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Last orders: the weird week that was

While the trade union strike ate up newsprint this week in India, far weirder things were making news around the world. Here are some of the most bizarre stories that surfaced this week.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2013 18:00 IST
Serena Menon

While the trade union strike ate up newsprint this week in India, far weirder things were making news around the world. Here are some of the most bizarre stories that surfaced this week. Most of these slipped under the radar, but if you’re a nightlife patron, then they deserve your attention, or your disdain.

The high pill: Sometime last year, India’s name came up in world news for producing a pill (currently on sale in the UK) that claims to help drinkers not get drunk despite drinking. The pill called Alco-Pal led to a major controversy and faced criticism as it claimed to beat the breathalyser test too. However, the 64-year-old creator insists he isn’t trying to promote drunken driving. Currently, a box of these pills is on sale for 20 pounds on its website.

Then on February 18, news of another such ‘sober pill’ resurfaced. American researchers have now reportedly “developed a drug that could lower a person’s blood alcohol content”.

Hop, don’t crawl in New York: On February 18, a Democratic Assemblyman in the US introduced a bill to ban pub crawls in New York City. Why? Because Micah Kellner feels “organized pub crawls have gotten out of control. They are not only a detriment to the communities in which they occur, but also to those who participant in them. No establishment licensed by the State of New York should be promoting or encouraging binge drinking. My legislation is written to ensure only responsible nightlife prospers in New York City (sic),” he was quoted saying in a report. Sure mom. Didn’t know our ALMs were inspiring people around the world.

Makers cut the mark: Due to a suspected supply shortage, bourbon brand Maker’s Mark decided to water down the alcohol content in their bottles by three per cent (from 45 per cent to 42). But after being criticised on a massive scale, they decided against it. The few bottles that did hit the market have become collectibles, claims another report. The company tweeted to its followers on February 17, saying, “You spoke. We listened.” There’s a lesson or two our politicians could learn from this.

Mass bar exodus: This year alone, a shocking 100 pubs have reportedly pulled down their shutters due to the beer duty escalator in the UK. As per this rule, the duty on beer increases by two per cent over inflation each year. According to Campaign For Real Ale, (yes, the British actually have an official body that represents the concerns of bars and drinkers) another 1,000 are expected to close down in the next few months. To top that, bars in the UK may soon have to shell out extra (late-night levy) to just be allowed to serve alcohol between midnight and 6 am. Suddenly, our 1.30 am deadline doesn’t seem all that bad, does it?

That’s all for this week’s episode of The Ale ‘Seems’ Darker On The Other Side Of The Fence. It isn’t actually.