Selected Digest – July 2019

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July 2019: The Best of the beverage industry.

We have, as we do every month, the best of the beverage news right here: the medical world prescribing coffee, contraband alcohol that’s killing en masse, a thirst-stricken France in 2050, a 23-mile-long river of whiskey, wine in cans: the ultimate sacrilege or a challenge to a French way of life?, the woman who always sells (even coffee), and finally a power struggle between wine and GAFA ...

Do You Want to Lose Weight? Drink Coffee!

After having had us going around in circles when it comes to coffee: excess consumption, reasons not to drink it at all, moderate consumption, its ill-effects, etc. the medical world is now falling over itself to recommend what it previously warned against. The truth is that coffee is good for human beings, a blessing from the Abyssinian heights. Only the English, as is their wont, will claim the contrary ...

For that matter, it is said by those in the know that the British Empire imported tea solely to foil those French frogs’ and Italian blowhards’ plans for world domination. From an entirely neutral point of view, both drinks have the same properties; tip of the day: drink coffee or tea at the right temperature – it’s good for you!

Contraband Alcohol is a Killer!

In one of our articles, we told the tale of a massacre caused by counterfeit alcohol in India, with more than 150 deaths. In the very popular tourist destination of the Dominican Republic, a series of tragic deaths among American tourists has raised the alarm at the FBI. Although counterfeit alcohol is very often the cheap, but very risky, expedient of the broke alcoholic, when it strikes well-to-do-tourists partaking of a glass or two in the hotels or bars of this small Caribbean paradise, contraband alcohol becomes a dangerous serial killer.

A corked wine detector is already in existence; it would certainly be a good idea to have a reliable device to guarantee the integrity of branded alcoholic drinks at our disposal as quickly as possible ... and that’s not just a matter of taste!

Sweet France 2050: Water Resources in Danger

“Our house is burning down and we are looking the other way,” said Jacques Chirac during one of his prophetic visions ... well, that was in a different time. Today, it is 2050, and France is dry. The Gulf Stream has disappeared, causing great climate upheaval in a country formerly known for its mildest of climates ... The water tables are dropping, the country suffers scorching summers and Siberian winters on a yearly basis; experts from the hottest regions of the African continent are commissioned to help French farmers adapt ...

People are learning to save water by washing with less than 5 litres, “Djibouti-style,” using the “jug iyo baldi” technique. A delegation from Djibouti is also the guest of honour at the great energy fair, on the theme of making good use of air conditioning units ... This may seem ridiculous to us today, but when you see one, then two, then three “heatwaves” strike in the same year ... that’s not a spell of freak weather – it’s a change in the climate that is settling in for the long-haul.

Fine Wine Theft ... A Lucrative Bit of Bootlegging

Apparently, the value of the first-rate wines stolen from a renowned restaurant near the Arc de Triomphe was between 400,000 and 600,000 euros. And it was through a hole measuring just 50 cm that the crook slipped into one of the most prestigious cellars in all Paris. We just have to hope that the thief knows how to appreciate a good vintage or that he has an appropriate concealed cellar to receive the grandest of grands crus.

Fish Dead-Drunk on Whiskey

A 23-mile-long “river” of Jim Beam poured into a Kentucky waterway. Following a fire at one of its warehouses, which contained the equivalent of 45,000 barrels of bourbon, the famous distillery found itself faced with a major environmental disaster: hundreds of fish were found dead, floating on the surface of a tributary of the Ohio, completely “intoxicated.” Jim Beam has made a commitment to reduce the impact of the ongoing environmental disaster. Any surviving fish who may have developed a taste for the beverage are encouraged to go to rehab ...

Another Can of Wine for You?

If putting water in your wine is considered, in France, as a transgression bordering on heresy, drinking wine from a can will be seen as true sacrilege ... Nonetheless, on the other side of the Atlantic, where the vice of junk food first raised its ugly head, there, where any and all outrages against the French way of life are permitted, the benefits of wine in cans are being looked into ... but not for any “illogical and fascinating” French reasons. It’s easy to see many practical and environmental advantages, and the spirit of that “way of life,” governing the mores and customs of the world’s most beautiful country, is seen as “vainglorious and pedantic Frenchness” among the Anglo-Saxons, who are more used to living their lives according to more practical rules.

“Wine is not fizzy pop!” a good French citizen will declare with grandiosity, conscious of honouring, in his or her own way, the Gallo-Roman heritage of the terracotta amphora. It is because of these much-revisited historical considerations, greatly magnified by the French genius for words and grand, forceful declarations, that the French would always rather drink the worst plonk from a real glass bottle than sup a fine vintage from a silly aluminium can. Having a revolution and cutting the royal family’s heads off is one thing; ridding yourself once and for all of “serf” syndrome is another. Feudalism lives on in the mind ... It is noticeable that the French often gush with admiration for traditions linked to historical nobility, even when they are stupid and old-fashioned, and show disastrous contempt for any gifted genius who shows signs of arising from the common stock. The French will always cast a baleful eye on any member of the hoi polloi who succeeds in those domains assumed to be the preserve of his or her betters.

A Commedia dell’Arte that Will One Day Turn Sour

What is there to brag about? Italy finds itself at the head of a ranking whose wording is rather questionable and convoluted ... The article itself acknowledges that there is nothing to crow about: France is still the country with the best wines. Except, what is forgotten, in this very European and ethnocentric viewpoint, is that China, South Africa, Armenia, New Zealand, some southern US states, and parts of Latin America are “slowly but surely” climbing the final steps to one day rejuvenate the eternal podium where, like the statues of undeposable emperors, the oldest wine nations, such as France and Italy, are enthroned ...

It’s a bit like karate: the Japanese invented it, but champions singing the Kimigayo on the top step of the Olympic podium are a rare sight these days ... A sign of things to come? No: “we will win because we are the mightiest.”

The Woman Who (Always) Sells

When an adman is tired, when he has run out of inspiration, when depression has set in or drug abuse has scrambled his grey matter, there is a “magic” formula that offers a way out of the creative impasse: take the most charming of feminine charms and associate them with the product you want to sell. Whether we like it or not, we are still mammals, all too susceptible to “animal” instincts, whatever triggers them. So, how better to sell and serve coffee than with a half-naked barista? Why hasn’t such a “formula” become the general rule for all the products we consume? It must be because of jealous husbands, (male) defenders of women’s rights, unemployed men no longer eligible for benefits, ugly, envious women, fathers whose honour has been tarnished, but above all because of the obtuse stubbornness of narrow-minded legal practitioners suffering from pathological prudishness ...

The result being that women who sell will have to put their clothes back on and (inevitably) find a new job. If you have bought and drunk a coffee that tasted like old socks, just because it was served by a scantily clad playmate, either you have fallen several rungs down the evolutionary ladder or you have quite simply been the victim of an old trick trotted out by an adman in search of inspiration.

“Over the Top” or the Power Struggle of the Last Dinosaurs

A few days ago, we were celebrating the most incredible event in the history of humanity. Fifty years ago, half a million people, working together with a single purpose for some ten years, made it possible for a man to walk on the moon. Back then, people thought that by 2020 we would have flying cars, there would be cruises to Mars, and police officers, instead of killing themselves every few days, would be busy undertaking large-scale investigations into missing cats or dogs. Alas, no ... That future, the future of dreams and fantasies, does not yet exist and probably never will. Whose fault is that? No one’s. It’s just that, believe it or not, nations are born and die, like people. Humanity too, having aged badly, is sliding into a sort of slow and certain regression.

Idiocracy, Mike Judge and Etan Cohen’s now “cult” film was a commercial flop in its time; people left darkened cinemas with a sense of unease, unsure how to laugh at it ... it left us with the image, akin to a subliminal reflection of a temporal hyperconsciousness, of a future that was almost within reach. During the last fraught century, we knew how to relax, even when the strategic stakes were high; tomorrow you will find yourself with twenty nuclear missiles heading your way for a misplaced tweet or a clammy handshake. The worst thing is that re-watching

Idiocracy now isn’t funny at all ... it foresaw our supreme fall from grace in less than 500 years.


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