Posts Tagged ‘sin’

Rigor Mortis Ale, Deathly Ales

There is a huge, long history of associating alcohol beverages with death and demise. In recent US history, this is famously illustrated by the Black Death Vodka episode of the 1990s. This trend shows no signs of abating.

Rigor Mortis Ale is made in Quebec, Canada and is imported by Shelton Brothers. The label does not explain why the product is adorned with a rotting corpse and snails and ants. Would you rather stare at a frosty glacier or a rotting corpse as you quaff a brew? Wikipedia explains that rigor mortis is:

postmortem rigidity due to buildup of lactic acid, which causes “the actin and myosin filaments of the muscle fibers [to] remain linked until the muscles begin to decompose.” (In simpler terms, this means that the muscles become stiff because there is a build up of the waste of the energy producing process of the body. This buildup is because the chained tissues of muscles hook together and stick until the body starts to decompose. During decomposition, this buildup is broken down over time.) Immediately following death the body is flaccid. It becomes increasingly rigid over time due to lack of ATP and buildup of lactic acid. This process happens in stages over the first thirty six hours post mortem.

We are not sure if Reaper Ale is more or less upbeat. On one small label it sports a grim reaper, skulls, a black crow, a scythe, and a tombstone. It appears there is a good market for beers you are just barely unafraid to drink.



Posted in:

malt beverage

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F-Words, F-Bombs and Booze, Part 2

Yesterday we discussed a scholarly article on the F-Word, in F-Words, F-Bombs and Booze, Part 1. That post was long on discussion and short on examples, so here are several examples of approved labels, raising a similar term and topic.

First and perhaps most famous is Effen Vodka. It’s possible the brand name refers to something other than what Potts is talking about, but somehow we believe they are thinking of roughly the same thing. As Potts explains, this term has always been mired in ambiguity, and that accounts for much of its power and popularity. The ambiguity also, we suppose, helps it get approved.

Second is Fricken Beer, as above. Indian River Brewing, of Melbourne, Florida, is hoping you too will walk up to the bartender and say “Get me a Fricken Beer.” If you don’t get slapped, it might be refreshing.

Third is Big F’n Syrah. It is a robust Yakima Syrah with overtones of the F-Word. We have a few additional F-Word labels but please let us know if you see others.


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Posted in:

malt beverage, vodka, wine

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F-Words, F-Bombs and Booze, Part 1

Cary Wiggins alerted us to a recent, scholarly article about, of all things, the F-word. His blog, called Meeting the Sin Laws, covers the intersection of sin, vice, alcohol beverages, and the law.

Wiggins points to The Connotations of the F-Word. This is a post in The Language Log; it is a blog run out of the University of Pennsylvania since 2003. The post is by Chris Potts, a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He wants to get a better understanding of why people tend to remain so fascinated with this term (and other “taboo vocabulary”). He wants to know:

Does it in fact have sexual connotations even when used as an intensive, as in Bono’s “really, really f-ing brilliant”?

Ed. note: F-word modified.

It’s not an idle topic; the FCC needs to grapple with this and so does TTB. Potts applies some fancy academics to this not so fancy topic, with cosine measures, cooccurrences, fleeting expletives, formal linguistic theories, latent semantic analysis, and even rubrics of framing. He does not necessarily conclude that the term has much to do with sex.

This topic has a fair amount of relevance here, because this terminology pops up on alcohol beverage labels more often than you might expect. Above is but one leading example. Tomorrow we plan to show several others. Do you think the F-Word is okay on booze labels?


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What’s Your Poizin?

It is no surprise that the anti-alcohol forces of yore regarded alcohol beverages as a poison. Professor Hanson confirms that the Prohibitionists “taught that alcohol was a poison.” More recently, this 2008 lawsuit is replete with allegations that MillerCoors is selling poison. But it’s quite another thing when the purveyors themselves brand their products as Poizin. The above is a Sonoma County Zinfandel from Armida Winery. A second example is Poison Wild Berry Schnapps Liqueur, approved in 2002. These are not to be confused with Christian Dior Poison Eau de Toilette, or this.

Contributor Lance M. weighed in as follows:

This Poizin, thankfully, will not kill you (well unless you are irresponsible and consume more than your fair share). Armida’s packaging of their Poizin is designed to draw your eye. The bottle is black with a red skull and crossbones prominently portrayed on the front of the label. The wine contained is a 2004 Zinfandel, though they continue to produce it on a regular basis, and other years are available.

The thoughtful play on the words poison and zinfandel instantly draws your attention to it. There is some well written dark imagery of a supernatural winemaking process on the back label, that concludes with “Poizin, the wine to die for.”

The “Reserve” version of the wine is packed in a pine box fashioned like a casket which has the logo on the lid. In addition, the Reserve version also has the neck of the bottle dipped in red wax. The wine itself is actually very good and true to the Zinfandel pallet; The Wine Spectator gave the 2006 version an 83. The bottom line, not only do you get a nice wine, but a collectible bottle as well.

Does this at long last answer the question at upper left of Liqurious?


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Posted in:

liqueur, wine

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Poteen: Irish Moonshine

Poteen has been around so long it was banned in 1661. But still, it has not been around long enough to have its own class/type. TTB has hundreds of categories (including the obscure such as diluted rum and dried brandy) but classified Knockeen Hills with “other specialties & proprietaries” rather than in its own category. Poteen is also known as Potcheen and is traditionally made in Ireland, at a high alcohol content. The name is short for the pot (“pota” in Irish) in which it is distilled. Poteen is usually made from barley or potatoes and this one is Grain Neutral Spirits with Natural Flavors, at 110 proof. The Irish Government has frowned on Poteen for many centuries (branding it as “moonshine,” as described on the back label here). But Ireland began allowing Poteen exports in 1989, domestic sale in 1997, and sought appellation status for Poteen in 2008. The back label says:

Poteen … has been brewed as Irish strong moonshine for several centuries … Butler’s Irish book published in 1660 claimed that “It enlighteneth ye heart, casts off melancholy, keeps back old age and breaketh ye wind.”


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Posted in:

distilled spirits specialty

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