My Fellow Inebriates,
Our whole family sucks at bookkeeping, so tax time is a real slog. Just recently my dad collapsed his decade-old business to go over to the corporate dark side, which is great for predictability and creating a beer budget, but leaves him with the task of tying off loose ends. We have a jumble of paperwork to organize if we truly want to give all the nuttiness of self-employment the heave-ho. As we go through our business-related assets we’re flipping a bunch of them face-down like Monopoly properties, which is depressing yet liberating.
At least for my parents. For me there’s a bottom line hanging at the end of all this nasty mathematics. What’s our booze budget going to be?
Based on 2008 figures, the average Canadian household spends 1.8% of its income on alcohol (in the U.S.it’s 1% because prices are lower and there’s less excise tax).
THIS DOESN’T SEEM LIKE VERY MUCH!
Consider this breakdown for Canadian and U.S.households:
Wow! There must be some areas we can trim and/or reallocate to the alcohol category.
- I can’t do anything about housing or the car, but maybe we can choose our food more carefully. Arguably Guinness is a food. Let’s commit to having Guinness at every meal and thereby reallocate 4%.
- What about recreation/entertainment? What do they consider alcohol if not that? We should lump alcohol with recreation/entertainment. It’s not like we do anything entertaining anyway. We don’t even go to the movies. Let’s borrow 5% or so from recreation/entertainment for alcohol. That puts us up to 10.8%.
- As for clothing, I’m happy to remain naked, but the thought of my parents strolling around the house with their gear showing is…beyond the pale flabbiness…
- No getting around health care, but what is personal care? Correct me if I’m wrong, but a proper drunk doesn’t go in for personal hygiene and such. Let’s take 2% of that for alcohol. Ahhh, we’re getting somewhere: 12.8%.
- Too bad about education. While my parents won’t be dipping into this fund again, with their hodgepodge educational attainments just sufficient to make them obnoxious at bookstores, the kids will be hitting the family up for university in a dozen years. Yikes…would it be so wrong to take a tiny bit of that for…sigh.
- But look! Miscellaneous is my kind of category. The best kind of miscellany occurs at the liquor store. Adding 2.6%, which gives us 15.4%…looking better.
- And here’s another useful category for our purposes: tobacco. It’s useful because we don’t use it—I’d love to take on another vice but I’m afraid of catching fire. Score another 1.2%, bringing us to 16.6%.
- Lastly, reading. I mentioned my parents are obnoxious at bookstores. They ask for weird books and special orders. They hate borrowing books; they like to fondle their own for an unlimited time, dog-earing and coffee-ringing the pages. Plus there’s my dad’s Audible account—with a two-hour daily commute it takes him no time to burn through a narrated book.
So that’s that, my fellow inebriates. Budgeting carefully, we should be able to elevate the standard Canadian liquor expenditure of 1.8% to a more reasonable 16.6% at LBHQ.
If you ask me (and nobody has) our first purchase should be INNIS & GUNN OAK AGED BEER. Billed as a smooth Scottish beer with hints of toffee, vanilla, and oak, this fine product leapt off our local booze shop’s shelf when my dad went on his recent onesie spree. Of the miscellany he brought home it was the most delightful brew—the sort of ale we could all have fought to the death for if we had a bit more energy, and a lovely contrast to some of the weird things my dad bought that day.
Brownish amber with a finger (for those of you who have them) of off-white foam and some feisty carbonation, INNIS & GUNN OAK AGED BEER sidles up to your olfactory centre like it’s known you all its life. Psssst, it urges—caramel…toffee…early-morning bakery…oak…Scotch malt—and blammo! It has you by the short fur, caressing your senses with its whisky redolence. This beer has stunning complexity. The notes aren’t unplaceable; instead they conjure up scented memories of highlands, lowlands, peat and damp. INNIS & GUNN has you at smell, but wait until you sip, because that’s when it really grabs you under the kilt.
Yes, those toffee hints pay off in a complicated, balanced, malty, buttery symphony and an achingly beautiful oak-tinged finish. It was a crime that we had only one INNIS & GUNN bottle, people, and that my parents shared it between them. And the alcohol? Damn fine at 6.6%.
Following my new financial plan I’m recommending we earmark funds for at least 10 cases of this fine Scottish ale and I suggest all my fellow inebriates do the same—as long as you don’t clean out my liquor store.
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