|Work an Hour, Earn a Beer
“Beer is expensive in India. The
reason is that it’s taxed heavily,” says
Jean-Marc de Vaux, managing
director of SABMiller India. “At Rs34
[$0.70] a bottle, a man has to work
for a beer [for] over an hour.”
A beer costs the equivalent of a
quarter of a clothing factory worker’s
daily earnings, an indulgence out of
reach of many of the country’s 1.2
billion people. Nevertheless, beer sales
are growing by 14 per cent a year
incomes continue to rise. Most
analysts agree alcohol consumption
has plenty of room to expand.
Indians consumes barely one litre of
beer per person a year. The average
Chinese, by comparison, consumes
23 litres a year; the world average is
22 litres. Availability is a big challenge,
too. The Indian beer drinker has to
travel miles to find a beer, usually at a
tawdry, unrefrigerated outlet. India
has one point of sale for every
21,000 people, compared with one
for every 3,000 in Indonesia. Beer
drinking in India retains the stigma of
the illicit. Advertising is banned.
|Beer Pong in Vegas
The World Series of Beer Pong is a loud and sloshy annual tournament that elevates a
college fraternity house staple of ping pong balls and beer to an (almost) serious competition.
Thanks to a $50,000 first prize more than 400 teams flocked to the Flamingo hotel-casino on
the Las Vegas Strip for a chance to bring their skills out of the bar and into the big time.
They wore matching uniforms and talked about focus, strategy, and drinking more Pabst
Blue Ribbon, the official beer of the tournament.
Strangely, the winner, Ron Hamilton, 25, of Brentwood, N.Y., prefers liquor to beer. He
claims he got ready for the final round by drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels. "The key today
was me getting real drunk and my partner not missing, and us coming out and proving we're
the best," Hamilton said shortly after winning the top prize with Michael Popielarski, 25, of
Massapequa, N.Y. After watching the antics of the winning team one Vegas regular said
"these guys make a good case for raising the drinking age to 26."
A new documentary, "Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong," is now available
on amazon.com. The film, according to the producers, "captures the growing pong culture."
If that weren't enough, there was "Beer Pong" the video game, designed for Nintendo's
popular Wii system. However the manufacturer, JV Games Inc., changed the name to
"Pong Toss" amid complaints about appropriateness for teenagers.
|Hey Buddy, Can You Spare a Beer?
The new Belgian owners of Anheuser-Busch have just
announced that Busch Gardens will end a 50-year
tradition and stop handing out free beer samples. The
company's nine other theme parks, including
SeaWorld in Orlando, will also stop pouring. The free
beer samples date back to 1959 when Busch
Gardens' served as the waiting room for tours of
the adjacent A-B Tampa brewery. At the time,
there no limit on the free samples which were
served in a beer garden setting. By the 1970s,
the garden grew into a full-fledged theme park and
the sample cups started shrinking and limits were
imposed. Joining the list of things cut was a
longtime perk to full time park employees of two
fre cases of A-B beers.
The new owners have vowed to keep the
company's trademark Clydesdales but after laying
off 1,400 brewery employees right before
Christmas, anything is possible. A corporate
spokesperson said they were only trying to rein in
what they consider excesses. And surprise, he did
not mention anything about upper management
salaries or bonuses. Nor were any advertising
cuts announced. Anheuser-Busch has the nation's
biggest brewery marketing budget and is the
single largest buyer of sports TV advertising.