alcohol

Told you: Calls for plain packaging on beer now

Plain Packaging for beer: Is this our future?

Plain Packaging for beer: Is this our future?

I warned everybody, and have been doing so for years, that if we allow plain packaging for products like tobacco then it wouldn’t be long before calls for plain packing came for other products, most notably alcohol and sugar.

Well, no one listened to me. Commenters on this blog also, rather po-facedly, stated that they didn’t mind on tobacco. Now there are calls for plain packaging of alcohol.

Alcohol watchdogs are concerned beer branding featuring cute cartoons or resembling softdrinks, may be too appealing to minors.

The rise of the craft beer market has resulted in a new wave of creative, colourful, and often cartoonish labels as alcohol producers compete for consumers’ attention.

Auckland craft brewery Behemoth Brewing Company, has “brave bikkie brown ale” featuring a cartoon monster eating a cookie on its bottles.

A mouse riding a dog appears on Scallywag rich amber ale from Auckland craft brewery Schipper’s Beer, while a badger wearing a jetpack stars on its Boffin bitter.

Even the Mac’s beer range, owned by major brewer Lion, features labels with drawings of wolves, a shark fin and an Indian Pale Ale called “birthday suit” with a grizzly beer holding a hop bud. And two months ago, the darling of the New Zealand craft beer scene, Garage Project, released a “Lola cheery cola beer” in a can with a striking resemblance to Coca-Cola.

But while this type of branding can be fun and exciting for adults, it can spell confusion for youngsters, said Rebecca Williams, director of the Alcohol Healthwatch group.

She said cartoons on alcohol labelling sent a message to minors that alcohol consumption should not be taken seriously, blurring the reality that it contained a toxin.

“Look at the colours of them – they’re cute, they’re quirky,” said Williams.

When children liked a brand or could relate to it, it translated into early alcohol consumption, she said.

“I think it’s about time somebody was challenged.”

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Photo of the Day

John Phillips may easily be called one of the best pop songwriters of the later 20th century. He honed his songwriting and arranging skills with singing groups that gained a modicum of success. But his crowning musical achievement was the work he did with his '60s group the Mamas and the Papas. Photo: MTV

John Phillips may easily be called one of the best pop songwriters of the later 20th century. He honed his songwriting and arranging skills with singing groups that gained a modicum of success. But his crowning musical achievement was the work he did with his ’60s group the Mamas and the Papas. Photo: MTV

Forbidden Fruit

A Lifetime of Debauched and Reckless Behaviour

John Phillips, destructiveness was too extravagant even for Keith Richards, who once kicked Phillips out of his house for being too uncontrollable

Unlike some other musician/addiction profiles, the John Phillips story is not necessarily one with a cheerful ending.

Mackenzie Phillips, his daughter, was 10 years old when her father taught her how to roll a joint. She had her first taste of cocaine at age 11. At 14, she landed a role in the film American Graffiti , and one week after her 18th birthday, she was arrested for the first time.

When she was 10, her dad gave her, her first adult job.

“Dad said, ‘I’m going to give you a project,’ Dad had a job for me! This was exciting. I was in.”

“I got really good at rolling joints. I was the official joint roller for all the adults.”

McKenzie says she was allowed so much freedom as a kid that the only rules her dad gave her were to spend one night a week at home and to always change her clothes before returning in the early morning.

“A lady never wears evening clothes during the day. It’s cheap,” John Phillips, who died in 2001, told her.

He did have one boundary. One day, Mackenzie found a purple pill in her dad’s bedroom.

She instinctively took it. But it turned out not to be just any pill — it was the last of the LSD pills made by the famous drug cook Owsley Stanley, and it was a collector’s item among moneyed celebrity druggies of the time.

“It was as if I’d crashed a normal dad’s Porsche, he said, ‘You took my last hit of Owsley. You’re grounded!’ ”

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Which one is the most harmful, tobacco, marijuana or alcohol?

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We asked Whaleoil readers whether tobacco, marijuana or alcohol was the most harmful to society overall. Alcohol was the hands down winner at 73%

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Surely Police aren’t seriously suggesting we have no new bars in Auckland for six years

The Police seem to have become captured by anti-alcohol health campaigners, and producing equally dodgy assumptions as fact, as they suggest that Auckland should have no new bars for six years.

The smartphone footage shows them puffing up their chests and barging into each other. One of them shapes up to a woman in black shorts. He flattens her off her high-heels and she lands heavily head-first on the concrete.

In another video caught on CCTV a man falls over as he attempts a roundhouse kick. Another pummels his fists into him as he lies on the ground.

The two videos, taken two months apart, at roughly the same spot on Auckland city’s Fort St, show the moment tensions spill over into late-night brawls that end with multiple people in hospital, or facing criminal charges – or both.

For police, the videos give them two new pieces of evidence in their argument for tougher restrictions on when people should be able to drink in the city.

They are mounting a case for a six-year ban on all new bars and bottle shops in Auckland’s CBD, as well as a 1am one-way door policy and a 3am close.

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Does NZ have a drinking problem or a drinkers problem?

Karl du Fresne writes:

It has become accepted wisdom that New Zealand has a serious drinking problem. But do we? And if we do, what’s the reason?

Let’s start by tackling that first question. In 2014 the World Health Organisation published a table showing per capita alcohol consumption in 190 countries.

New Zealand was ranked 31st. At first glance, that seems a bit of a worry. It suggests we’re among the world’s heaviest boozers.

But that ranking needs to be put into perspective. In many of those 190 countries, especially those in Asia and Africa, alcohol has never been a big part of the local culture. Consumption is accordingly modest.

And Muslim countries, don’t forget them…no alcohol there or precious little if any.

Now, factor in the many countries where drinking is discouraged and even prohibited for religious reasons. That includes the entire Islamic world.

Take all that into account, and the list of countries that New Zealand can meaningfully be compared with becomes a lot shorter.

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Police tried seven times to set up Trentham Racecourse, got them in the end

Is it just me that is uneasy with a Police sting that tries seven times to get the result they wanted?

The kegs will be dry and the wine glasses empty at Trentham Racecourse for the first time next month after it failed a police booze sting on Wellington Cup Day.

But drunk punters horsing were not to blame for Wellington Racing Club breaching its liquor licence on January 23.

Rather, it was an underage buyer with no ID being served alcohol on the seventh attempt of a police sting, after six previous efforts to illegally purchase alcohol had failed.

The breach comes amid a backdrop of Police getting tough on race day events.

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Anything that harms the body is unlawful

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Some cultures have sacred cows that you are not allowed to eat. Others promote vegetarianism because they think it is wrong to kill animals. Another culture says that alcohol is forbidden because it harms your body. To be fair, they may have a point because, used to excess, it can harm your body but then many things harm our bodies if taken to excess. If I eat too much I harm my body, for example. Should food be forbidden?

Anyway, I am sure that a culture that cares so much about our bodies must think of our bodies as a temple. That has to be a good thing doesn’t it? They are only wanting the best for us after all. I am sure that if they discovered that you had drunk a teeny tiny glass of wine or one small beer they would understand…

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Tamati has a problem with the alcohol industry

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Tamati Coffey, Labour candidate for Rotorua and bar owner, is continuing on his rampage against sugar and pre-mixed drinks.

There seems to be no problem with multi-national corporations promoting sugary drinks that cause tooth decay, obesity and poor health, nor with global brands promoting pre-mixed alcohol to our youth binge drinking culture. Neither does international brands pricing these beverages cheaper than water or milk cause a stir.

So, the Labour candidate who promotes alcohol and makes money from the consumption of it has a problem with our binge drinking culture? This photo (above) and many others like it can be added to the roll call of hypocrisy as far as Mr Coffey is concerned.   Read more »

Rudman wants bars to never close

Following the rolling brawl in Auckland’s Britomart club-lands, heavyweights from the police and Auckland Council squared off over who was to blame. In the council corner, councillor George Wood, a former North Shore police commander, criticised the ongoing lack of police presence to control late night revellers, declaring “the chickens have come home to roost”.

Auckland Police prevention manager Inspector Gary Davey pointed the finger right back at council, expressing his “disappointment” at the wimpish local alcohol policies being proposed by the politicians.

He said “council has a responsibility to reduce unacceptable levels of intoxication and alcohol-related harm, yet proposed closing hours of 4am in the CBD and 3am in the rest of the city allow the current level of harm to continue”.

I confess that in the past, usually after some particularly vicious drunken assault has hit the headlines, I’ve tended to sympathise with the idea of both more cops on the beat, and earlier closing hours.

I’m not surprised.  The liberal wets generally go the way of banning and regulations.   But it appears Bri has had an epiphany  Read more »

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Photo Of The Day

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Baghdad Country Club

It takes Real Balls to Play here

 The Who’s Who of Baghdad’s Green Zone Ate Steak and Drank Fine Wine at a Bar that Billed It’self as “An Oasis of Calm.”

So, many Western visitors to Iraq in the past decade have thrown their heads back after a near-miss with a roadside bomb and thought, I need a drink right now. That was where the Baghdad Country Club came in.

“The management is happy to secure any firearms, grenades, flash bangs or knives in the club armory.”

Saturday night in Baghdad, and Heidi, the barmaid at the Baghdad Country Club, is worried about the beer. On a busy night, she might serve 800 cold ones to the diplomats, security guards, and construction workers who frequent the Country Club, a white cinder-block house with blue trim on a residential street in the Green Zone.

The BCC, as its known, gets its alcohol from suppliers outside the walls, but insurgents are targeting the crossings on either side of the Tigris River. On this Saturday, a truck bomb on a bridge has locked up traffic on the west bank of the Tigris, delaying the delivery of the night’s beer supply. Heidi, a recent college graduate from Florida, wonders whether the war will eventually collapse on the Green Zone, the way it did on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. But she doesn’t let that occupy her for long. Looking down at the empty glass in her hand, she smiles and says, “Let’s do a shot…

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