Posted by: nastylittletruths | July 18, 2008

Swimming In Booze

Anybody remember by “blissful” post of last April? I remembered the drunken lout of my last post when I ran in to a group of drunken youths last night and started to question how much alcohol do we really drink in this country. My word, is everyone celebrating the great life in TnT or drowning their sorrows in booze?

According to The Economist magazine, Luxembourg heads the pack at 15.5 litres annual consumption per person. My data was only up to 2003 when we were 4.2 litres already, and as consumption went up in the good years and declined in the bad years, we have to be way up in the top 100 for sure. (Mexico was 89th at 4.2 in the report).  So, unless I get it confirmed, I am being conservative with the 4.2 litres.

Resource: http://earthtrends.wri.org/country_profiles/index.php?theme=4

Before you erroneously begin to think that 4.2 litres sound too small a figure, they meant pure alcohol. Because different alcohol beverages have different quantities of alcohol per volume, they based it on pure alcohol to be more representative. For example, a bottle of rum (750ml) has 40% alcohol by volume, so if we considered only this then it means one person drinks 14 bottles of rum per annum ((4.2/0.4))/0.75) or 1.17 bottles per month. Make sense? So let’s check again – beers are average 5% alcohol so that will be 305.45 bottles/year or 0.836/day and as whiskey has the same potency as rum, that figure will be the same.

I hit a hurdle however in trying to figure out how many people live in Trinidad. Common or acceptable number has always been 1.3 million (EarthTrends agree at 1.306m) but the CIA World Factbook says only 1.0 million. Which to use for this exercise was a problem so I decided that the CIA didn’t know anything… (Take a look at our net migration rate. Topic to discuss for sure)

Resource: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/td.html

Just kidding, I did use some of their data. The Economist’s data is based on population aged 15 years and over so using 75% of 1.3 million, ours will be 975,000. Using the average consumption above then we can imbibe the following based on my convoluted arithmetic:

If were are only  beer drinkers, that’ll be 297,813,750 beers = 12,408,906 cases per year = 238,633 cases per week. Graphical representation? At 275ml per bottle, that’s 3,603 fuel tankers of beer… And if we were only rum or whiskey drinkers, it’ll be 1,140,750 bottles = 21,938 bottles per week. That’s 38 tankers…

I spoke to a relatively small bar owner about his numbers (he opens for 6 days max) and he moves approximately 50 cases of beer, 36 bottles of scotch and about 60 bottles of rum. If we use this as the average for weighting purposes then the numbers look more reasonable. That is, about 1/3 of our alcohol consumption is beers (approx. 99.3 million bottles) and 2/3 in the harder stuff (approx. 760,500 bottles).

Remember that all of the above is average for the population so when you take the teetolers and the binge drinkers out of the equation, there are a lot of people out there who drink quite a bit of the stuff – and regularly too. Just yesterday (overcast and rainy) I saw 5 maxi-taxis at one bar at 11:00am. There’s one I pass on my way to work that’s open before 6:00am and customers are already there. Now that’s dedication to the task!

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