That seems to be the logic - that super strong beer is the new highway to hell. The Government of Alberta is adding a surcharge to stop kids and other sorts of vulnerable Albertans from drinking a class of beer they, frankly, never intended to drink... or, more likely, were even aware existed:
In order to bring high alcohol content beer in line with other high alcohol products, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) has decided to apply mark-up rates to new stock or products coming into the province. The rates vary from $4.05 for beer with an alcohol content of 11.9% to 16%, to $13.30 for beer greater than 22% and less than 60%. They are not applied retro-actively to products currently in stores. Jim Pettinger, purchasing manager of Edmonton's Sherbrooke Liquor store, said the markups are rational, but will affect the cost of strong beer, which is already expensive to begin with.
I guess in Alberta "rational" is a euphemism for irrational. Its aim is apparently binge drinking but does it affect the binge drinkers of Alberta? First, how many beers are there out there that have an alcohol content greater than 22% and less than 60%? I am not asking how many brands - I am asking how many separate bottles. [The government admits in pdf there are only 12 brands over 11%.] Of those bottles, how many get to Alberta? Maybe 300 a year... maybe? How many ounces of pure alcohol do they represent? Maybe 1,000... maybe?
Are they the wickedest ounces of alcohol in the province? Hardly the most accessible let along binge worthy. Don't the members of the Alberta Liquor Store Association sell far cheaper ounces of alcohol in less swanky formats? If one considers the selection...again in pdf... available, say, at the delicately named Liquor Barn of Calgary you will see that 17 bucks or so gets you are 26 ounces of rum or a whole 10 ounces of pure alcohol. So, to buy the equivalent alcohol content of the entire annual stock of super strong beer might cost you a mere $1,700 annually or $34 bucks weekly for that hundred bottles of rum - enough to keep you pretty blotto every second day. Does the Government of Alberta tax rum accordingly, tax it to protect Albertans against the misuse of rum? No, it doesn't. It is priced to provide easy access.
How is this rational? Forget about those slightly worn arguments about personal liberty and autonomy. How does this address in any way any practical policy goals related to the real issues of alcohol consumption, health and safety? It simply doesn't.