How would any one society, such as America, measure the importance of beer? Or probably, it is more correct to say Malt Beverages, now.
The obvious answer is the money generated by the taxes paid by the brewers, the stores and bars that sell beer, and the sales taxes that are placed on the beverage. I don’t think anyone would disagree that this is a lot of money. Beer manufacturing is a multi billion dollar industry. That’s a lot of tax dollars.
Let’s not forget, then, the rest of the benefits of this industry. Employment opportunities. From those that work in the manufacturing plants, through the many that work for distributors and on down to all those that work in the stores and bars that sell beer to the public, it’s obvious that the industry provides an uncountable number of jobs to citizens in America.
Is there any other way to measure the benefits of beer to American Society? I think so. However, I think the rest of the benefits have to be measured against the pitfalls of the beverage. I mean, when you get right down to it, beer is an alcoholic substance. And we know, from years of experience, that there are many problems with alcohol. Addiction just being the worst of these.
We’ve all seen, or experienced for ourselves, some of the less dangerous effects of the drunkenness for which beer is responsible. The sickness and hangovers, the enhancement of not necessarily good emotions, such as anger, and the deaths and injuries from drunk driving. Just to name a few of the most obvious.
Of course, we have been making strides to correcting one of those problems. With MADD, and other such groups, laws have been enacted to punish those who drive while inebriated. All to the good, of course. And, hopefully, will eventually eliminate the practice of drunk driving. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though. I think we all realize that there will always be those who will disobey those laws.
That brings us to the mess that beer makes of those who drink it, both physically and mentally. Let’s gloss over the mess that puking makes and that someone must inevitably clean up. We all know it happens, and none of wants to be the one cleaning it up. Let’s just leave it at that.
Which leaves, of course, the rage, sadness and other emotions that drunkenness seems to bring out in those who are angry, depressed or…whatever. The best way to fight these is to just to keep an eye on those who are drinking and try to make sure they do not lose control. Not an easy thing to do when so many are drinking, though. But, admittedly, this is a rather minor problem with the beverage.
But, the benefits, and the importance to society, stems from the personal interactions that occur while people are enjoying the tasty beverage. All those who drink have probably spent many hours of interaction in one place or another with old friends and new friends sharing innocent companionship and, for some, hopefully more personal interaction, and not necessarily innocent, companionship. The relaxation that each individual experiences during this time is a rather personal thing, but the effects on society as a whole cannot be denied. Simply put, it makes the world a friendlier place, despite the drawbacks previously mentioned.
There are other benefits, I’m sure, I don’t think any of them are as worthy of our notice as the ones I’ve already discussed. One thing that cannot be denied, though, is that beer does hold importance in American society. So, raise a cold, frosty one and enjoy!
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