided to slash their alcohol strength from 5.2% to 4.5%. (British) company representatives told the public that this change, which admittedly dates back to 2006, was made to make to make the beer “more accessible and less [of] an occasional treat.” This is like taking Chips Ahoy and decided to replace all the ingredients with celery in a way to make the product more family friendly.
Of course, while all of these horrible British beer distributers would try to poison an entire nation with beers that have lower alcohol, America’s first volley in World War Beer proves that we don’t stand for that shit. So while Europe, and specifically England, is going to shit, taking away all the alcohol from their beers like some sort of prohibition era Chupacabra, what has America been doing?
What is this? That’s right, Bud Light has decided to come out with a new “Platinum” version, and much like every Platinum credit card in existence, it is totally unnecessary and ultimately will end up being awful for you. While Bud Light typically has 110 calories, 6.6 grams of carbs, and 4.2% alcohol (otherwise known as “why do I care”, “Who gives a shit,” and “Oh only 4.2? That seems kinda low”) Bud Platinum boosts up to 137 calories, goes down to 4.4 grams of carbs, and packs a solid 6% alcohol by volume. That means it’s “better” for you than Bud Heavy, but also is more likely to get you smashed quicker. This was successfully test marketed in Texas because, well come on, are you surprised, and is slated to be released on January 30th of this year.
This is the future, America. Light beers with higher alcohol. Where the Brits are taking their beers that are supposed to be high alcohol and making them weaker, we Americans are taking beers that are supposed to be lower alcohol, and are just cranking up the drunk. So while we’re early in World War Beer, we can safely say that so far…