Tag Archives: science

Past Becomes Present

I have been hoping something like this would happen. I’ve been posting stories for years about beer or wine that’s been salvaged from shipwrecks, and about scientists looking at those beverages.

Taking data from those drinks can illuminate how human beings have impacted our environment.

BUT. There’s this Very Cool Thing where we get to play with yeasts from decades ago, and see how those yeasts impacted the food and drink of the day, and I’m psyched to try them.

I know we’ve been drinking a lot these days…

…but what surprises and disturbs me is how, relatively speaking, we’re not drinking much more than we tend to in a typical year.

Research done at the University of Victoria suggests that the average person in BC has had between five and ten more drinks a month in 2020 than the 2012-2019 average. Drinking spiked in March (unsurprisingly), dipped in April, and has gone up consistently until July (the last month for which the researchers have data). But again–not as much as I was expecting.

What is shocking to me, though? Those numbers represent “estimates of per capita monthly standard drinks of total alcohol consumption” for everybody in the province aged 15 and older. To put it in other words: if a standard drink is ~a 12 oz. beer at 5% alcohol, that means that in July 2020, it’s estimated that every single person in BC aged 15 or older drank the equivalent of fifty beers in the month of July. Which is, again, just slightly higher than the average of per capita monthly standard drinks of total alcohol consumption since 2012.

Fifty drinks is approximately two beers a night. Or two glasses of wine. Or two shots. Which is not bad.

But then you remember that the drinking age in BC is 19. And, of course, not everyone drinks fifty drinks a month; I’m probably at a third of that this month.

So spare a thought for those whose drinking keeps the average per capita that high in a regular year.