By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist
Kentucky….the final frontier….. Okay, just kidding about that, but one could say that it has the final word when it comes to producing great tasting bourbon, if you fancy that sort of thing. It’s been the cause of many o’ great stories, events, and interesting times. It’s been the tool for unblocking inspiration for writers of movies, songs, and poets of many genres. The amusing American Author, Mark Twain, even favored the drink and utilized its resourceful “magic” from time to time to unlock his creativity.
Bourbon has played just about every role throughout since its conception. It’s been used by Generals and medical staff as pain reliever during the Civil War, an enemy of Federal and Local Government during Prohibition in the 1920s, but it wasn’t until 1964 when the United States Congress declared Bourbon as “America’s Native Spirit”. Finally, in August of 2007, the United States Senate had declared the month of September to be recognized as “National Bourbon Heritage Month”, the reasoning behind this article.
It’s not exactly known who came up with the idea to make this liquid treasure, although it is believed that the first still likely showed up in Harrodsburg in 1774, 18 years prior to Kentucky becoming a member of the Union. Over the years, manufacturing has come a long way through trial and error, before and after the product hit the marketplace. The amount of ingredients, diversity in processing techniques, and the aging process all work together to produce different bourbons on the market. You might say it was a process by experimentation and evolution.
The burning delight is made with a minimum of approximately 51% corn, rye, malted barley, and in some cases red winter wheat. Once approved by quality control, the grains are then stored in silos. Depending on the brand, it’s aged in charred new oak barrels, stored at no more than 125 proof and finally bottled no less than 80 proof. Distilleries are extremely picky when it comes to their ingredients, but who can blame them?
Now to put that into perspective, on average it takes 1 Bushel of corn (70 Pounds) to make 3 Quarts of whiskey bourbon, depending on the brand. That’s a lot of corn! The only other thing made with that much corn is probably ethanol (ethyl alcohol) fuel. Back in 2007, the United States harvested 86.5 million acres of corn that yielded about 151 bushels per acre. Using that math calculation, just one acre of corn could produce around 423 gallons/acre.
To back up my theory, let’s consider using current production capabilities. Fuel ethanol facilities can produce just less than 3 gallons of ethanol, per bushel of corn. In addition, about 17 pounds of Dried Distillers Grains (DDG’s) are produced per bushel of corn. Just for some extra useless water cooler knowledge bonus points, DDG’s is an excellent protein source for cattle.
Now that we have established all that historical information, it’s a good time to mention a few other points that could be beneficial. Like anything else, consuming bourbon is good as long as it’s done in moderation if the person is of legal age. By moderation, I mean up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men, as per Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. There are some eye-widening statistics that shows a part of society that can’t stop when they should because the line gets blurred out the more they drink.
One thing we encourage everyone of legal drinking age is to NOT give alcohol to minors. If you have bourbon or any other alcohol in your home, it’s a good idea to keep it locked up or out of the reach from children. Many times the children will mimic what they see with their parents or other adults they look up to do. Research shows the risk for alcoholism is higher among people who begin to drink at an early age. It is also believed that it’s a result of both environmental and genetic factors.
It’s no secret that alcohol is by far the drug of choice among much of the youth. Over the short time of being a teenager, the percentage of teens that drank in the previous year rises from 7% of those aged 12 years old to almost 70% of those 18 years old. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s latest report, drinking is common and increases with age as well as odds like about 1 in 14 students in eighth grade, 1 in 6 sophmores, and 1 in 4 high school seniors report having five or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks.
As an increased danger to what is already a bad decision, some teenagers will “binge” drink. In a survey conducted back in 2013, research showed that 22.9% (about 60.1 million) of American children ages 12 years or older surveyed reported binge drinking in the 30 days before the survey. We cannot stress enough that alcohol consumption by young people is a huge health risk. It can be just as dangerous, if not worse than, for adults because it:
- Causes injuries and many result in death
- May cause various health issues
- Leads to poor decision making when it comes to risky behavior (drinking & driving, unprotected sex, taking drugs, ect)
- Increases the risk of physical and sexual assault
- Can lead to other problems in school or work along with other social issues
- Increases the risk of alcohol problems later in life
And if peer pressure wasn’t enough, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, they say that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are at elevated risk of alcohol misuse and abuse. Drinking patterns have shown to increase over time at a quicker rate among males when compared with female LGBT youths. However, the overall pattern results of alcohol use are very similar to those of non-LGBT youth.
As for those of legal drinking age, the potential risk is still there. Adults who drink alcohol should do it in moderation. Although it may be a little harder if they come from a long family history of dipsomania, an uncontrollable craving for alcoholic liquors. Recovering alcoholics, people who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require attention or skill, people taking certain medications, or with certain medical conditions can put themselves at greater risk.
Here’s something we don’t normally talk about, but needs to be mentioned because it’s a fact that women shouldn’t be drinking if they are trying or should become pregnant. This leads to another risk, not for them, but for the unborn baby they are carrying. This other risk is called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and is considered the most extreme outcome from consuming alcohol during a pregnancy. The child could have issues like:
- Abnormal facial or body features
- Mental or physical growth complications
- Problems within the central nervous system
Later in life, those children may face one or more other obstacles such as:
- Learning disabilities
- Problems with remembering
- Attention span disorder
- Communication issues
- Vision problems
- Hearing disabilities
*There’s no cure for FAS, but early intervention treatment can improve the child’s development.
If you want to keep track of your drinking habit so you don’t get carried away, keep in mind that one drink is defined as 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol), 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80 proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits. Women can run the risk of becoming what is called a “Heavy Drinker” when consuming 3 or more drinks in one day or more than 7 per week. Men on the other hand will have to consume more than 4 drinks in a day or more than 14 per week. To be considered a “Binge Drinker”, a person would have to consume 4 or more drinks within 2 hours.
If someone becomes a binge drinker, they run a serious risk of alcohol poisoning. This is becoming a problem among some groups of people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between the years 2010 to 2012, an average of 6 people died each day from alcohol poisoning alone caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short amount of time. It’s basically overdosing because very high levels of alcohol shuts down areas of the brain that control vital organs needed to keep us alive.
While alcohol poisoning deaths affect people of all ages, it’s more common among middle-aged men who are from 35 to 64 years of age. Statistics have shown that more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is in the form of binge drinking. Some other statistics include:
- An average of 2,221 (8.8 deaths per 1 million people) each year among persons aged 15 years and older in the United States.
- Most alcohol poisoning deaths are among non- Hispanic whites (67.5% or 1,500 deaths).
- Although a smaller share of the US population, American Indians/Alaska Natives alcohol poisoning deaths are 49.1 per 1 million people.
- Alabama has the least alcoholic poisoning deaths with 5.3 deaths per 1 million people.
- Alcohol dependence was identified as a factor in 30% of alcohol poisoning deaths.
Make no mistake about it; “Binging” can lead to death! The more you drink, the more you increase the risk of death. The popularity of binge drinking among men is twice among women. Inside the United States, adults who binge consume an average of about 8 drinks, which can result in even higher levels of alcohol in the body. If you do the math, it does not look good. That’s why we suggest you keep tabs on your drinks and don’t let it get out of hand.
Alcoholism is a serious thing and should be taken that way. Usually the person with the problem is the last one to know. We’ve all heard that joke that some people say when confronted with the issue, “I’m not an alcoholic. Those people go to meetings, I don’t.” Well the truth is that AA meetings are the one of the best places to go for help. Even if the person isn’t a full-blown alcoholic, but still gets a bit carried away when drinking, it’s a good place for a wake-up call.
So many bad things can happen when chasing a good time. We, at Rapid Detect, strongly encourage those who consume alcohol to drink responsibly. If you feel you drank too much, hold off on drinking anymore and wait for it to clear out of your system. Another smart tip would be to find a designated driver; someone who hasn’t drank a drop of alcohol, or call for a taxi. Believe me, the alternative is much worse than having to admit that you had too much to drink and need a lift home afterwards.
If you know someone who needs to be tested to make sure they are not letting alcohol consumption get out of control or you need to find out if a pregnant patient is drinking, we can help you. If you visit our website, you will notice we offer several kinds of products that can test for alcohol and won’t break your budget either. Whether you are looking into getting:
If you want to know more about these test kits or have any questions, please feel free to contact our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants by sending them an email anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org or you could call (888) 404-0020 during our normal business hours weekdays between 8am and 4pm Central Time. Don’t forget to ask about our specials and how you can save more money with us.