‘Drink less, drink well’ is a common-sense approach towards alcohol that we strongly support here at Blue Mountains Gin Company.

In our view, moderate tippling of good quality alcoholic drinks – for example, delectable craft gins  – equates to ‘drinking well’. Consuming liquor in this way can be fun, friendly and responsible. More isn’t always better, as those who’ve had a hangover will attest.

People’s drinking habits and the impacts on society are explored in an intriguing new article in the American publication, The Atlantic, with implications for Australia and the many other countries where alcohol is widely consumed. Kate Julien, a senior editor with the magazine, claims that both heavy drinking and ‘worrying about how heavily other Americans are drinking’ are ongoing trends in the United States.

Since colonial times, these reactive trends have ebbed and flowed inversely against each other, as a sort of ying-yang of boozing culture. Americans, says Julien, tend to drink excessively and also ‘become judgemental about almost any drinking at all’.

Again and again, an era of overindulgence begets an era of renunciation: Binge, abstain. Binge, abstain. Right now we are lurching into another of our periodic crises over drinking, and both tendencies are on display at once.

Rising U.S. alcohol consumption before and during the pandemic raises questions such as ‘how much is too much?’ – to which the Atlantic article offers a fascinating response. This hinges on a viewpoint that how, where and with whom you drink is as crucial as the amount you consume.

The piece outlines recent research implying that communal alcohol drinking has been – and still is – an important factor in binding cohesive societies. By spiking pleasurable endorphins and suppressing inhibitions, alcohol breaks down barriers and fosters bonding.

Over time, groups that drank together would have cohered and flourished, dominating smaller groups—much like the ones that prayed together. Moments of slightly buzzed creativity and subsequent innovation might have given them further advantage still. In the end, the theory goes, the drunk tribes beat the sober ones.

The argument is actually pretty subtle and can’t be fully conveyed here, so go to the online article linked above if you want the full picture.

Whatever the theory’s merits, we like the underlying acceptance that alcohol is a fixture in many societies and the challenge, as the old songs says, is to ‘accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives’. To us, this means drinking with a focus on quality, not quantity; aiming for relaxation and pleasure, and doing so in good company. Here’s to that …

Let’s accentuate the positives of alcohol