2 Beer Guys Blog

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Debate on lower drinking age bubbling up



The debate over the legal drinking age is again a hot topic, enough so that it is the lead story on MSNBC.com right now (thank you to hops for providing the link).

...“Raising the drinking age to 21 was passed with the very best of intentions, but it’s had the very worst of outcomes,” said David J. Hanson, an alcohol policy expert at the State University of New York-Potsdam. “Just like during national Prohibition, the law has pushed and forced underage drinking and youthful drinking underground, where we have no control over it.”...
Having been born in a country where the legal drinking age is 18, I can definitely see the advantages of having a drinking age of 18. It can easily be argued that 18+ year olds are drinking whether the law permits them or not, and having laws in place that prohibit that are, as the article points out, driving them 'underground'.

The drinking climate in England is such that, well, it's not that big a deal to go out and have a couple pints. Here, there is this huge stigma attached to drinking like it's this highly dangerous and immorale activity. Granted, the effects of alcohol have been well-documented, but in light of the fact that it's a prevalent activity among college students, is it not better to provide a society in which they are not forced to hide in basements and 'have a few drinks because its cool'. Fact is, I enjoy beer, because of its subtleties and nuances, and how, with few exceptions, no two beers are the same. I'm not condoning underage drinking here, so don't misinterpret my words.

Additionally, with the military service age being at 18, I find it a little peculiar that the government sees fit to send its young men and women overseas to fight a war, but doesn't see fit to permit them to enjoy a nice, hopefully craft, beer.

8 Comments:

  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 4:24:00 PM EDT, Blogger 2 Beer Guys-Sean said…

    I found this article very interesting.

    85 percent of 20-year-old Americans reported that they had used alcohol. Two out of five said they had binged — that is, consumed five or more drinks at one time — within the previous month.


    To me, this proposal makes sense. Its strange that you can move out of the house at 18, rent or by an house but can't drink for three more years.

    Yeah, it's unrealistic... but possible. Heck... You could be running your own business at 18 and be making millions..

    Would the change make alcohol more prevelant in HS?

    Probablly not and for two reasons. First, because it's already there. (Open up your eyes and smell the hops). Second, because parents typically have more control over a 16 year old vs an 18 year old.

    I do like the idea of the drinking school proposal.. that's similar to drivers education.

    I don't see this ever changing, but if it did, I could see the following...

    * No alcohol at school events or school grounds.
    * No alcohol during a school week. (If someone comes to school hung over.. then they should be sent to gym class to run 5 miles.)
    * Bars only serving those 21 or above, unless with a parent/guardian.

    Sean

     
  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 4:28:00 PM EDT, Blogger Hops said…

    I think this will have a definite effect on the craft brew industry. If kids can drink at 18 or 19…that’s way more people of legal drinking age out and about it bars…but they aren’t going to want to go to places that have a great tap selection (cow for example, or cbc or places like that) kids don’t want the kind of food they serve and they aren’t going to want to shell out 4-8 bucks for a pint. They’ll want to go somewhere you can get a bucket of bud for 6.50. so…places like the cow will get busier I think, cause people will want to avoid a lot more places now. Plus, gotta tell ya, with 19 years old out drinking and driving I will be spending A LOT more time at home…so the sale of craft beer will probably increase, as I must assume I am not the only one who will think like this. And to piggyback on this point…this might bring homebrew to a whole new level because if you’re drinking craft beer at home more, I think a lot more people will feel compelled to brew there own.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 4:44:00 PM EDT, Blogger Hops said…

    And to piggyback on another point….places like the cow and cbc might feel more apt to provide better, hoppier beers…arrogant bastard…hops is a def. acquired taste…and business owners are probably going to want to attract older crowds who have more money and less liability (if you over serve a patron, they drive drunk and its found that you have been negligent in your decision to cut someone off, charges may be brought on you. Kids with no tolerance for alcohol don’t know how to control it or when to stop…ya know. And business owners may not want the liability.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 5:34:00 PM EDT, Blogger Black_Kat said…

    I'd like to know where the information is from 30 years ago when you were able to legally drink in states like New York. I know my parents were both able to drink at 18 and it didn't to screw them up too badly.

    I agree with the statement that half of the reason kids in college drink is because its "cool" and it's only "cool" because they aren't supposed to do it. I think if they were allowed to drink and taught their limits they wouldn't drink nearly as much. At least, thats the way I was. I know that I used to drink more than I should when I was underage (because it was "cool") but as soon as I was 21 the novelty wore off and now I don't really care either way. I might have 1 or 2 drinks every now but I do it to enjoy a yummy drink and not with the intent to get drunk.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 8:03:00 PM EDT, Blogger Curley Stout said…

    some of us oldsters knew people a few years ahead of them in HS who were able to drink at 18 in NY the year before the law changed. Pretending 18-21 yr olds don't drink is naive. it's about as effective as teaching abstinence. I wholeheartedly agree that making something taboo only increases the desire for it. Treating 18-21 year olds like they're still kids only prolongs adolescent behavior, whereas learning a healthy respect for alcohol at an earlier age might reduce binge drinking to some extent. At the least, I doubt it would increase it.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 10:09:00 PM EDT, Blogger hefeweizen_hunny said…

    I must say that I agree with the reasoning that the stigma around drinking and it being "bad" is the reason that underage drinking IS such an epidemic. If it wasn't so taboo, then there would be no cause for it to be placed in with other acts of rebellion. Let's face it...that's all it really is.
    Being a christian myself, sometimes I sound like a turncoat when I say things like what I'm about to say, but I know it's the "right-wingers" in this country that have made it into a bigger deal than what it is. Presenting alcohol as bad or evil is what gives it it's appeal. If the mystery is removed from around it, it would no longer be viewed as "forbidden fruit" and could be seen for what it is: something to be enjoyed responsibly and in moderation.
    Anything can be abused and misused if it's allowed to be. Money can be squandered and cars can be irresponsibly driven. Yet kids in their teens can get jobs and bank accounts and driver's licenses are granted to kids at 16 and 17. The key is proper education in responsible attitudes and early exposure to something is part of every day life. Sure, driving recklessly is "bad" but we do have measures by which we educate to teach potentional drivers of the consequences of irresponsibility behind the wheel. Why not for alcohol? Why do we only have programs to help those who are already out of control? What happened to prevention?
    So, in my opinion, if we as a nation are truely concerned about the ramifications of lowering the age limit for drinking, perhaps we should not look solely at what could happen if we do, but what could happen if we do with out proper preventive measures (i.e. alcohol education on proper use) in place.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 10:13:00 PM EDT, Blogger hefeweizen_hunny said…

    P.S. Hot topic, Ian.

     
  • At Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 8:48:00 PM EDT, Blogger lion29 said…

    I agree with the previous post that underage drinking is as big as it is because it means rebellion. Teens love to be rebelious. The other point that was made that i liked was with the whole responsibility thing. IF they are old enough to operate a motor vehicile then they should be responsible if they could drink at 18. If someone can go to war get shot and when he comes home he cant even havea drink.

     

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