The Myth of the 'Standard' Drink
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Consumers deserve to have accurate information when making important choices about drinking responsibly ("Driving blind, drinking blind," Commentary, Wednesday). That's why the Beer Institute supports the addition of straightforward nutritional information and alcohol content on all beverage labels. That's why we also support listing the alcohol content of beverages by volume of alcohol.
However, a misguided approach advocated in an April 30 Commentary column threatens to mislead consumers. The authors, George McGovern, a former Democratic presidential candidate, and Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader, contend that all "drinks" contain a "standard" amount of alcohol and that this information should be featured on beverage labels. Apparently, the authors are not cocktail drinkers.
As common sense tells us, there is no such standard. The amount of alcohol poured in a single hard-liquor drink can vary from drinking establishment to drinking establishment and from consumer to consumer. As a result, drinks vary considerably in size and strength. The idea of a standard drink is hard to swallow for another reason. It goes against the results of consumer surveys and studies on other food and beverage labeling. The data clearly shows that consumers make the best choices when presented with clear, accurate, commonsense information about a product. …