Vice Squad
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Two Items Almost Related to US Temperance History

Alcohol and Drugs History Society provides pointers to two stories about drinking in America. The first is the news that George Washington's still has been reconstructed on its original site, and has begun producing whiskey. Visitors can purchase a taste, too, though one shouldn't expect anything, well, palatable, from the unaged fire water. The reconstruction of the Washington distillery was financed by the Distilled Spirits Council. This industry group has developed a Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing, which includes (among other things) rules for not targeting or appealing to the underage in alcohol ads, and not marketing drinks through associations with sexual prowess. Their semi-annual report featuring ads challenged under the rules and the responses to the challenges makes for fairly fascinating reading. Here (32-page pdf) is the most recent (July-December 2006) report.

Oh yeah, the temperance connection: The temperance society that shot through the US like a comet in the 1840s (with a template paralleled by Alcoholics Anonymous 90 years later) was named after the distillery-owning George Washington.

The other story concerns ice cream sundaes. Why are they called sundaes? The term apparently derives from Sundays. But what is an ice cream Sunday? It's an ice cream soda of the type that you consume on a Sunday. Why don't you consume standard ice cream sodas on Sundays? Because soda water is sometimes used as a mixer with alcohol, so its sale on Sundays had to be proscribed, of course. (Here is the book from which this information is drawn, according to the linked article.)

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