Liquor sales trend upwards along with COVID-19

My fellow inebriates,

BC’s government has included booze stores on its list of essential services and it seems shoppers agree. Booze sales are up 40% since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Not only that—buying patterns have changed.


D2003 liquor sales trends

Bigger is better these days.

Fortunately there’s plenty of booze on the shelves, so we’re not seeing toilet-paper-style fights. But there’s a slight air of panic in my local booze store as we customers position ourselves two metres apart and transact through a plexiglass shield. No wonder we feel like drinking.

PHILLIPS BLUE BUCK ALE—The missing part of Family Day

My Fellow Inebriates,

What’s not to love about British Columbia’s inaugural PR-driven Family Day?

family dayThe day off work/school? For my dad it’s not much of a day off; all day long his phone continues to ring. For my mum, it’s more of an extra day on, given that everybody’s home. And for me it’s just terrifying. In addition to P & V running apeshit through the house, we also have their cousins C & R accompanied by Auntie H and Uncle B (who don’t know I call them that). It’s Family Day, so the family is together—whether it frightens bears or not.

My mum has already screwed up by suggesting a family bowling outing and then failing to call the bowling alley in time to book a lane. Every freaking family in Langley thought of bowling before her, so every alley for miles is booked all day. One idea per day is about my mum’s limit, so everybody’s at LBHQ, doing family things.

Even if bowling’s not on the menu, the kids are happy. Happy, that is, without turning their attention to yours truly. Instead, Auntie H has decided to examine me and ask, “Have you ever put him in the washing machine?”

“No,” says Mum. “He has only two brain cells; if he came out with just one he couldn’t write his blog.”

Says Auntie H, “R’s bunny has been in the wash tons of times. You could put LB in. If you used the gentle cycle and a delicates bag…”

And my mother says: “Hmmm.”

Hmmmmm!! OMFG, my fellow inebriates, it’s fine to love your family but you have to draw the line somewhere. This is the part where Mum should be kicking Auntie H and her brood out, don’t you think? But she is still reflecting:

“His ass is full of beans; they’d never dry out.”

“Bunny’s full of beans,” says Auntie H. “He does fine in the wash.”


pope-benedict-xvi-feb-2013-2Meanwhile, Uncle B is obviously not well. He looks like he’s fighting something off. He declines lunch, he looks tired, and only when my mum starts bitching about the pope’s resignation does he get a little animated. Mum is incensed that the Catholic Church’s head honcho, chosen by God and ordained to die in the saddle, would resign. She sees it as a big PR attempt to give Catholicism a makeover by allowing a pope with a chequered past to exit stage left before any more of his dirty underwear gets exposed. Whereas Uncle B and I think it might be good for Catholicism, and that flouting 600 years of tradition might be a sign of increasing adaptability to a modern world. To which my mum says, “The church doesn’t adapt.”

When you’ve attended a high school that once made you spend all day being a human rosary bead for a “living prayer” ceremony, you might carry this impression of the Catholic Church. But I’m hanging with Uncle B on this one—it might be good for the Vatican. If the Catholic Church gets the opportunity to revamp itself, it should take it. Pope Benedict is super-creepy—a real cosmetic liability that’s only going to get worse as whatever age-related condition he hasn’t disclosed deteriorates in his dotage.

But here’s where my solidarity with Uncle B ends. Get this: he’s allergic to alcohol. I didn’t even know this was a real thing until I googled it. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body is unable to break down alcohol. The only way to prevent alcohol intolerance is to avoid alcohol altogether.”

Holy crap, what kinds of people have alcohol intolerance? People with the gene ADH2*2, which produces a highly active form of alcohol dehydrogenase that tends to discourage heavy drinking. The gene is common among Ashkenazi Jews like Uncle B. Symptoms include flushing, racing heart, and a mean game of chess.

Which meant the beer didn’t flow this afternoon at LBHQ. We had to break it out later. No harm done…just minor DTs…

phillips blue buckAnd the beer? Once again, from our Phillips sampler pack: BLUE BUCK ALE. Once again, 5% alcohol, but we won’t hold that against it. The color is amber-brown with a light cream head. The nose is hoppy and slightly floral with some bready notes and background fruit in moderation. On the palate it packs middle-of-the-road satisfaction, middling mouthfeel, and a good mix of malt and hops—some toffee if you’re concentrating. Nothing overly complex going on here: just a damn fine beer.

Family Day would have been better if the family had got into the BLUE BUCK about eight hours earlier than they did. After all that talk of washing machines, I needed a beer. I say to R’s bunny, however many times it’s been through the wash, You’re a stronger animal than I am. Too bad you live with teetotalers.