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June 21, 2007

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From a French (with Polish family) point of view : I always assumed that vodka and kerosene were the same...
Vodka is just something people from Russia drink because water is not safe. But now they can't make the difference. (ask our President, at the last G8 Summit he couldn't either.)

I heard this very story on National Public Radio (NPR) mid-week last. It emphasized the discrepant ingredients in different types of vodkas (wheat - Russia and Sweden; barley - Finland, and rye and potato - Poland). Standardizing on potatoes or grain is a good thing, however those 70% that drink it regularly (also consume 70% of the EU supply) - do we think that they really know the difference? I mean, it's not like they are having temper tantrums because they have potato, grain, beet, AND grape distilled vodka. Consumers want choices (come on, we all get lost in the toothpaste aisle)!

I am not certain as to the reasoning for standardization - maybe it is the dying off of the agave plant in Mexico (base of Tequila) to accommodate the planting of corn to quell the fuel needs of the United States! Sounds like the demand for Vodka could go up and perhaps these are preventative measures to ensure a top of the line univeral offering...my last visit to the liquor store revealed the following inventory: stolichnaya, popov, finlandia, grey goose, belvedere, kettle one, absolut, chopin, van gogh, hangar one, 3 olives, luchsosova (sp), tanqueray sterling, smirnoff, skye, effen..some of which are potato vodkas..point being - we have lots of choices for lots of things. Let's hope the FDA doesn't start questioning some of the home brews that make it...

Cagouille: That's some expensive drinking water. Thanks for your comment!

Carey: I'm not sure why I care, since I'm not much of a vodka drinker. I guess I just feel like, in general, the trend is to lower standards for everything. What about raising standards? Or even just maintaining them? So, to hell with vodka. As long as I have my beloved Maker's Mark and Sauza Hornitos, I'll take my potatoes fried.

In fact it's a battle often fought in Europe (EU) these days : terroir (cf. wikipedia) vs Capitalism (a swearword, here).

For example : in Alsace they used to sell an excellent wine, Tokay, but alas, it's originally a Hungarian wine ; now in Alsace they sell it under the name "Pinot Gris", and only Hungarian producers can sell Tokay.

Another example : Feta (Greek cheese). Denmark and Germany fought (legally) for a long time against Greece to produce feta.

Hearing that Britain (America's well known Trojan Horse in EU) is "the world's second-largest vodka maker" sounds very wrong. (if you're not convinced, ask José Bové)

p.s. : in France, McDonald's competitor is from Belgium.

(please, excuse my poor language skills, and my not-so-french humour)

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