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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Is thinking critical?

I am something of a grumpy old man! I believe we should examine critically much of the information which comes our way and ask ourselves questions such as: Do I believe this? is the analysis valid? Is the premise valid? I mention this on foot of an article in Drinks Business in relation to world wide beer consumption as reported by the World Health organisation (WHO).
Now, I have no doubt that alcohol harms are a serious issue but I wondered about the conclusions of this report. Palau is a tiny Pacific island with a population of 21,000 and, apparently, a per capita (pc) beer consumption of 8.68 litres.
Now, maybe this is a lovely place to sit and drink a beer, to the extent that the residents drink more beer than the Czechs (8.51 litres), or us (7.04 litres). FWIW, the Czechs are 2nd according to WHO, with the Seychelles 3rd, then Ireland!
This last piece of information is the one that makes me pause. We've always known that the Czechs were the biggest beer consumers in the world and that we ranked 2nd or 3rd usually. But, Palau? The Seychelles? This made me wonder what these locations have in common - heavy tourism, I should think. Probably their population increases by 200% or more each year with tourists, and I'm assuming that WHO simply dividing total beer sales by census-related figures for over 15s to come up with their consumption data. We get lots of tourists too, but on a larger population base and, indeed, I'd even wonder if we really are the 4th (or 2nd) biggest consumers of beer.
I complain on a regular basis to Drinks Business that they never publish the original data. Every once in while they eventually do, but the immediate effect of such attention grabbing headlines is to distort the real issues. For example, if I were trying to argue against measures such as minimum pricing, say, I could use a silly report such as this to try to discredit far better reports from WHO and other organisations.
Anyway, that's a small rant out of the way - now I fancy a pint!

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