As everybody who lives in Britain knows, people in power love increasing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes in a futile attempt to curb drinking and smoking.
Strangely enough, it would seem it worked in Poland. Of all countries.
This dry press release quoting “the Polish spirits industry organization” claims that
Poland registered a 75-percent drop in vodka drinking alone in the first three months of this year because of excise tax hikes.
Wowzers. Seventy-five per cent?! That seems totally unreal to me, to be honest. But apparently
Poles purchased 21.1 million liters of alcoholic drinks, including vodka, in the first quarter of 2009, which is some 30 percent less than in the same period in 2008.
Now 21 million liters – to put the number in context – is roughly 0.5 liter of any alcoholic drinks per person, including children, babies and people who temporarily live in the UK. And that’s per quarter, which gives you well under 200ml of alcohol per person per month. Now that’s really not much, you have to admit.
Poles have also bought 10 per cent less beer in the same period, the report claims. The reason?
Officials of the industry organization said the considerable drop in the sale of vodka was prompted by the rise of excise taxes by 9 percent as of January, coupled with the smaller purchasing power of Poles due to the global economic crisis.
The report doesn’t state whether Poles have started drinking more wine, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that Poles have in fact switched to drinking other alcohols. In the past decade or so it has become a norm for Polish women to drink beer too, which they hardly did before, at least not in public.
Anyway, it seems Poland has now turned its back on alcohol. I think I need a stiff drink.