When I first saw the headline “The fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in the US isn’t a beer, wine, or spirit,” I immediately assumed the simplest, most obvious interpretation—that some kind of gigantic mystery drink, no doubt the result of a fermentation experiment gone horribly wrong (probably involving GMOs), was about to wreak havoc in the streets á la the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters.
But no, the article’s subject is much more mundane, about the resurgence in popularity of hard cider (which incidentally could be paired quite nicely with an enormous roasted marshmallow man, but I digress).
This seems like just your typical seasonally inspired fluff news. Hard cider is the latest thing, experiencing rapid sales growth. Even the big beer companies are getting in on the action.
But all I can say to this is, well played, Big Cider. Well played. Maybe you and your shills can fool Heineken, but I am on to you.
I first became suspicious when I saw this almost indescribable chart in the article:
I spent several minutes staring at that
xy-axis. Why those bizarre random number choices? Why don’t the intervals match? Is 80 the only percentage, and if so, what are the other numbers measuring? Is this just a spectacularly bad chart, or is hard cider so powerful that it is changing the very meaning of numbers?
The bars make it look like hard cider is pretty much taking over the alcoholic beverage market. Of course, in the context of actual sales dollars, beer, wine, and spirits each probably bring in millions if not billions more dollars annually than hard cider.
To illustrate, let’s say I start a lemonade stand, and my first year, I make $30; my second year, I make $45; my third year, I make $75; and in my fourth year, I rake in $200 after extorting the kids running the competing neighborhood stand. In those same years, Country Time makes $20 million that first year, $20.5 million the second, $22 million the third, and only $21 million the fourth (no doubt due to competition from me).
My hypothetical growth is obviously quite impressive in comparison, even without random points on the
xy-axis. I could even topple Big Lemonade, except I value my life. Those people don’t mess around.
So what is Big Cider’s end game? Money? Power? Worldwide mathematical illiteracy?
The article mentions that they are lobbying to raise the legal alcohol-per-volume percentage. Is this part of a long-term plan to lull the populace into a stupor? A percentage point here, a percentage point there, and pretty soon we’re living a modern-day Snow White on a massive scale.
Sure, I might be “leaping to conclusions” and “fear mongering,” but what if it’s all true? Are you willing to take that chance?