Tuesday, September 21, 2021


Part 3; The Trouble With Lando.

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) In the final installment, we look at the state of malt liquor and how our communities can win the battle of the bottle.

IT TAKES TWO

In the 1960’s, cigarette advertisers figured out that Black smokers preferred menthol cigarettes to non mentholated brands and heavily promoted them in Black magazines, stores, and on billboards in Black communities. It took 35 years, but in 1995 somebody took the time to figure out why.

The BMJ journal Tobacco Control reports the results of a study that found the number one reason Black smokers preferred mentholated cigarettes is taste (83%), followed by smokers who found the menthol soothing to the throat (54%), and after that, ease of inhalation (48%). The problem with all of this is that the easier it is to inhale, the deeper into the lungs the menthol, tar, nicotine and carcinogens go, the higher the risk for disease. The menthol “cools” the smoke so the smoker feels he can inhale more deeply. So he does.

And years later he dies from any number of health problems brought on by smoking.

Once they figured it out back in the 60’s, they piggybacked their ads with malt liquor advertisers in Black magazines. If you look back into those mags, you will find every other page is a cigarette ad. Menthol cigarettes and malt liquor have been joined at the hip ever since; they are the two slowest forms of ghetto suicide.

The reasons why Blacks of a certain social class enjoy malt liquor are simple. According to a study conducted in south Los Angeles and reported in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, price per volume is the number one concern among malt liquor drinkers followed by availability. The third reason was nothing new; advertising and pop culture references to malt liquor aimed at them made them more inclined to buy. Surprise.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: THE UBIQUITY OF BILLY DEE WILLIAMS

Malt liquor is dying. In fact, drinking among young people is dying, period.

According to a 2008 Beer Institute report on underage drinking, since 1982, drinking among high school seniors is down 36%; binge drinking among high school seniors is down 31%; beer drinking among college freshmen is down 43%; and drunk driving is down 36% from 1982 to 2006. The efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and similar groups has made a definite and positive impact on drinking. The beer industry is expecting growth throughout 2011, but certain segments of the industry won’t make it. Malt liquor is one of them.

In their 2007 Third Quarter Overview Progressive Grocer reports that malt liquor constitutes only 1% of beer sales, down from 4.3% in 1997.

And that, my friends, is why Billy Dee Williams is everywhere all at once; the malt liquor industry is on its last leg and National Brewing Company is trying to squeeze every penny it can out of a product that has been in decline since the 90’s. In order to keep making money they are frantically looking for ways to hook new customers while holding the drunks they already have in a vise-like grip.

In light of this revelation, Colt 45’s superfluous and calculated outdoor advertising tactics are pathetic, the feeble thrusts of a product in its final death throes. The fact they resorted to grave robbing in their latest ad campaign speaks volumes for their desperation. They can’t, won’t turn the ghetto loose until that last dollar is in their pockets.

The National Brewing Company, health care insurers, oil companies, banks, they’re all trying to hit that last lick before it all goes “poof”! Capitalism is dying. Don’t believe me? The internet is about to be free in the next few years. Notice all the mergers, Yahoo! and Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Google, they’re all sorting out their territories and teaming up so they all will have some money when it all turns back into a pumpkin.

So, just like their spokesperson, National Brewing continues on past its prime pushing a promise that never was, a rickety chicken hawk working hard to find fresh young’uns.

KEEP THAT SAME OLD FEELING

Malt liquor is on a long, slow march toward death. Now that the industry is lurching to a dead stop, it is up to community leaders to take the facts and use them to break malt liquor’s hold on our neighborhoods. In the past twenty-five years we have seen local corner stores replaced by package liquor retailers who have no interest in our neighbors or neighborhoods. They don’t live with us; back when all this started, yes, the stores belonged to people from our area, but no more. We would only be helping, not harming, ourselves if we worked toward eliminating this blight on our community.

There has never been a better time to increase community pressure on outdoor advertising because the odds turn in the community’s favor when an organized effort is made. Churches, community groups, youth organizations and schools have a better chance of successfully removing these ads from our neighborhoods now that the industry itself is teetering on the edge. What say we give it a shove?

Malt liquor has plagued the Black community for over forty years, but with organized community effort we can once and for all rid ourselves of this menace. We can lean on outdoor advertising and now, armed with the facts, we can present a comprehensive, logical and detailed argument against this type of advertising.

History shows us that community organization, boycotts and organized pressure groups work. Let’s put history to work in our communities now so that malt liquor won’t make it to the fifty year mark.

End of series.

Written By Patricia Calloway


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