Selected Digest – March 2020


March 2020: The Best of the beverage industry.

As we do every month, we have rounded up a selection of the best of the news from the world of drinks: Elephants sucking up the opportunity, And the water was turned into wine, Time to take our medicine, Donald the menace, Thou shalt not drink, Be like Arnie, Alcohol industry heavyweights swing into action ...

The Last Chronicle Before the End

We were used to human catastrophes elsewhere, far away, even very, very far away from the comfortable European continent where nothing too serious happened on a widespread scale, apart from one or two climate calamities, always of secondary importance, as they had the annoying habit of cropping up between a batch or two of mass murder, punctually served up by a heinous and criminal terrorism. Today, the whole planet is terrorized and the heart of the world has almost stopped beating. This is not the work of paltry hooligans ready to die for cosmic ideas beyond their intellects. The world has just suffered a gigantic stroke; it is on its knees and wondering if some observer from the heavens will come to help it back up. The singular character of this epidemic is not its global spread – the spread of Spanish flu and of the plagues that have punctuated our common history was even greater – but the immediacy of its media diffusion and the almost universal emotion it has given rise to at all levels of our societies. Economic globalization has come to a halt, but the world is as one person at an immense wake, weeping for its humanity which had already, long ago, embarked on Charon’s boat, flying down the Styx like an idiot on a bobsleigh because we had become too stupid towards ourselves, too insolent towards nature, animals, the air, the trees, the rain, too negligent towards life in the sea, in the skies, and in the waterways.

Corona, the invisible planet-wide killer, has perhaps come to remind us who we really are and what we must do to bring our humanity back to its rightful place. While we wait for that, the elephants have already felt the wind changing and have turned to one another and said that the time has come to celebrate our demise…

Elephants Sucking Up the Opportunity...

 We alone are responsible for their extinction. As soon as the news of the possible and probable disappearance of the human race from the face of the earth had spread, to celebrate this major event in elephant history, an entire herd of Chinese, pot-bellied pachyderms rushed on a stash of corn wine they had long since sniffed out. Drunk as lords in the morning, they awoke, their trunks smelling strongly of wine, in a tea garden they had wrecked to top things off. What matters here is not knowing why and how the elephants got drunk, but rather to ask ourselves whether, should homo sapiens really go extinct, our betrunked friends might remember the good old methods of wine-making and beer brewing.

And the Water Was Turned into Wine

There is nothing trifling about hearing that miracles are happening here and there in these times of great upheaval. The signs of the end of the world are generally more readable at those times when the bell tolls (whether it rings true or not) for our humanity. And yet, it really is the case that water was turned into wine and flowed freely from all the taps of a small Italian settlement. Before falling to your knees in a state of grace, reading a few articles on the subject may potentially show you that miracles are often just the eldritch interpretation of a straightforward and  unedifying scientific reality.

Donald the Menace

The title for an episode of a series that will never see the light of day... because of pre-emptive competition. It is no longer Donald Trump who is a threat to 100,000 jobs in the French wine sector, but the planet-wide lockdown. French wine is, first and foremost, an export wine. Indeed, France is the top exporter for wine products in terms of value. Given that one of the principal “lockdown” measures is to close down places of public gathering, such as bars, cafés, and restaurants, you don’t need to be a great expert on economic issues to understand that a prolongation of these self-isolating measures all over the world is to be feared more than the fulminating of the current tenant of the White House; however the worst is perhaps yet to come from another, longer lasting, more worrying threat: that of climate change.,8731682.php

Time to Take Our Medicine

We have probably heard it all; it is only in the stale air of the antechamber where the great apocalypse awaits that the charlatan’s voice can ring clear and loud. It seems, according to someone in the know, that downing vodka in one (at least a litre for it to be effective) kills the virus stone dead. It’s also been reported that boiling water, preferably flavoured with tea leaves, knocks that little yob Covid-19 for six. It has been proved, by two totally reliable junkies, that three lines of cocaine immunize you for life against all types of Corona. Holding your breath for 10 seconds without coughing proves that you don’t have the stupid virus... It may well be manifestly (and scientifically) obvious that this list of harebrained remedies will not offer you the slightest protection against the current pandemic, but it is nevertheless clear that the spread of false rumours like these is manifestly more contagious than an army of twelve monkeys infected with a zombie virus.

Thou Shalt Not Drink

If you must drink alcohol, you might as do it properly and with the best quality beverages... as tainted alcohol kills! It’s not the first time we’ve heard this kind of terrifying announcement. Last year, India had to count the cost of contraband alcohol. You will remember too the wave of deaths among American tourists coming back from the Caribbean in their flowered shirts and a body bag. Now, some Iranians have paid a heavy price for a draught of counterfeit alcohol... The worst, perhaps, is knowing that they didn’t quaff the ghastly brew for fun, but to “protect” themselves against Covid-19… The virus remains contagious, but fake news is more contagious still and perhaps just as deadly...

Be Like Arnie

The Governator, at the venerable age of 72, is like a good wine. You might say that age has brought him wisdom in the same measure as his youth offered him muscular might. And Arnie knows his peerless athletic past is unlikely to save him if he catches the virus. With the help of Whisky and Lulu, the “Austrian Oak” is advising caution and telling us how best to protect ourselves from this “nasty flu.” In addition to his incessant calls for people to self-isolate (well before the American president’s U-turn on the subject), we should also remember that Arnie is a fervent climate activist, a great fan of cigars and jacuzzis, and best friend to pet donkeys.

Lockdown and Prohibition

The prefect of Aisne has backtracked after having taken advice from several addiction experts: no, banning alcohol during lockdown will not stop domestic violence. Faced with the fear of seeing acts of family violence, or even femicide, multiply, a number of French government officials judged it necessary to ban sales of “strong” alcohol, such as whisky, during the lockdown. Although the prefect of Aisne reversed his decision, after having consulted experts on this delicate question, local authorities in French Polynesia have upheld their ban.

Alcohol Industry Heavyweights Swing into Action!

After vodka producers warned that consuming their brand of alcohol (excessively or not) provided no curative power against Covid-19, a number of “heavyweights” of the alcoholic drinks and luxury products industry have swung into action to tackle the shortage of disinfectant solution by offering thousands of litres of alcohol to pharmacists and other manufacturers of hand sanitizing gel. A fine example of responsible action from an industry hard hit by the economic impacts of the lockdown.

Viral Stupidity and Nastiness

France has made champagne popular urbi et orbi. From a modest sparkling wine that was only supposed to brighten up the life of a monastery in between masses, French ingenuity has made it the drink for every celebration. Already on life support due to a virus that knows no bounds, the wine-making industry really didn’t need anyone popping up to ask it to beat records for holding its breath with its head plunged into a vat of hydroalcoholic gel. However, that is the “stupid and unacceptable” thing Patrick Rosset did, possibly aggravating a situation considered worrying by many professionals in the field. Patrick Rosset is a sales rep with “Deutz Champagne” and son of that company’s CEO, Fabrice Rosset, who immediately and strongly condemned the offensive attitude of his offspring.

A Facebook post seems to be at the root of the huge outcry from the Chinese public, whose reaction seems to have been to send the “stinking missive” back to sender, in a simple tit for tat. Don’t forget that asking people to “boycott all products from China” is neither appropriate from an economic point of view, nor effective from a scientific one... Let’s hope everyone’s hypogastric rumblings will finally be drowned out by the popping of champagne corks as we celebrate the end of this vile virus.


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