While I am not a member of the anti-neo-prohibitionist movement¹ it is always interesting to consider where drinks, law and health intersect. And interesting it is to compare the approach New York City is taking with sugary soft drinks compared to the harder stuff.
In September, New York City approved an unprecedented measure cracking down on giant sodas, those bigger than 16 ounces, or half a litre. It will take effect in March and bans sales of drinks that large at restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands. Should New York officials start cracking down on tall-boy beers and monster margaritas? There are no plans for that, city health department officials said, adding in a statement that while studies show that sugary drinks are "a key driver of the obesity epidemic," alcohol is not.
I have to say that among the poorer jobs good beer does in explaining itself is how it is not only not like soft drinks it is also not all that much like other strong drinks. Good beer is, in fact, a source of fiber. Unfiltered beer gives you all those good B vitamins. And what about the carbs, that thing we hate but actually need? It is an action packed source of food energy that is nothing like refined alternatives like glucose syrup or even distilled spirits.
Isn't the real problem not that it is not fattening so much as it beer so concentrated with all sorts of goodness we can't keep our hands off of it? It's that old odd equation of (tasty) x (rich micro nutrients) x (energy source) x (hydration) x (hypertension reduction) x (price) = potential for a problem. You wouldn't take ten multi-vitamin pulls, would you? So, if that is the case, maybe the NYC health staff could one day be suggesting one or two a day instead of the soda pop or margarita. And maybe craft brewers should be lobbying for that recognition, branding good beer as liquid salad instead of liquid bread. Or even add a maximum health benefit beer to their line up - thick with yeast and darker malts, lower in alcohol, unfiltered and focused on retaining goodness. What would that beer be like?
¹ ...that "anti-" movement that really has not all that much to be "anti-" against given good beer's modest price, broad availability, generous selection and evident wide social acceptance.