In actuality, Kadinsky and I spent Thanksgiving week on a cold and windy, four-city European jaunt.  We’ll try to bring you the highlights later in the week, as we recover from our excesses and the approximate 48 hours we spent just in transit.  I called my mom last night to get the family Thanksgiving news, and spent most of yesterday reading my various websites to catch up on internet gossip and general idiocy (Muppets sing Bohemian Rhapsody!  Famewhores crash the White House!  Tiger Woods in domestic incident car crash!  All standard internet fare). 

Fortunately, what didn’t pass me by was a little story out of Scotland, my former home-away-from-home, about BrewDog Beer (a brewery in the northern town of Fraserburgh) and the release of their newest beer, known as Tactical Nuclear Penguin.  The £30-a-bottle, limited-edition beer has been released with a whopping 32% alcohol content:

A warning on the label states: “This is an extremely strong beer; it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.”

However Jack Law, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, described it was a “cynical marketing ploy” and said: “We want to know why a brewer would produce a beer almost as strong as whisky.”

I think you have answered your own question, Jack Law.  Clearly, it is a cynical marketing ploy and essentially a novelty or collector’s item (BrewDog loosely bills itself as a punk brewery).  Additionally, the beer was released on Thursday, and it’s no coincidence that November 26th was also the day that the Scottish government released it’s own Alcohol Bill, which includes proposals for minimum pricing on drinks:

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has accused the Scottish government of penalising Scottish businesses and consumers with its new Alcohol Bill – while doing little to challenge the main causes of alcohol abuse.

It also seeks to ban all alcohol promotions in shops – a move intended to outlaw discounts such as ‘three for two’ wine deals and address the rock-bottom pricing of low-grade ciders, lagers and spirits.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA said, ‘The stance by opposition parties against minimum pricing is to be welcomed but this legislation contains other measures which are equally unwelcome and equally unlikely to address the root causes of alcohol misuse…’

Contentious!  As a former resident of Scotland, I can see both sides (from a laywoman’s perspective).  I found alcohol to already be extremely overpriced, kind of insultingly so – why I am by no means a wine-snob, I had to settle for some pretty rank juice while I was there.  On the other hand, no one’s denying that the UK as a whole suffers from a drink problem; but while intentions may be good, all I ever saw was people spending more money on booze or just settling for rougher stuff.  It doesn’t seem right in the land of whisky! 

BrewDog already drew controversy when they released an 18.2% beer called Tokyo earlier this year (which they claim does not encourage binge drinking).  As a followup, they released a 1.1% alcohol-content beer, also of high-quality, and simply christened it Nanny State.

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