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Botanical Vodka Is One Of The Newest Trends Shaping The Spirit Industry | Rosa Vodka

The liquor and spirits industry as a whole is constantly changing and looking for the next best thing. For Rosa Vodka, they believed a liquor made from the botanical essences of the Bulgarian Damascena Rose is exactly what the industry needed to shake things up, so they created one.

Alcohol

Americans Are Drinking More Today Than During Prohibition

With many of us struggling to get to the end of one of the many health kicks that appear in January, we may be starting to wonder whether what we are doing is really necessary. Alongside Veganuary there is also Dry January, a movement that has seen many around the world opt to abstain from alcohol for 31 days in an attempt to get healthier.

But do we as a nation have an issue with alcohol? The answer apparently is yes. It has recently been announced that Americans are consuming more alcohol than during Prohibition, and with the trend for drinking increasing steadily over the last twenty years, is there really an option for the trend to stop?

Federal health statistics has shown an increase in per-capita alcohol consumption, and has seen a shocking increase in the number of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and even deaths that are linked to drinking.

However, there has been some good news. Teenagers are drinking less than before, a sign that they may be witnessing the destruction that alcohol can cause. The influence of social media has also been cited as a reason for the decline. However, public health experts are still concerned over the drinking problem that is on-going.

Dr Tim Naimi, an alcohol researcher at Boston University confirmed that “consumption has been going up. Harms [from alcohol] have been going up. And there’s not been a policy response to match it.”

Before Prohibition was implemented in 1920, the average American adult – and teenager – was drinking around two gallons of alcohol each year. However nowadays the figure is nearer 2.3 gallons, equating to around 500 drinks – or nine drinks a week.

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However historians have confirmed that America’s biggest drinking problem was during the early 1800’s with 1830 reaching a peak of nearly seven gallons of alcohol being consumed by the average American.

With such a large alcohol problem the temperance movement campaigned for moderation on alcohol, followed by abstinence and eventually called for the national ban, which was passed in 1919. Prohibition commenced on January 17th 1920 and continued for a further 13 years until it was ended under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration.

Prohibition clearly had an affect on the nation’s drinking habits as following the lifting of the ban the per-capita alcohol consumption was at nearly one gallon, however, the figures have fluctuated ever since. The 1970’s and 1980’s saw an increase to 2.75 gallons, although some have blamed this increase on the recession that was affecting the majority of the developed world at the time.

The mid-1980’s saw attention being focused on the increase in deaths due to drink driving and Congress increased the drinking age from 18 to 21, leading to a fall in alcohol consumption, however it increased again around the mid-1990’s.

William Kerr, senior scientist at Public Health Institute’s Alcohol Research Group commented, “I think people sort of forgot all the problems with alcohol.”

As well as the damage to the bank balance, excessive drinking has many significant health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, liver damage, liver cancer and heart disease. Alcohol is discouraged during pregnancy as it could lead to birth defects, stillbirth or miscarriage. It has also been confirmed that alcohol is responsible for around 30-35% of injuries within the elderly generation.

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Alcohol can also be a danger to those around us,  as fighting is way more likely to occur due to a higher level of alcohol in our systems. Domestic violence can also be alcohol fueled and of course, there can be damaging results from drink driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that over 88,000 Americans die annually due to excessive drinking, a figure that is higher than those who have died during the recent opioid drug epidemic.

With the number of deaths relating to alcohol issues doubling since 1999 it has been suggested that there are links with the growing overdose epidemic as many drug users drink alcohol at the same time.

Although nearly 75% of those that had alcohol related deaths were male, there has been a significant increase in the amount of alcohol women are now drinking, a fact that has been put down to the increase in binge drinking, where you consume around four or five drinks within two hours.

Aaron White, lead researcher on a recent study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, confirmed that the study – which saw researchers scan death certificates from the last two years looking for those mentioning alcohol problems -had seen the amount of women dying from drinking related causes had increased by 85%. Although the highest age range were those between 55 and 74 it also discovered the number of younger women dying was increasing.

There has also been a change in our attitude towards drinking with many memes ‘promoting’ wine as ‘mommy juice’. And of course, we have all heard of ‘wine o’clock’.

Healthy Lifestyle

Study Finds That a Healthy Lifestyle can Add a Decade of Life Free From Disease

Everyone knows that practicing healthy habits, such as dieting, exercising, and avoiding cigarettes, can extend one’s life span and improve one’s quality of life. However, it can be difficult to conceptualize exactly how much of a benefit these habits offer in one’s life, as it’s easy for these metrics to become somewhat abstract. As such, a study published in the British Medical Journal sought to quantify exactly how much a healthy lifestyle benefits one’s life, and found that practicing a healthy lifestyle can expand one’s disease-free lifespan by an average of ten years.

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The study looked at five factors associated with a healthy lifestyle, which included drinking alcohol in moderation, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating well. The study, which looked at more than 100,000 people, found that people who practiced four of these five traits lived as much as ten years longer without diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, than people who practiced none of these habits. Not only does a healthy lifestyle allow people to live longer lives, but the quality of life increases when people practice healthy lifestyle habits, as the risk of developing diseases decreases dramatically.

Specifically, the study found that women who practiced any four of the five traits in question lived an average of 84 years without disease, whereas women who practiced none of the five habits only lived an average of 74 years without disease. Likewise, men with four out of the five healthy habits lived to 81 years old without disease, whereas men who practiced none of the healthy habits lived to 73 years old without disease. The most unhealthy characteristics a person can have, the study found, were smoking more than 15 cigarettes a day or having a BMI greater than 30, which is defined as obesity.

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While the study shows that moderate drinking is far healthier than heavy drinking, it’s important to note that other studies have shown that no amount of alcohol is good for you, despite persistent rumors that suggest that having a glass of wine with dinner can improve one’s health. In fact, using recreational drugs at all is widely considered to have either a neutral or a negative impact on one’s health, and definitely not a positive one. Instead of relying on drugs as a method of reducing stress, doctors recommend other methods that help to both relieve stress and improve health. Regular exercise, for instance, has been shown to improve one’s overall mood, and meditation, a practice whereby people focus on paying attention to their experiences in the present moment, can improve mental health as well. If, like most people, you’re concerned about extending the longevity and quality of your life, it’s not a bad idea to think about the various ways in which your current lifestyle habits might contribute to disease and develop strategies to improve your lifestyle habits.

US & France Wine Tax

Import Tax Likened to “Prohibition” in Latest Trade War

The recent decision by President Donald Trump to increase tax on all European wine imports to 100% has sparked outrage across the industry, with many comparing it to Prohibition during the 1920s and 30s.

The new tariffs are a direct response to the European subsidies for Airbus and American importers are asking Washington to cancel the proposal after it was revealed it would impact around $2.4 billion worth of French products that also include cosmetics and cheese as well as wine.

Washington has challenged the French government’s new digital services tax claiming it is specifically aimed at American technology giants and the retaliating import tax increase is seen by many to potentially be the start of further international trade wars. Although the current trade war with China has seen a preliminary trade deal appearing to be finalized.

While America and France have confirmed a two week period to discuss a deal that would suit both nations — with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin agreeing to further talks at the World Economic Forum towards the end of January — the European Union has vowed to back France.

A third of America’s wine industry is from imported wines and warnings have already been issued that the tariffs could devastate the $70 billion wine industry that in turn could affect businesses across the country including restaurants, bars, warehouses and even our own wineries, effectively placing thousands of American jobs at risk.

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The recent US Trade Representative (USTR) hearing in Washington saw industry insiders calling for certain products to be excluded from the tariffs, especially considering many businesses are already suffering difficulties thanks to the 25 percent tariffs that were imposed at the end of 2019 on specific German, French and Spanish wines. These tariffs were imposed as part of a different trade dispute regarding European subsidies to many large aircraft makers. The new tariffs proposed by Trump’s administration will cover more products such as sparkling wines.

And with small profit margins on the majority of wines being sold it is virtually impossible for restaurant owners and wine importers to absorb the tariffs meaning prices will have to be increased, hitting the American consumer’s pocket. The National Association of Wine Retailers has already announced they believe that the cost of some bottles of wine could double while others will disappear from our shelves completely as they will become too expensive to continue importing.

Vintage 59 is a small wine import business and partner Michael Daniels commented:

“Any increased tariff burden levied on wines or spirits from the EU… will force our customers to choose different products. Any significant sales losses, even during a short period, will require layoffs. Any extended period of losses could lead to our full-scale collapse.”

There are also major concerns that the tariffs could result in many European wine exporters opting to stay away from America on a more permanent basis which could have dire consequences in the long term as well as the short term.

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Passed in July 2019, the French digital tax saw a 3 percent tax imposed on all revenue generated from digital services and has affected corporations that have global revenues of over $1.1 billion and French revenues of nearly $28 million.

An investigation by the USTR claimed that American companies were discriminated against by the tax resulting in Washington threatening retaliatory tariffs on French imports. France disputed this and explained they were struggling to deal with the way in which they should tax technology corporations that conduct business in their country. Other European countries are now considering similar taxes, which could see further disputes with America.

Senior fellow and trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics Gary Hufbauer has stated that the “thresholds and definitions of ‘taxable services’ ensure that US firms are the primary target.” This follows the Computer and Communications Industry Association imploring the US to react to the tax.
Benjamin Aneff is managing partner of Tribeca Wine Merchants and has likened the tariff to Prohibition commenting, “it is without hyperbole that I tell you that the proposed tariffs would be the greatest threat to the wine and spirits industry since Prohibition, in 1919.”

Trump has said that he believes the two countries will “work it out” however he has also disregarded concerns of wine drinkers saying we should replace French wines with products from wineries across America.

Yet even with the potential for higher sales for American wines Californian wineries have also criticized the tariffs, stating that if people cannot buy their favored wine they may choose to buy anything other than American products, in an act of protest to the government. And with many great wines from countries across the world, including South Africa, New Zealand or Chile, there is still a great range to choose from.

Alcohol

Light Alcohol Consumption Linked with Higher Cancer Risk

It’s previously been reported that no amount of alcohol consumption is good for your health, though the negative effects of light consumption are less severe than the effects of heavy consumption. However, a new study conducted in Japan has concluded that light to moderate alcohol consumption is also linked with elevated cancer risk. The study, which was published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, found that one’s overall risk of cancer was lowest when they did not consume any alcohol at all.

The recent student contradicts previous research on the subject, which has linked limited alcohol consumption with lower risks of some types of cancer. The new study, however, is much broader in scope than previous research that has been conducted on the topic, as it examines information from 33 Japanese general hospitals, totalling 126,464 patients, half of which belong to a control group and half of which were patients with cancer. The collected data spanned over a decade, from 2005-2016, and was controlled for sex, age, hospital admission date, and admitting hospital.

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The research is based in large part on patients’ self-reported amounts of daily alcohol consumption, using the measurement of standardized alcohol units. For example, one standardized alcohol unit is equivalent to one cup of Japanese sake, one 17-ounce bottle of beer, one 6-ounce glass of wine, or one 2-ounce cup of whiskey.

The correlation between alcohol consumption and cancer risk was almost linear, meaning that one’s risk of developing cancer increases at the same rate that one consumes alcohol. The cancer risk was lowest at no alcohol consumption, and one drink per day for ten years increased patients’ cancer risk by five percent. This finding held true regardless of a person’s sex, drinking and smoking behaviors, and social class. The most common areas in which cancer develops relating to alcohol consumption include the colorectum, stomach, breast, prostate, and esophagus.

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In Japan, as well as in many places around the world, the primary cause of death is cancer. While this study is limited to patients in Japanese hospitals, it is likely that the findings apply to other populations as well. Hopefully, this study will help to dispel ongoing myths that a small amount of alcohol consumption has a neutral or even positive effect on one’s health, as cancer is a debilitating and terrible disease. Cancer is not the only health risk associated with alcohol consumption; excessive use of alcohol has also been linked to high blood pressure, mental health issues that affect both one’s mood and cognition, and addiction. 

While binge drinking or other forms of excessive alcohol consumption pose much more substantial health risks than more responsible forms of drinking, many still believe that having a glass of wine with dinner several times a week, for instance, is good for one’s health. As the science surrounding the health effects of alcohol consumption continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly clear that this widespread belief is not based in fact.

Sobriety

Sobriety Gains Popularity as Cultural Attitudes About Alcohol Shift

No amount of alcohol is good for your health. Despite scientific consensus supporting this claim, the consumption of alcohol remains a fact of social life for most people, as a night out on the town more often than not involves drinking at bars and other venues. However, young people are growing increasingly aware of the negative consequences of alcohol consumption, which include hangovers, the potential for addiction, and even brain damage and death. As such, and as trends celebrating wellness and self-care are on the rise, business opportunities taking advantage of a growing cultural awareness of the benefits of sobriety have cropped up.

One example is the phenomenon of “sober bars,” which offer the social environment, dining options, and custom drinks of bars minus the alcohol. Geared towards people who want to stop drinking but don’t want to sacrifice their bar-centered lifestyle, sober bars offer so-called “mocktails,” which are elaborate non-alcoholic beverages, and can feature live music and dancing. Oftentimes, sober bars will copy the look and feel of traditional bars so extensively that unless somebody told you or you tried to order an alcoholic drink, you would have no way of differentiating them from ordinary bars. As such, they retain the coolness factor and atmosphere of most bars, while presenting a much safer and healthier alternative.

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For people who are serious about pursuing a wellness-focused lifestyle, sobriety is an absolute must. For one, alcohol is by itself calorically dense, even when present in light beers, and as such threatens to thwart efforts to diet and exercise. For people looking to incorporate activities like yoga and meditation into their schedules, alcohol presents an unnecessary burden, as the lasting effects of alcohol consumption inhibit a person’s sense of clarity and focus. A focus on wellness has become popular thanks to social media platforms like Instagram, where influencers frequently share self-care advice and inspirational quotes, and sober bars are often decorated with the intent of enabling aesthetically pleasing Instagram photos. Sharing a picture of yourself at a sober bar, accompanied by an explanatory caption, is sure to make your post stand out on your followers’ feeds. 

While consumption of many other drugs like opiates and amphetamines is more dangerous, cultural attitudes that normalize and promote the consumption of alcohol make it the leading cause of drug-related deaths in the US. Alcohol is not only one of the leading causes of death and disease worldwide, but is also the most popular date-rape drug, and violence and sexual assault is dramatically more prevalent in environments where drinking takes place, as the drug increases a person’s impulsivity and impairs their decision making abilities. And alcohol has the distinction of being one of the only drugs for which withdrawal can kill people.

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While a commitment to sobriety is often associated with recovering from the disease of alcoholism, you don’t need to have personally had a destructive relationship with alcohol for the prospect of sobriety to be appealing. Being sober during social occasions has a number of benefits that apply to nearly everybody. Never getting drunk means never having to deal with hangovers, and never having to sacrifice one’s confidence in their ability to drive, which is particularly important should there arise a reason why it might be a good idea to quickly leave a party or bar. Without the influence of alcohol, partygoers don’t have to worry about making decisions they’ll regret the next day nearly as much as they would if they were drinking, and gradual damage to the liver and brain over time need not be a concern. Additionally, people who have given up drinking, especially as they approach and enter their thirties, report a higher quality of sleep at night and focus throughout the day, which is consistent with medical findings about the effects of alcohol.

Feature image credit: “Sober Club,” by Flair Candy