Fast Food and Alcohol

Posted: 05 Jul 2011 06:30 AM PDT
The news that fast-food chains are selling alcohol sent me scurrying to the Internet to gauge the reaction among the public and pundits. After all, “demon rum” could be polluting the American haute cuisine realm and worse, is Ronald McDonald going to turn into a boozer? Will people fear that a McBeer will replace a shake? Do you typically pair your Whopper with a nice lager or with a zinfandel?

According to USA Today (and reprinted by Mark Brown’s newsletter), Burger King and Sonic will join Pizza Hut and Starbuck’s in offering alcoholic beverages along with fast food. Clearly, the move into alcohol is designed to compete with casual dining chains and to increase the cash register ring.

So, my Internet journey revealed mainly neutral to favorable reactions plus some interesting insights.

A number of blog postings (Chowhound, for example) referenced the differences between American and European attitudes toward alcohol, such as:

“There is a simple cultural difference between the US and the far more relaxed attitude many Europeans have towards beer. We seem to think that we need to regulate alcohol wherever we can, Europeans seem to think that adults are generally capable of making the right decision without the state telling them what to do.”

The gourmets also waded (or is it weighted) in:

“I would very much like a glass of Sangiovese with a Baracoa plate at Chipotle, or a Gewurtz with some good Tacos Al Pastor.”

I found this interesting item about Louisiana:

“…Not only drive-thru daiquiris, but doughnut shops with liquor licenses, too. Video poker is legal in Louisiana, but to get a gaming license, the operator has to have a liquor license (logically, if you check IDs for alcohol, you’ll check them for video poker). So damn near every corner cafe, sandwich shop, po’boy joint, doughnut and coffee place, serves alcohol and has video poker.”

Finally, the doom and gloom, anti-alcohol folks had their say: “Fast food plus fast alcohol equals fast drunks.” That’s obviously from someone who has never experienced the therapeutic benefit of a burger and fries at the end of the night or the day after.

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