5.8 Gallons of pure alcohol per year in 1790 now down a gallon
Gentlemen having a few beers in the early 1900s
Americans like to drink alcohol although we drink less than we used to. Primness, like sipping a glass of sherry, seems to be in fashion these days as opposed to knocking back your liquor.
I would get drunk if I had to wear these clothes
I also note that “binge drinking” among college students is defined as five or more drinks in an evening. Five? When a student at Tulane in the 1970s we were just warming up after five drinks.
Serving out the rum ration aboard a Royal Navy ship circa 1920s. The wooden tub being used has the legend, “The King God Bless Him” because the grog ration (that is rum mixed with water) was a gift of the Crown to the men of the navy. The bosun piped “up spirits” about 11:30 am. Usually one of the older ratings would shout, “stand fast the Holy Ghost.”
Each man is from a separate mess table which sat about ten men and is collecting the ration for the entire group of ten in the tin buckets the men are holding. Petty officers are regulating the amount served based on the calculations in the book the man in the foreground is looking at.
Men were registered in the spirits book as T for teetotaler, or not of age, or ration suspended because of punishment. Boys could join the Royal Navy at sixteen but were not permitted to be issued with grog until they were eighteen. They could, however, take advantage of the generous cigarette allowance they received from the navy, this also a gift of the monarch and the tobacco wasn’t taxed.
Having a pick me up glass of beer in the morning
According to the BBC, “Early Americans even took a healthful dram for breakfast, whiskey was a typical lunchtime tipple, ale accompanied supper and the day ended with a nightcap. Continuous imbibing clearly built up a tolerance as most Americans in 1790 consumed an average 5.8 gallons of pure alcohol a year.”
This is down to 3.4 gallons of pure alcohol as of 2010 says the World Health Organization. If you take women out of the equation, American males consume 4.7 gallons of pure alcohol so we’re down a gallon a year in the last 225 years.
I don’t think drinking a lot is a good idea and we drank too much in college but it was a different time and place. Still, it is interesting to note that our forebears in American were totally drunk all the time. You wonder how they got anything done or built all that antique furniture people pay so much for these days.