Wednesday, May 26, 2010
New BC drink driving legislation (the "toughest in the country") is coming. Drink-driving is the least popular recreational activity since Vlad the Impaler's dinner parties, so you probably won't find much objection to the new measures:
1. Increasing fines and penalties for .08ml/L blood-alcohol content, and
2. Introducing "warning" fines and penalties for .05ml/L blood-alcohol content
That's one way to put pressure on merry-motorists. Another would be the UK's approach of freaking the shit out of people (this one is for drug driving but MAN is it freaky). Whatever works is OK by me I suppose.
Now, smallbeer supports effective anti-drink-driving measures. But there are one or two unintended consequences of these new rules that craft-beer drinkers may find interesting and/or concerning.
I was talking to a local brewmaster today about one of his more powerful beers, and casually asked if there were plans for more products at the imperial end of the ABV spectrum. "The opposite," he replied, "with these new alcohol laws coming out, our strategy will probably shift into more sessionable beers."
The brewmaster in question works at a popular brewpub, which is off the beaten track. Many of the regulars probably have to drive there. A single pint of strong ale is likely to put you into "warning" territory under the new legislation. And when the profit margin on a stronger beer is only slightly higher than a ~5% lager — you can sympathise with the focus on beers that patrons can drink without losing their license.
I expect that these rules will have a minimal effect, but brewpubs in particular will certainly take them into consideration. This could mean a thinning out of local choices when it comes to bigger beers. It might also tempt brewers to tone down existing brews to keep them street-legal.
On the flipside, if driving to pubs becomes less possible — which declining suburbia would also hasten — we might see a growth in smaller, local neighborhood pubs. These pubs will be nestled in communities, they will respond to local needs, and produce and serve quality beers using local ingredients for a discerning clientele who can walk in at anytime to enjoy comradeship and togetherness with their fellow man!
Or possibly we'll all end up drinking at home on our own. In the dark. On the internet.
At least there's no Keno machine in your living room...
Posted by Dan at 10:24 AM