Friday, January 25, 2013

Where The Beer Flows Like Water

While government efforts to control what Americans eat and drink continue to expand and show no signs of abating, in the Czech Republic an effort to compel restaurants and bars to offer lower priced alternatives to beer is meeting stiff resistance. Brewing Controversy Over Proposal to Make Water Cheaper Than Beer:

He wants to require restaurants and bars to offer at least one nonalcoholic beverage at a price lower than that of the same amount of beer, primarily to offer teens, who can legally drink at 18, an alternative. The easiest thing to do, Dr. Heger said, would be to offer patrons pitchers of tap water.

Even that has some tavern keepers foaming.

"It ticks me off," said Eleni Atanasopulosova, 34, the manager at U Zelenku. "There are more pressing issues. People are struggling to find work. The government should do something more important."

Dr. Heger, a 64-year-old radiologist who likes to toss back a few himself, attributes such resistance to a general Czech dislike of government regulation, a legacy of the country's decades under repressive communist rule.

"It's important to speak against social engineering," Dr. Heger said. "We don't want to suppress smoking and drinking among adults. It's their right." He added: "I'm not against alcohol consumption. It just has to be reasonable."

A couple of points:

1. Compared to what we’re seeing in the United States, the Czech Health Minister’s proposal actually does seem fairly reasonable. I can’t imagine an equivalent American nanny state busybody ever admitting that they don’t want to control what adults eat, drink, or smoke to say nothing of conceding their right to do so.

2. The fact that even such mild requirements are being resisted by the Czechs is encouraging as is the note about them having a general dislike of government regulation. You take those attitudes and roll them together with good beer that’s cheaper than water and the place starts sounding like a promised land indeed.

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