Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5 bucks for a pint of Bud Light? The terrorists have already won.

As I have mentioned on here numerous times I am a fan of booze. It doesn't matter what kind of hooch either I love it all. Except Malort. That shit is pure evil. While I enjoy sitting at home listening to the Bosstones and drinking a Red Hook IPA (as I am now) I also like to do a fair share of drinking outside of my house. I'm kinda like a college football team. Sure, there are advantages to only playing home games but what's the fun in that? Sometimes you need to go out and prove your mettle on the road. So when it comes to drinking I'm not a cowardly SEC team who won't play north of the Mason Dixon line. No, I'm more like an early 80's Florida St team or a modern day Boise St. Name the time and place and I will show up there and drink. (I'm pretty sure I took that metaphor at least 3 steps further than it needed to go.)

Over the last couple of years I have noticed a terrifying trend when I go out to bars, pints over 5 bucks. First it was only at trendy bars that I got dragged to by less enlightened friends and it tended to only be for brews such as Guinness. If I have to pay that much for a pint it better be a nice pint of the black stuff. Then the infection spread and soon all but the most dingiest holes had a couple of $5 pints. A little time passed and it was no longer just imports cracking $5 but all the microbrews and even some lowly beers such as Blue Moon. Then, almost overnight, every where I went charged at least $5 for everything except for Bud Light. And let's be honest, if you gave me $5 I'm not sure if I would accept the Bud Light along side it.

Sadly the inflation has not been contained to bars. It's difficult to find a good six pack (Anchor Steam for example) under $10 in the city of Chicago. The staple of my youth, six packs of tall boy "Ivy Cans" of Old Style, cost around $6 now, double what they were 8 years ago. God knows how much they've gone up in price since the Cubs won the World Series. The point is that this has gotten completely out of control.

There is something symbolic about certain dollar amounts when considering the cost of things. As movie prices inched toward $10 people bitched and moaned about it constantly. Yet once the theaters broke through that glass ceiling they immediately started charging $11 and it didn't seem like that big of a deal, people just accepted it. I will not accept $5 being the average price for a pint of beer without complaint. And I won't accept paying $6 or more for good beer without an all out bar brawl. It's absurd. I know that things go up in price over time, it's only natural, but there is no goddamn reason that booze prices have skyrocketed the way they have.

Cook county and the city of Chicago have decided to wet their beaks by taxing alcohol extensively much to the chagrin of drinkers all over the city. I feel that the mass taxation is being used as an excuse for raising prices but there has to be a breaking point, doesn't there? Are people really going to pay $6 for a shitty Bud Light (I'm assuming they aren't a cheap bastard and they are tipping)? How much are bartenders losing out due to such expensive prices? I bet a lot of people are tipping less if not forgoing it completely. The thing that galls me the most about this is that we are in a recession, hell, it may very well be a depression. There are 2 businesses that are essentially recession proof, gambling and liquor. When times are tough people turn to the bottle to cheer themselves up so the bars aren't hurting for business, the least they can do is throw us a bone and give us our hooch for a reasonable price. I understand very little about economics and business but there is one thing that I know for sure, prices never come down. Once we accept the $5 pint sooner or later we'll accept the $8 can of Natty Light. And when that day comes you'll find me on a plane to whatever country has the best combination of cheap/tolerable beer. Costa Rica is the front runner with the cheap and delicious Imperial. Too bad it doesn't come in Ivy Cans.

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