We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
12th Century Londoners put it away, from breakfast onwards. But what about the dread afternoon hangover in the pre-Tylenol era?
Speaking of which, apparently even social boozing damages the brain. That's a damn shame, because it is difficult for anyone to go through life cold sober 24 hrs/day, 7 days a week. We all need some forms of relief from reality, sometimes. But, on the other hand, "No brain, no pain:" a bit of brain damage might be a good thing.
Photo: One of my dutiful wives, bringing me my daily allotment.
One of the things we really do not understand is the amount of alcohol consumption that has gone on in the US since the founding... there are a few good sites which have tried to tease out the data from historical records (census, shipping, and such) and one of the amazing conclusions is: our ancestors were sloshed most of the time.
This site ( http://www.roizen.com/ron/how-good.htm and YMMV) does cite the hard trend from early on of the movement away from hard liquor ethanol consumption to that of beer in the US. As this derives amount of ethanol and utilizes that, and we remember that hard liquor having 40-50% alcohol not being uncommon, while beer at 4-9% is also not uncommon for the era, puts absolute amounts consumed, in gallons, pretty high up. If you consume 4 gallons of ethanol from hard liquor, that is about 8-9 gallons/year of actual beverage consumed. While beer may only account for 2.7 gallons early on, multiply that by 11 or 12 to get the actual amount of beverage and you get the astounding 25 gallons/year. Mind you that is added ON to the hard liquor as this is per capita consumption.
On the societal factor also remember that women were not high users of beer or hard liquor and even wine had its moderate use... thus all those figures need a 2x multiplier as women are non-consumers (by and large) moving the amount men drank, per person, per year to 16-20 gallons of hard liquor and 50 gallons of beer. That circa 1850, and other folks have similar numbers going back to the 18th century.
The steady, decreasing trend and shift from hard liquor to wine and beer is a multi-decade event that was happening before prohibition, and the trend picks right up after prohibition, with only a very moderate decrease in the decade after it. From there on out the shift to beer and wine continues apace, but overall ethanol consumption is way, way down from the 1850's.
Remember, now, the great canals, cities, iron works, rail roads, and such all got initially built in the 19th century with those same, relatively high, amounts of liquor going down. Apparently Americans could not only hold their liquor, ask for more, but also work very hard while consuming same. Just a bunch of wussies today! All that beer and such... can't even knock back a fifth of borboun with two or three flagons of decent beer before they go under the table... and then go to the steel mill for 5 hours before repeating same....