by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Alcohol

Jul 5 2019

Enjoy the weekend: Beverage Daily’s Beer Supplement

Beer is a hot topic these days, so hot that the industry newsletter Beverage Daily collects its articles on the topic into MONTHLY BEER SPECIALS.  I’ve picked these from the June and July Specials.  The big issues: craft, low or no alcohol, cannabis, and sustainability.

Craft 

Low and no-alcohol 

Cannibis

Sustainability

May 2 2019

A roundup of articles about—Beer!

This is BeverageDaily.com’s monthly beer special, from the industry’s point of view.  If you don’t think of beer as an industry, think again.

And, thanks to reader Polly Adema, here is one more:

 

Share |
Tags: ,
Feb 11 2019

Food politics issue of the week: corn syrup in beer?

I am not a football fan and missed the Super Bowl but I gather it was a hotbed of food politics due to Bud Light’s Game of Thrones’ commercial accusing competitors of using—horrors—corn syrup in the brewing process.

As Ed Mazza put it (Huffington Post), this has to be the weirdest twitter storm ever.   Corn growers and the Corn Refiners Association versus Bud Light?

Weird, indeed.  Who could possibly care?

Bud Light’s marketing people, I guess.

They love the fuss, and put a full page ad in the New York Times to celebrate.

It says “In the Bud Light Kingdom we love corn too! Corn on the cob, corn bread, popcorn—( just don’t brew with the syrup (what you also call ‘dextrose’)…But, even though corn syrup is less expensive, we brew with rice, along with the finest hops, barley, and water, because I’m the King and it’s not my job to save money.”

Oh please.

To make beer, you need yeast.  To get yeast to grow, you have to feed them some kind of sugar.  This could be corn syrup (corn glucose is called dextrose), some other glucose-containing sugar like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sucrose, rice (yeast converts its starch to glucose, or barley treated to convert its starch to maltose (two glucose molecules bonded together) and then to glucose.  Regardless of the source of glucose, yeast metabolizes it to alcohol and characteristic flavor components.

I imagine that adding a bit of corn syrup speeds up the process, but so what?  Bud Light wants you to think that using rice instead of corn syrup makes it better than other beers.

I’m not much of a beer drinker, so I leave that one up to you.

This is about playing on public distrust of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which isn’t even at issue here.

The real problem with corn syrup.  The Corn Refiners Association, which pushes it and HFCS.

We would all be better off eating less sugar(s) of any kind, no matter where they come from.

The documents (thanks largely to The Hagstrom Report)

Sep 13 2018

Beer: sustainable, THC-infused, from BeverageDaily.com

BeverageDaily.com does a monthly special collection of industry-focused articles on beer.  This one spotlights sustainability, but includes a couple of items about—really!—cannabis-infused beer, as well as tea, coffee, and water.  As readers of this blog know, I am following the politics of cannabis edibles.  It’s now time to add drinks to the list, or what is known in the trade, apparently, as the “THC-infused beverage space.”

And here are even more of its articles about the beer industry.  Be sure to check the one about how to personalize yours with 3D printing.

 

Jul 9 2018

Beverage Daily’s roundup of articles about—Beer!

I hope you enjoyed the weekend.

Here’s Beverage Daily’s latest MONTHLY BEER SPECIAL:

Share |
Tags:
May 31 2018

The latest on the beer industry from BeverageDaily.com

The industry newsletter,  BeverageDaily.com, offers a collection of recent articles about the beer business.

Share |
Tags:
Mar 28 2018

The NIH’s dubious partnership in industry-funded alcohol research

Last week, New York Times reporter Roni Rabin wrote how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) solicited funding from alcohol companies to fund—and, distressingly, participate in the design of—a study of the effects of moderate drinking on heart disease risk.

This is not the first time Ms. Rabin has written about this study.  In July, she described the study and its funding.

Since then, she has apparently been busy filing FOIA requests and conducting further interviews.  These reveal that the NIH actively solicited industry funding and input into this trial.

The [NIH] presentations gave the alcohol industry an opportunity to preview the trial design and vet the investigators. Indeed, the scientist leading the meetings was eventually chosen to head the huge clinical trial.

They also made the industry privy to pertinent details, including a list of clinical sites and investigators who were “already on board,” the size and length of the trial, approximate number of participants, and the fact that they could choose any beverage. By design, no form of alcohol — wine, liquor or beer — would be called out as better than another in the trial.

But it gets worse.  Boston University professor Michael Siegel tells his personal story of dealings with NIH’s National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

On January 16, 2015, I was called into the office of the Director of NIAAA and was essentially reprimanded for conducting NIAAA-funded research that was detrimental to the alcohol industry…At the meeting, I was told that I would never again be funded to conduct research on alcohol marketing, regardless of how highly my research proposal was scored by the scientific review panel.

Let me be clear: research ethics require funders to have no involvement in research design, conduct, or interpretation, lest they exert undue influence on the results.

Julia Belluz (Vox) put this study in context.  She describes how

The NIH is now investigating whether the researchers violated federal policy by soliciting donations, and they’re appointing outside experts to review the design of the study. We don’t yet know the full story, and there’s surely more to uncover.

Anheuser Busch InBev, Heineken, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, and Carlsberg helped pay $67.7 million of the $100 million government study, which is currently underway. And even more troubling is that if you were a patient looking to enroll in the trial through the online clinical trials registry, you’d have no way of knowing about the industry’s involvement because that funding is not disclosed there.

Although I do not have much to say about the alcohol industry in my forthcoming book, Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat, I mention of this study as an example of how other industries skew research and also how pooling industry research funds is insufficient protection against conflicted interests (alcohol companies agreed to contribute 67.7% of the funding).

It’s good that the NIH has decided to investigate this dubious government-industry partnership, which so clearly seems aimed at marketing, not public health.

Mar 14 2018

Soda Politics: Japan style

I am in Japan this week and am fascinated to see that Coca-Cola produces special products with seasonal themes, just in time for cherry blossoms (which, alas, are not quite out yet):

And it offers fruity varieties:

For the first time, Coca-Cola is adding alcohol to canned Coke (the rum, as in “Rum and Coca-Cola” was not premixed).  It is launching the new alcohol-laced soft drink for the Japanese market.

Japanese supermarkets are already crowded with alcohol-infused soft drinks and teas.  I got this at the OK Supermarket in Yokohama:

Here’s a close up of one variety:

Most soft drinks in Japan, with or without alcohol, are local brands.

Will alcohol help Coke increase market share?  Can’t wait to find out.