Phil's Diary August 25, 2009
health! Or is it?
Claims about the benefits of moderate
drinking have long been a part of the industry’s case against
anti-alcohol measures, not to mention, in more innocent times, their use
in blatant promotion. ‘Guinness is good for you’ still resonates as
a slogan and the same brewer once ran a press ad headed ‘a doctor
writes’ extolling the salubrious effects of a glass of stout.
These days the claims are more drily
scientific and circumspect, and I’m not sure they contribute very
much. People don’t drink because it’s healthy. They drink because
they like it. And how do you get them drinking in the precise moderation
Nevertheless, white-coated boffins
continue to tease out the evidence, and the latest results, from a
survey of 12,000-odd over-55s published in the Journal of the American
Geriatric Society, seems pretty conclusive.
The research aimed to cut out all the
‘confounding factors’ raised by critics and still concluded that one
drink a day reduces your mortality risk by 38 per cent.
That comes with a health warning,
though. The update where I read this also contains less cheerful
research results linking alcohol to acute injuries, acute myocardial
infarction, pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis and heightened risk
of contracting HIV.
Rather takes the bloom of it. Which is
another reason why I’m sceptical about the healthy drinking arguments.
In the end, living itself is a risky business. You could die at any
moment. But it doesn’t stop you doing it.
Them white-coated boffins are busy
people. Now the Home Office has asked them to invent a less dangerous
receptacle for beer.
This a currently known as a ‘glass’
because that’s what it’s made of. It’s possible they’ll come up
with a new kind of glass glass but the fear is it’ll be some placcy
Iain Loe, organic intellectual of the
Campaign for Real Ale, has set out the arguments against plastic in The
Guardian so I won’t repeat his excellent analysis.
I’ll only add that a nice glass not
only enhances the aesthetic experience of drinking beer, it influences
your attitude towards alcohol – taking it seriously, allowing it to
touch the sides as it goes down. That mere receptacle has an important
part to play if we’re to develop a more responsible attitude to
Journalism... Research... Awards Judging... Pub Business Advice... Pub