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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beer and civilization

George F. Will --that's correct, George F. Will-- wrote an oped piece today about beer, and in a refreshingly positive manner.

Published at the Washington Post, it begins with the story of the potential sale of Anheuser-Busch to InBev.

Mr. Will goes from there to address how human civilization began because of beer (really). And how beer functioned as an evolutionary gene-pool-strengthener (really!). And that beer is a health food (again, really!).

Without commenting on the accuracy of the above comments, I should point out that there were two was one definite factual error(s):

  • InBev is the world's largest brewer, not number two as Will erroneously states (that position is held by SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch being merely the third largest in the world).

    I should check my facts first. Will is correct. SABMiller moved ahead in early 2008, with Heineken at #3 and A-B at #4. But if the InBev purchase of A-B does go through, then InBev will be #1, by far. (Figures, by sales volume, from Reuters.)

  • Benjamin Franklin did NOT say that "Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy." (He did say something like that, but in reference to wine.)
Will recovers though, concluding with a deliciously felicitous turn-of-phrase:

Or, less judgmentally, and for secular people who favor a wall of separation between church and tavern, beer is evidence that nature wants us to be.

Survival of the Sudsiest
By George F. Will
Thursday, July 10, 2008; Page A15
Washington Post

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