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COUNTERPOINT: Put nutritional information on my booze! I double-dog dare you.

Written by Dylan Jesse
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While there are many things to agree with in a recent post by my esteemed fellow Hammer Sarah Szabo, I must raise an important objection: I SAY PUT THOSE LABELS ON MY BOOZE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. I’ll articulate my dissent numerically, since that seems to be what you Internet kids like these days:

1. Never have I read those labels seriously.

I know that most of whatever I can scrape enough pocket change to afford to shove into my grocery hole will not be the epitome of nutritional excellence. I know that my diet is made of the nightmares of dietitians everywhere, but I’m fine with that because that’s not a real profession. I’m about the business of living, not some proscriptive notion of “living well.” It might be semantics, but it seems like I’m on the winning side of our mutually bleak history.

2. Those labels are nonsense.

It’s not like nutritional labels are hard-and-fast declarations of what is in the poor choices you’re using to satiate your sad, sad hunger at three in the morning. It’s a battle ground, and there is enough dissent about what to include and how to include it that none of us can so much as muster the interest to jump into the fray and sort it out. I say that if we can’t even sort out whether or not to bother indicating how much sugar is added separate from the total amount of sugar in any given product, then why ought we worry about the “nutritional” content of hooch?

3. Even if I do read them, how will that stop me?

Let’s lay it all out in the open here: the only time we’ll be within reading-distance of a detailed label is when we’re drinking in our own sacred homes. And even then, we know what we bought and we bought it for a damn good reason: it was available and we were in no mood to go to bed sober. The inclusion of “nutritional” information is at best a well-intentioned effort to keep us going at peak fitness for another terrible, turgid day; and at worst, it’s another intrusion into the last legal realm of iniquity we have to explore just to get a few moments away from the troubles that plague our day-to-day lives.

No one embraces the calm, non-judgmental curves of the bottle and then says “but how many calories does this have? I have to get ready for beach season!” At least no one who deserves to be among our noble ranks. If you hear that in public (or any variation thereof), I can guarantee you that it will be either someone who ends text messages with hash tags, someone who uses “YOLO” unironically, some dude named Chad, or they will be wearing cargo shorts. That’s just science, folks.

So put nutritional labels on my bottles. I’ll gladly ignore them while I crack a fifth and drop some more Top Ramen in the pot. And I won’t remember a goddamn thing from either of those little Excel spreadsheets-turned-advice-givers. Waste your time in designing them while I take that finely finished product out to my deck, look up to the clear night sky, and say “Ahhh…this is exactly what this night called for. Thank you, alcohol.”

And if you have (and I stress the word have) to count calories for whatever medical reason, then look at the damn label. Otherwise, let it slip into the sweet oblivion where every other nutritional label in your cupboard resides. You might look at it out of curiosity, but you’re not here for nutrition–you’re here to enjoy your time on this Earth.

So put those labels on, and watch with smug indifference as we ignore them. They may be useful to some, and those people can read the information if they need to. For the rest of us, we won’t pay a lick of attention and we’ll be just as happy as before to tip that bottle and fix ourselves another drink without another thought.

But Sarah makes some good points. They should probably keep that nonsense off of our bottles.


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About the author

Dylan Jesse

Dylan is a freelance writer and general itinerant who now lives in what may very well be a some kind of hippie commune, but which has an official beer sponsor (thanks, Montucky Cold Snacks!). He has many thoughts on what you can do with your flavored vodkas, and none of them include drinking. He occasionally accosts ducks in public places, so please do not be alarmed if you see him doing this. They know what they did.

They know.

If you know of any breaking news or troubling rumors that should be brought to the unfocused attention of the drinking masses, write him a letter and include a SASE to [email protected]

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  • If I am struck over the head with a bottle, or if I fall down upon a bottle, then there is an extra later of paper protection before my head contacts the glass. Bring on the labels!

  • [UPDATE] An ill wind is being blown at small-time brewers: the TTB and nutritional information. - The Brutal Hammer of Truth says:

    […] beers. Fellow Hammer Sarah Szabo wrote about this looming issue last year (which prompted this counterpoint), but what we have here might just be more sinister than a good-will gesture of transparency by […]