Nutcracker in Harlem

The New York Times reports on nutcracker, a mixture of spirits with fruit juice, sold on the streets of Harlem.

Posted by David Fahey on September 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM in Moonshine, Vodka, Whiskey | Permalink

Pakistani bootleggers at risk from police, the Taliban, and their own families

Pakistani bootleggers earn high profits at great risk: from the police, from the Taliban (who formerly tolerated whiskey drinking), and from their own families who might disown them.  The contraband whiskey, beer, and other alcoholic drinks comes largely from foreign embassies.  By the way, vodka has less prestige.  For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on April 12, 2010 at 09:41 PM in Beer, Pakistan, Vodka, Whiskey | Permalink

India's capital shifting from whiskey to beer and vodka

Long known as a whiskey-drinking city, Delhi has shifted to beer and vodka. For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on February 9, 2010 at 04:29 PM in Beer, India, Vodka, Whiskey | Permalink

Beer goes to war (article)

Lisa Jacobson, "Beer Goes to War: The Politics of Beer Promotion and Production in the Second World War," Food, Culture, and Society 12 (September 2009): 275-312. Her current research centers on a book, Cultures of Drink: Alcohol Promotion and Consumption in the United States after Prohibition Repeal. The University of California at Santa Barbara website describes this project, "a comparative study of vintners, brewers, and distillers [that] examines how alcohol producers, advertisers, popular media, tastemakers, and consumers forged distinctive (and sometimes antagonistic) cultures of drink in the four decades following Prohibition’s repeal in 1933."

Posted by David Fahey on February 7, 2010 at 02:42 PM in Advertising, Alcohol (general), Beer, Brewing , United Kingdom, Vodka, Whiskey, Wine | Permalink

Russian liquor monopoly, 1894-1914 (thesis)

PECHENUK, Wolodymyr, "The Russian Liquor Monopoly, 1894-1914" (M.A. thesis, Miami University, 1976).  This is very old and worth mentioning mostly because it is unlikely to have been cited by more recent publications.

Posted by David Fahey on January 30, 2010 at 01:56 AM in Alcohol (general), Russia, Vodka | Permalink

Absinthe made in California with the help of flavored vodka

A small spirits maker in California can afford to produce its high quality, small output absinthe because of the sales of its flavored vodka. For more, see here.

Posted by David Fahey on January 26, 2010 at 06:08 PM in Absinthe, United States, Vodka | Permalink

Ohio buys record amount of hard liquor in 2009

In 2009 residents of the state of Ohio purchased nearly 735 million dollars worth of hard liquor, a record amount of money spent on distilled spirits,  For more, see here.

 The top ten selling brands in Ohio for 2009:

1.                    Kamchatka Vodka – 400,787 gallons

2.            Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey – 345,757 gallons

3.            Bacardi Superior Light Rum – 311,763 gallons

4.            Captain Morgan Spiced Rum – 286,343 gallons

5.            Smirnoff Vodka – 278,951 gallons

6.            Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey – 273,648 gallons

7.            Jagermeister – 270,787 gallons

8.            Absolut Vodka – 262,882 gallons

9.            Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey – 244,127 gallons

10.     Korski Vodka – 236,942 gallons

Posted by David Fahey on January 25, 2010 at 01:33 PM in Gin, Rum, United States, Vodka, Whiskey | Permalink

"Spirits" low during a holiday recession

The recession has hit American sales of spirits during the holiday season.  People are buying less.  More important, when they buy they buy cheaper brands.  Profit margins are hurt by extensive price cutting.  For more, see the Los Angeles Times story here.  Most of the examples in the article dealt with vodka.

Posted by David Fahey on December 25, 2009 at 10:18 AM in United States, Vodka, Whiskey | Permalink

Vodka in tsarist Russia and the USSR (book)

Mark Lawrence Schrad, Vodka Politics: Autocracy and Alcohol in Russia (under contract with Oxford UP for publication in 2011).

From his website:

Chapter 1: Vodka Politics—Introduction

Chapter 2: The Tsar and the Green Serpent: Alcohol and Intrigue in the Russian Court

Chapter 3: The Peasant, the Pauper and the Proprietor

Chapter 4: Vodka in Late Imperial Russia

Chapter 5: Did the Prohibition of Vodka Doom the Russian Empire?

Chapter 6: The Promotion of Drunkenness and Vice in the Soviet Union

Chapter 7: Did Gorbachev’s Anti-Alcohol Campaign Doom the Soviet Empire?

Chapter 8: Leading by Example: Vodka, Yeltsin, and the Russian Demographic Catastrophe

Chapter 9: What Does It Mean that the Russians Are Drinking Beer?

Chapter 10: What is to be Done? Putin, Medvedev and the Challenges Ahead

        Just as vodka plays a major role in the social lives of many Russians, alcohol has played a major role in the political life of Russia itself. In the twentieth century alone, vodka has led Russia to defeat in one war, while almost provoking another. At the beginning of that century, vodka politics precipitated the demise of the tsarist empire amidst the flames of Bolshevik revolution, while at century’s close, the same political dynamics accelerated the demise of the Soviet empire. In the new millennium, alcohol and the legacies of autocratic rule play critical roles in perpetuating a tragic demographic crisis unlike any seen in peacetime in world history, that threatens the future foundations of Russian politics and society.

        Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian Federation has confronted a myriad of unprecedented political, economic and social challenges; yet perhaps the most crucial challenge that the current government of Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev face today is “a public health crisis that verges on the catastrophic.” According to the most recent UN data, the life expectancy for the average Russian man has dropped to 59 years—just above the level of Ghana. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, smoking and suicides have all combined to decimate the Russian population, but amongst the biggest contributors to this appalling state of affairs is the consumption of alcohol—and vodka in particular—that has claimed upwards of 40,000 victims per year since the demise of communism. This problem has not gone unnoticed. In his 2006 State of the Nation Address, President Vladimir Putin called the demographic crisis “the most acute problem facing our country today,” while academics and health professionals have highlighted a vast array of negative implications of the crisis: from a permanent drag on the economy and the inability to field an effective standing army to social disarray and complete political disintegration. To be sure, the problems associated in part with the Russians’ addiction to alcohol are real, urgent, and truly a matter of life and death.
         This book, then, paints a picture of the long and often contentious relationship between the Russian people and their government over alcohol and the common good. Far from being simply a romp through the history of inebriation and debauchery in Russia, it places Russia’s current alcohol challenge into appropriate historical context while addressing practical concerns of contemporary Russian alcohol-control policy. The project highlights the important role that alcohol—and alcohol-control—have played in the politics of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the post-Soviet Russian Federation. In terms of theoretical contributions to the study of comparative politics, one particular question holds the book together from beginning to end: which way does the causal arrow point in the relationship between culture and politics? As opposed to the traditional understanding that cultural elements (political culture) provide the foundation for national variation in political institutions, in this interpretive study, I argue that cultural elements—such as the well-known Russian penchant for vodka—are actually the result of prior political decisions and institutional arrangements themselves. In particular, I suggest that the infamous Russian affinity for drink is less an inherent cultural attribute, and more a legacy of centuries of authoritarian dominance. I argue that the consistent stifling of independent political organization by an autocratic tsarist and Soviet governments, coupled with the continued utilization of alcohol revenues to further the financial interests of the authoritarian state, has resulted in a situation where the so-called “liquor question” remains salient in post-Soviet Russia, after being put to rest in virtually every other European country. 

Posted by David Fahey on November 28, 2009 at 05:40 PM in Books, Russia, Vodka | Permalink

King of vodka (book review)

Diana Raabe reviews Linda Himmelstein, The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire here.

Posted by David Fahey on October 30, 2009 at 09:29 PM in Book Reviews, Russia, Vodka | Permalink