I've never been a fan of having government sell alcohol – not when I lived in Pennsylvania, where the state government operated liquor stores through the PLCB, and not now that I live in Ontario where the province does the same through the LCBO. Aside from believing in the open market and in regulation that stops well short of total control, I wonder how healthy it is for the government to be selling alcohol. I'm no teetotaler, but I have a problem with the government's vested interest in marketing an addictive substance.
Now the Canadian government has come up with a new way to promote its wares. It's part of their "Beer Selector", and it's accessible here. Click on "My Beer Personality", and answer questions like, "At a party, you (a) kick your feet up, (b) always host, (c) work the room, or (d) make the toasts" and "What nickname would best describe you (a) Maxo Relaxo, (b) Fussy Gus, (c) Courageous Cat, or (d) Captain Awesome". Then the program diagnoses your needs and offers a selection of beers, available at your LCBO store.
What is the goal here? Is it that there are a lot of frustrated beer drinkers across Canada, people who are not feeling satisfied with their alcoholic beverages because those drinks are just not suited for their personalities?
According to a 2010 study by StatsCanada (the official government statistics-collecting arm), the prevalence of past-year alcohol use among Canadians 15 years and olderwas 77.0%. Among "youth", 71.5% reported consuming alcohol in the past year.
The good news: This is a decrease from 2004, when "82.9% of youth reported past-year use of alcohol."
More, "the prevalence of heavy frequent drinking among youth 15 to 24 years of age, was approximately three times higher than the rate for adults 25 years and older (9.4% versus 3.3%)."
So maybe the government decided that the heavy drinking was a result of not finding the right beer? Is this a case of Canadian Big Government stepping in to help its young citizens live better lives?
I think not. I think the goal is to make beer drinkers out of the apparently small minority who are not currently beer drinkers.
"What, you don't drink beer? Come on, this would be good for you. You'll love it! It's so you - look, it suits you, Maxo Relaxo!"
I don't want elected officials spending their time and my taxes trying to make me a beer drinker. I don't care how patriotic it is to drink beer in Canada, and I don't care how much money you can take from the private sector by having government sell liquor – go back to work on things like making healthcare affordable.