A quick rant about Dry July
I encountered no fewer than three wine professionals today who are all on the Dry July bandwagon (what is Dry July you ask? more information here, but essentially it’s a month long movement to refrain from drinking alcohol in the name of charity) all happily drinking water and abstaining in the name of the cause (the cause being that of supporting cancer victims. It’s a great cause by the way, no doubting that, I’m not quibbling with anything on the charity side).
From my seat though, I’ve got to say that I’m no fan of Dry July, purely because I’ve got a philosophical issue with the concept itself (and not just because I work in the liquor industry).
More specifically, I’m not comfortable with the associations perpetuated by this boom/bust, drink/abstain philosophy, of the belief that you either drink to excess or you don’t drink at all, of the ‘need’ for a dry month and the likely ‘wet’ month that will follow. Couple that with slogans such as ‘clear your head, make a difference’ and you’ve got to say that it paints a very dark picture of drinking all together.
Now I’m not about to deny the problems that Australia has with alcohol as I’ve seen the stats (and it’s hard not to see the ugly side of booze on any given Saturday night in a major city) but I just can’t see how a month of encouraging people not to drink does anything more than postpone the issues for a few weeks (before it returns with a bang).
As Kendall Hill basically outlines here, the answer is that we need to embrace a message of moderation, that encouraging a dry/wet culture will only continue to fuel the binge drinking problems that are such an issue, and that we instead need to examine the way we drink.
I’d like to stress that I’m not trying to take a puritanical stance here, as big nights are part of my gig (and I’m a booze peddler after all), but anyone can see that the ‘drink in moderation’ message needs more emphasis, and that it would be in everyone’s best interest to drink less but better.
As a result, I’m calling for a ‘Drink Less But Better July’ – a movement that embraces fine wine, craft beer, top spirits and fortifieds (anything decent and boozy), all of which are drunk only in moderation. Of spending more because you’re drinking less. Of making drinking a contemplative sport rather than a competitive one.
Who’s with me?