The effects of alcohol have been carefully studied and are well known although not well publicized. Moreover, the National Institute of Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse and the MADD mothers have deliberately ignored this information.
Years ago (1973), a Canadian study was made on just this subject. The Brewers Association of Canada commissioned a 164-page report, Beer, Wine and Spirits: Beverage Differences and Public Policy in Canada, by the Alcoholic Beverage Study Committee, a blue ribbon panel composed of five college professors, and published in English and French. The commission’s real task appeared to be that of supporting the Canadian brewers association in proving that beer is a safer beverage and therefore should be taxed at a lower rate than wine or spirits. The committee did a great job of delving into some other aspects concerning the influence of various types of alcohol beverages. I found the report to be fascinating, and here are some conclusions they reached. It should be noted here that in 1973, the legal BA limit in Canada was 0.08 percent.
Physiological studies show the differences in the rate that alcohol from beer, wine or spirits is metabolized in the bloodstream and brain, e.g., beer “caused the lowest blood alcohol levels; and wine fell in between…(with beer) 22-25 percent lower than straight whisky [their spelling] or whisky and ginger ale…. (These differences in BA levels are not due to dilution, but to) differences in the beverage constituents other than alcohol.”
The same subjects (all male) were each given measured drinks (three different times, one series each of whisky, wine, and beer) based on body weight, with the BA measured every half hour. The results are “statistically significant” and showed:
a) Average BA in whisky drinkers was above 0.1 percent and stayed there for two hours.
b) Beer drinkers were only slightly above 0.08 percent and stayed there for only one hour.
c) This ingestion level was 0.1 (average whisky) and 0.8 (average beer); 25 percent less.
More important, the studies showed that “the resulting differences in psychomotor performance were large and significant…. The degree of impairment….increases to a greater extent than the increase in (BA) levels.”
Furthermore, the studies on accident risks show the same “exponential relationship, (that is,) impairment and risk increase more than in proportion to the increase in BA level…i.e., the same individual, after 3-4 bottles of beer [Canadian beer, 5 percent ABV, was brewed to American standard in those days], will be less impaired than after 3-4 whiskies although both contain approximately the same amounts of alcohol.”
One more little tidbit here: the lower the ratio of extract content to alcohol content, the lower the BA curve after a given amount of alcohol. In other words, craft beer with its higher ratio of non-fermentables to alcohol content is far more beneficial to the would-be drunk than hard liquor, or even “light” or “ultra” beer, none of which existed in those days. It’s the carbs that make it safer! The effect carries over, even to the long-term health effects as well.