The Captain came across an interesting report in yesterday’s Huffington Post...
Why do you always act surprised that the Captain can read?
According to a new study from University of Texas at Austin, advertising dollars spent on promoting alcoholic beverages have increased 400% over the last forty years.
The study looked back to 1971 since it was in that year the Federal Trade Commission lifted the ban on alcohol advertisements on broadcast media.
Hey, that’s just 38 years after Prohibition ended in the U.S.!
Who says our government works slow?!
It has taken time to grow, but especially in the last four years money spent advertising alcoholic products has suddenly exploded, mostly in the area of electronic ads.
Perhaps a $4 million Super Bowl ad might be a contributing factor...
This increase in spending is attributed in part to competition among the giant global booze corporations, and in part to a recent recognition that small microbreweries are collectively outselling the big breweries now.
Beer makes up the lion’s share of alcohol consumed in the U.S.
Yes, on average, Americans are drinking 20.29 gallons of beer each year!
To put that into perspective, if you were ponied up to the bar at your local ale house, you'd have to drink 160 "Pints" to reach 20 gallons, or roughly one glass every other day.
But before we allow ourselves to get alarmed by this information, we should read the rest of the report.
The UT-A study revealed that while advertising has increased dramatically, during the same period alcohol consumption has remained fairly flat. In 1971it was estimated that the average American consumed 22.2 gallons of alcohol per year, and in 2011 that number has only increased to 24.6 gallons per person.
Again, to put that into perspective, if you are a wine-drinker like the Captain, that would be the equivalent of about 120 bottles of wine, or roughly one bottle every three days.
Frankly, the Captain feels these estimates are low, but that’s not the point of this blog.
CAPTAIN’S NOTE: There was no recognizable increase in consumption in 2003 when Disney released “Pirates of the Caribbean”, despite Captain Jack Sparrow’s trademark plea:
Surprisingly, there was a slight – and momentary – uptick in alcohol consumption when the Captain launched “Banana Winds” into the blogosphere in 2007, but no measurable change in consumption when I signed up for Facebook in 2010 and started sharing the occasional – allegedly inappropriate – alcohol posts.
The Captain notes that there is an anomaly on the chart in 1981where alcohol consumption soared to 28.8 gallons per person, and we were curious as to why.
So I consulted “The People History” website to find out what might have happened in 1981 to cause people to turn to the bottle more frequently. Here are some possibilities:
- Ronald Reagan succeeded Jimmy Carter as President of the United States.
- Air Traffic Controllers went on strike and President Reagan fired them all.
- Inflation in the U.S. was soaring at 10.35%.
- Microsoft released MS-DOS.
- The AIDS virus was identified.
- And American Airlines introduces “Frequent Flyer Miles”.
But the truth is, we don’t really know why alcohol consumption rose in 1981.
And again, it is not belaboring the point to say that the overall consumption of alcohol has not significantly increased over the last 40 years despite the millions of dollars being poured into advertising.
Now, mates, the Captain is not a tea-totaller, as you might have already guessed.
Nor is he a raging drunk.
Sorry if that disappoints some of you.
However, I do care about you and the safety of others. So, as always…