Deaths Mount to 150 in India’s Second Toxic Liquor Tragedy This Month

Deaths Mount to 150 in India’s Second Toxic Liquor Tragedy This Month

GUWAHATI, India (Reuters) – At least 150 people have died from drinking toxic bootleg liquor in a northeastern state of India, the second such tragedy in the country this month, with many more hospitalized as authorities try to pinpoint the source and round up perpetrators.

The wife of a tea plantation worker, who consumed bootleg liquor, looks on as she stands next to her husband being treated, in a corridor of a government-run hospital in Golaghat in the northeastern state of Assam, India, February 23, 2019. REUTERS/Anuwar Hazarika

The figure is based on reports from three hospitals in the eastern part of the state, Assam. Authorities had estimated the number of dead at 84 on Saturday.

“We have still more than 170 people admitted in hospitals with new patients being brought in from nearby areas. Some developed complications two days after consuming the liquor,” Assam’s health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told Reuters.

“We have sent samples for forensic examinations to ascertain the ingredients used in that particular lot of spurious liquor that led to the deaths of so many people,” he added.

The Assam liquor tragedy comes almost two weeks after more than 100 people died from drinking tainted alcohol in two northern Indian states, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, in the worst such case in the country since 2011.

Deaths from illegally-produced alcohol, known locally as “hooch” or “country liquor”, are a regular occurrence in India, where many cannot afford branded spirits.

In Assam, bootleg liquor production and consumption is usually found in and around the state’s tea plantations where it is consumed by poorly-paid laborers.

There were about 10 different distilleries producing the spurious liquor that went to various tea plantations and other areas, said Mrinal Saikia, a local lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules Assam and the country.

But the main ingredient used in the country liquor was supplied by one person from a nearby area, he said.

“Close to about 1,500 people must have consumed that lot of spurious liquor on Thursday that led to the deaths of 150,” Saikia told Reuters.

“We are interrogating them and will soon find out the source and people involved in supplying that toxic lot of spirit,” said Mukesh Agarwal, Assam’s additional police chief.

Reporting by Zarir Hussain, Writing by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Martin Howell and Himani Sarkar

Deaths mount to 150 in India’s second toxic liquor tragedy this month


AG Opinion: OPPJ Can Approve Sunday Alcohol Sales

AG Opinion: OPPJ Can Approve Sunday Alcohol Sales

Bonnie Bolden and Ashley Mott

Last November, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury asked the Attorney General’s Office if Sunday alcohol sales in the unincorporated parts of the parish had to go to the public for a vote.

This week, they got an answer.

In an opinion dated Sept. 24, the Attorney General’s Office stated that OPPJ can set Sunday alcohol sales by ordinance, without voter approval at the polls. Additionally, that ordinance does not have to be applied to all unincorporated parts of the parish.

The issue most recently came up when Calhoun business owner Laddie Aulakh addressed the police jurors and said the lack of Sunday sales was losing some business for his grocery store.

OPPJ requested the AG opinion because of conflicting state and local laws and state supreme court rulings tied to liquor sales.

Sunday sales background

Before 1986, blue laws prohibited the Sunday sale of most goods until a legislative statute adopted that year weakened the restrictions. The statute said parishes and municipalities could prohibit the opening of certain businesses or the sale of certain stock but only if approved by the voters in an election.

In the mid-1990s, a state court ruled that alcohol would be considered merchandise in a store and an election would be necessary to prohibit Sunday sales.

An election followed on Nov. 18, 1995, and the voters of Ouachita Parish supported restricting Sunday sales, 14,023 for to 10,361 against.

The wording of the local proposition was very specific. Instead of giving the police jury the power to regulate Sunday sales, it instructed the jury to prohibit the sale with the exception of restaurant licenses.

The ordinance states “Shall the Parish of Ouachita, state of Louisiana, adopt an ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages in the unincorporated areas of Ouachita Parish on Sunday, except for those establishments which possess a Class R license…”

A later Supreme Court decision, Silver Dollar LiquorInc. vs. Red River Parish Police Jury, said specific state laws governing alcohol already existed in Title 26. Under Title 26, parishes can regulate alcohol without an election.

The current opinion

In the opinion issued this week the AG’s Office cites the Silver Dollar case as the ruling precedent.

The opinion notes that the office has recalled several of its previously rendered opinions, including one that was factually the same as the one OPPJ attorney Jay Mitchell submitted.

Changes to Sunday liquor sales would be considered new regulation.

Mitchell also asked if a change to Sunday liquor sales would have to apply to all the unincorporated portions of the parish. The AG’s Office could not find statutory or case law that implied a change would have to affect all areas of the parish.

Jack Clampit, District B, said he’d want to let residents in the same zone as the business vote on the issue. He wasn’t sure if it would be by ward or district line.

“It’s their choice to make. Not mine,” he said Monday night.

On Tuesday, Clampit said state law doesn’t allow issues to be put on the ballot as a survey to voters. He’d like it to go to a vote from the public, but that’s not feasible.

He and Robinson are asking for input on their Facebook pages to gauge interest in Sunday alcohol sales.

Clampit said a proposed ordinance will go on the police jury agenda for the Oct. 1 meeting, but they haven’t determined if the proposal will be for part or all of the unincorporated areas of the parish.


Fraternity Group Votes to Ban Hard Alcohol at Houses, Events

Fraternity Group Votes to Ban Hard Alcohol at Houses, Events

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The association for fraternities in the U.S. and Canada says most of its members have one year to ban hard alcohol under a rule adopted during its recent annual meeting.

The North-American Interfraternity Conference said Tuesday that in “a near-unanimous vote” on Aug. 27, its 66 international and national men’s fraternities adopted the rule prohibiting hard alcohol from fraternity chapters and events unless served by licensed third-party vendors. The member fraternities have until Sept. 1, 2019, to implement the rule across their more than 6,100 chapters on 800 campuses.

The rule adoption follows the alcohol-related deaths last year of fraternity pledges at Louisiana State University and Penn State University.

Conference president and CEO Judson Horras says the new rule shows the fraternities’ focus on the safety of their members.

This Louisiana Craft Beer Pioneer ‘Went Green’ Long Before It Was Cool

This Louisiana Craft Beer Pioneer ‘Went Green’ Long Before It Was Cool

Abita Brewing Company has been a tastemaker since 1986, both in terms of craft beer – you’ve probably sipped their Purple Haze – and in sustainability. Before Heinekin opened a carbon neutral brewery or Sierra Nevada installed a Tesla Powerpack system, Abita invested in clean tech because they felt it was the right thing to do. Inhabitat visited brewery headquarters in Abita Springs, Louisiana and spoke with President David Blossman and Director of Brewing Operations Jaime Jurado about the decision to go green well before other breweries in the United States.

Abita was the first brewery in North America to put in an energy-efficient Merlin Brewhouse – or the vessels in which beer is brewed – back in 2001. Craft beer wasn’t as big back then – Blossman said business was “sideways at best” but Abita took a chance and installed the expensive brewhouse because they figured craft beer would eventually take off.

Jurado said, “Dave made decisions on renewable tech long before anyone else did.” One such decision was the installation of a rooftop solar array atop their bottling facility. Every year the solar panels generate around 116,180 kilowatt-hours (kWh), avoiding around 81.3 tons of carbon dioxide. 25 percent of the bottling plant’s roof is covered in the photovoltaics, which provide around five to seven percent of all the electricity Abita consumes.

A wastewater treatment plant behind the brewery provides more power. The plant treats all the brewery wastewater, and bacteria anaerobically produce biogas, which comprises 17 percent of the natural gas the brewery uses.

Although the Merlin brewhouse was forward-thinking when Abita first installed it, they recently put in the Krones EquiTherm brewhouse, which is even more energy- and water-efficient. It was the first one installed in the United States, and also allows for more flexibility in the types of beer Abita can brew. Heat from the brewhouse is recovered and reused; Jurado said, “We use a lot of heat but we recover a majority of the heat so we net out saving energy.”

Breweries also use carbon dioxide (CO2) in their process, and it has to be heated to stay in a gas state. Meanwhile, warm water used in the packaging process needs to be cooled, so Abita came up with a system to accomplish both tasks and reduce electricity costs by around $6,000 a year. With the energy recovery system, they can use CO2 in a non-contact way to turn it into gas and cool the water.

Even beyond the brewing process, Abita considers the environment. Jurado said, “Our bottle is not the industry standard bottle, which is called the long neck. You see them in Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser, Shiner products. Dave uses the heritage bottle which uses 11 percent less glass and 11 percent less energy.” The squatter bottle isn’t as noticeable on the shelf, but as Jurado said, “11 percent spoke a language.” The recyclable bottle requires less paper for labels and is still the standard 12 ounces. Plus more cases of beer inside heritage bottles fit on trucks.

But the most sustainable packaging is stainless steel kegs, according to Jurado, which can be refilled over and over. Larger breweries only have around nine percent of sales in kegs, but they comprise 30 percent of Abita’s sales.


Blossman told Inhabitat, “If you’re going to do something, you want to use less natural resources whether that be in natural gas or grain or water – they’re all important.”

As many breweries do, Abita gives their spent grain – or the grain leftover after the brewing process – to farmers for feed. But the brewery is located close to dairy farmers so their spent grain doesn’t even have to travel that far.

Abita Brewing Company fits right in to the town of Abita Springs, Louisiana, which recently became the first in the state and 24th American city to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. In St. Tammany Parish, where Abita is located, there are currently only three electric vehicle charging stations, but Abita Springs will soon have the fourth, sponsored by the brewery.

The brewery has also given back in the form of charity beers, such as the Save Our Shore pilsner they brewed following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion. They raised over $600,000 that went towards restoring coastal wetland habitats and helping struggling fishermen and their families.

If you want to find out more about green brewing at Abita, check out their website

See article online at Inhabitant This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool by Lacy Cooke

Beer to be sold to the common man in Tiger Stadium this year

Beer to be sold to the common man in Tiger Stadium this year

Purple and Gold fans can leave the flasks at home cause Death Valley’s got a new option, The Chute, for those looking to toast the Tigers in victory or wash down the bitter taste of defeat with a cold brew. Any fan with a ticket can buy and drink beer in “The Chute” as long as they stay in that area.

Advocate Sports Columnist Scott Rabalais says it’s a step forward for fan equality.

“Last year they converted the very top upper deck into a premium seating area, and you could buy alcohol there. People who sit in the student section and the regular seats can’t buy alcohol.”

The bar will serve soft drinks, food, and beer, and is located on the south side of the stadium.

Currently fans are barred from drinking booze outside of premium area. Rabalais says even though the 1,250 person capacity is just a fraction of Death Valley’s total game day population, it should help LSU incentive more people to catch the Tigers live, and for the duration of games.

“Lot of people now want to tailgate and stay at that tailgate, or leave at halftime. Unless it’s a big game, or a close game, you see a huge migration of people out of tiger stadium at half time.”

LSU has been appealing he SEC’s drinking policy that limits consumption in stadiums. Rabalais says after the Chute takes off on the September 8th opening home game against Southeastern, other SEC teams are likely to notice, and rally to have the policy changed conference wide.

“This is going to be a success and I think they will try to do it more and I think other schools around the SEC will see that and try to have it changed.”

Posted on 8/24/2018 3:03:00 AM.

Tiger Stadium’s New Skyline Club Promises Club-Level Living at a Lower Price — and Beer

Tiger Stadium’s New Skyline Club Promises Club-Level Living at a Lower Price — and Beer

Beer and wine are coming to the top reaches of Tiger Stadium.

The university is turning the south end zone upper seating area into a premium space, allowing ticket holders in that section to purchase beer and wine. LSU is dubbing the new section the “Skyline Club,” an outdoor-only premium area that opens this season.

“That’s the unique part about it: You’re outdoors, in Tiger Stadium, enjoying the game,” said Eddie Nunez, LSU’s deputy director of athletics overseeing projects. “It’s going to be pretty cool.”

Prices for Skyline Club tickets will range between $45 and $120, depending on the game. Ticket holders have access to an all-you-can-eat special menu that’s included in the price of the ticket. Additional menu items, including beer and wine, will be available at an additional cost.

The Skyline Club will encompass the entire 1,500-seat south end zone outdoor seating area, from sections 650 to 658. The Skyline Club joins the south end zone Stadium Club and suites as premium seating areas in Tiger Stadium, the sections allowed to sell alcohol.

“We are excited to be able to offer this new concept in Tiger Stadium to our fans,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement. “The new Skyline Club will provide an affordable club-level experience for fans, while also giving us an opportunity to continue to enhance and provide unique ways to entertain them.”

Aramark, a Philadelphia-based concession company that entered into a 10-year contract with LSU this summer, has been working on this project for several weeks, Nunez said. The school is hoping to partner with local restaurants to expand food menus for those seated in the Skyline Club.


The creation of the club comes at an interesting time in college athletics. Stadiums, arenas and even ballparks are moving toward a seating model that includes more premium areas — an effort to entice fans to attend games.

The sticking point for LSU is a Southeastern Conference policy prohibiting alcohol sales in general seating areas. Sales are allowed in premium spaces only. The policy has been a much-debated topic over the years, specifically between LSU and the SEC office.

Alleva has lobbied for stadium-wide beer sales. He says it will provide schools with expanded revenue streams, could help increase attendance and could make fans less likely to drink heavily before entering games.

LSU has allowed alcohol sales in its premium seating of the football and baseball stadiums for years. The school added more premium seating areas (Stadium Club) during the south end zone expansion of Tiger Stadium in 2014.

The school also plans to add premium club seating to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, and it may at some point create a sports bar of sorts on the ground level of the south end zone, Alleva said this summer.

The sale of beer and wine is spreading quickly throughout college football.

About 40 schools offered beer, at least, to the general public last year, and the NCAA allowed beer to be served at the College World Series last summer. Alcohol is sold at most bowl games and College Football Playoff events, including bowls tied to the SEC — like the Sugar and Outback.

Ohio State plans to serve beer and wine stadium-wide this season, and Texas made $1.8 million in its first year of selling alcohol stadium-wide in 2015.

The basis for the SEC’s alcohol policy is public safety, commissioner Greg Sankey said. It’s “drawing a line,” he said, between those with “large quantities” of alcohol and football players, some of them underage.

“There are some imperfections with that policy,” he said in April, “and that’s why it continues to be a point of conversation.”

The top most section of Tiger Stadium’s south end zone is being turned into a premium seating area.
The metal bleachers above the stadium club’s purple chair-back seats are now part of the Skyline Club.

PUBLISHED AUG 16, 2017 AT 11:50 AM | UPDATED AUG 16, 2017 AT 12:53 PM
New Skyline Club promises club-level living at a lower price — and beer

Mexican Authorities Seize Illicit Alcohol in Crackdown at Resorts

Mexican Authorities Seize Illicit Alcohol in Crackdown at Resorts

Mexican authorities swept through 31 resorts, restaurants and nightclubs in Cancun and Playa del Carmen in recent days, suspending operations at two for unsanitary alcohol and in the process discovered a sketchy manufacturer that was supplying tourist hot spots.

Regulators seized 10,000 gallons of illicit alcohol from the company, noting its “bad manufacturing practices,” according to government officials. They did not release the company’s name.

Among those suspended: the lobby bar in the Iberostar Paraiso Maya, a resort in the complex where Abbey Conner, a 20-year-old Wisconsin woman, drowned amid suspicious circumstances while on vacation with her family in January.

Other vacationers later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they had blacked out and been assaulted at the resort after drinking at the beach and pool bars.

Regulators also temporarily shut down Fat Tuesday, a bar in Cancun. They seized a total of 90 gallons of illicit alcohol from the two places, including some from Iberostar’s lobby bar that was unlabeled.

The results of the crackdown were announced Friday at a news conference in Mexico. Officials provided information about the announcement, including an audio recording, to the Journal Sentinel.

“This is awesome; this is huge,” said Ginny McGowan, Abbey Conner’s mother.

“It’s needed. There is obviously stuff going on that needs to be cleaned up and looked into further,” said McGowan, who lives in Pewaukee, Wis. “They need to investigate and interview employees. This makes sense. This needs to happen.”

The crackdown follows an investigation by the Journal Sentinel, launched last month, that exposed how dozens of travelers to some upscale, all-inclusive resorts around Cancun and Playa del Carmen have been blacking out after drinking small and moderate amounts of alcohol.

Some have been assaulted and robbed. All reported little or no recollection of what happened. The incidents occurred at various resorts, to men and women of varying ages, single and in pairs.

An attorney hired by Conner’s family noted in a report given to the family in July that “low-quality” alcohol was being served and mixed at Iberostar’s Paraiso del Mar bar where Conner and her brother, Austin, had been drinking before they were found floating in the pool.

Austin, then 22, awoke with a concussion and gash on his forehead, and no memory of what happened.

The Conner family _ and others who have blacked out _ suspect tainted alcohol or targeted drugging may be to blame, but Mexican authorities have not disclosed any connections.

The Mexican government has long been aware of its problems with counterfeit and otherwise illicit alcohol. As much as 36 percent of the alcohol consumed in the country is illegal, according to a 2017 report by Euromonitor International.

That means the alcohol is sold or produced under unregulated circumstances and is potentially dangerous. The study, conducted in collaboration with the nation’s Tax Administration Service, found that was an improvement from two years earlier, when 43 percent was illegal.

The national health authority in Mexico has seized more than 1.4 million gallons of adulterated alcohol since 2010 _ not just from small local establishments, but from hotels and other entertainment areas, according to a 2017 report by the country’s Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks.

The U.S. State Department failed to warn travelers about the alcohol risks in resort areas until the Journal Sentinel’s investigation.

In the case of Kukulkan, the lobby bar at Iberostar Paraiso Maya, inspectors found unsanitary conditions including water leakage, lack of disinfectant and expired and unlabeled alcohol.

Other establishments in Playa del Carmen were cited for lack of maintenance, cleanliness, order and documentation, including the Hotel Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, Hotel Iberostar Grand Paraiso, La Choperia, Los forgotten, McCarthy’s Coco Bongo, Mexico Loco and Guy Fieri’s.

Those cited for the same reasons in Cancun include: Iberostar Hotel, Hooters, La Vaquita, Blue Gecko, Dady’O, Mr. Frogs, Crab House, Fred’s House, Porfirio’s Cancun, The Distillery, La Casa del Habano, and Carlos’n Charlie’s.

Alvaro Perez Vega, the commissioner of sanitation, called Quintana Roo _ where Cancun and Riviera Maya are located _ the “most important tourist destination in the country,” and said ensuring the safety of visitors there is a top priority.

“We are continuing to work together with the secretary of tourism to ensure the health of the tourists in the region and the rest of the country,” Perez Vega said.

Officials did not say whether they were referring any of their findings for criminal prosecution. Nor did they reveal whether they are investigating the circumstances surrounding Conner’s death.

The head of the Mexican legislative health commission said last month that they are planning a broader effort to crack down on counterfeit alcohol. Details are expected to be revealed in September, he said.

By Raquel Rutledge Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted Aug 15, 2017 at 12:13 PM Updated Aug 15, 2017 at 12:15 PM
mexican authorities seize illicit alcohol at resorts

A Beer a Day Helps Prevent Stroke and Heart Disease, New Study Suggest

A Beer a Day Helps Prevent Stroke and Heart Disease, New Study Suggest

A pint of beer a day could help reduce the risk of having a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease, new research has found.

A study of 80,000 adults found the natural decline in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, in the body was slowed by a moderate intake of alcohol.

The results showed that one or two daily servings of alcohol for a man, or up to one for a woman, was associated with a slower HDL decline than either not drinking at all, or drinking too heavily.

While the trend applied to both beer and spirits, the effect was most visible for drinkers of beer, the Pennsylvania State University study found.

The research, which was conducted among Chinese adults, did not yield enough data on the effect of HDL decline from wine consumption to be able to draw conclusions.

Current UK Government advice recommends that both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week, the equivalent of six pints of average strength beer.

The previous guidelines, ditched in January this year, advised a limit of 21 units for men and 14 for women.

Presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, the new research showed that moderate drinking arrested the decline in HDL as people get older more than twice as much than heavy drinking, which is defined as more than one daily serving of alcohol women and more than two for men.

The scientists said more studies were needed to determine whether the alcohol-HDL association applied to non-Chinese populations.

Source: The Telegraph
Henry Bodkin
13 November 2016

New Initiative to Bring Nutrition Facts to Beer Bottles, Cans

New Initiative to Bring Nutrition Facts to Beer Bottles, Cans

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) –Changes are on the way to the nation’s most popular alcoholic beverage, but isn’t affecting what’s in the bottles and cans, but what is placed on them.

The Beer Institute has announced a new initiative, known as the Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, which aims to “provide consumers with meaningful information about the products they consume to empower their decision-making.”

This new initiative means more specific information will be provided about the beer consumers are drinking, including calorie count, carbohydrates, protein, fat, and Alcohol by Volume or Alcohol by Weight information.

In addition, that label would also disclose ingredients in the beer, either on the label or secondary packaging, along with a reference to a website with more information, or a QR code.

Freshness dates or a date of production would also go on all labels or primary containers.

According to The Beer Institute, which serves as the national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, the members companies who represent “more than 81 percent of the volume of beer sold in the U.S. have already agreed to comply with these standards.”

Among those the association lists as agreeing with the new label standard includes, Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries, as well as the Craft Brew Alliance.

“Consumers can expect to see this information in the marketplace immediately, and participating brewers and importers are being encouraged to achieve compliance across their product lines by the end of 2020,” The Beer Institute said in a statement on their website.

New Initiative to Bring Nutrition to Beer Bottles, Cans

Economist: State could face up to $200M deficit this year

Economist: State could face up to $200M deficit this year

An economist who helps decide Louisiana’s state income forecast has delivered grim news to Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative leaders, saying the state could end up with as much as a $200 million deficit this year.

If the expectation pans out, it would worsen state financial problems in the upcoming budget year that begins July 1.

Jim Richardson, an LSU economist who serves as the independent member of the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference, said he met Thursday with Edwards, Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Taylor Barras, among others, to talk about how far business tax collections have fallen below the state’s official forecast.

Richardson’s assessment was Louisiana appeared on track to collect up to $200 million less than the $359 million expected from corporate income and franchise taxes in the budget year that ends June 30.

“Unless it’s a real miracle, I don’t think we’re going to make it,” Richardson said Thursday night.

This year’s budget was built on the income forecast. If the tax dollars fall short, the state would end the financial year with a deficit that would have to be closed in the next year.

Oil prices have rebounded a bit above the state forecast, but individual income and sales taxes are sluggish, so improving oil prices won’t bail out the state budget, Richardson said.

“There was no sign that they were going to make up that difference or allow us to offset in some other way,” he said.

The news comes while lawmakers are meeting in a special session called by Edwards to raise taxes to help lessen cuts in next year’s budget, when the governor’s administration estimates the state already is $600 million short of the money needed to continue all current government services.

Richardson said the state’s tax collections for the budget year that ends June 30 won’t be certain until September. His figures are an estimate. But he said he wanted to provide the information to the governor and legislative leaders so they can start planning for the expected problem, which would be rolled into the upcoming budget year that begins July 1.

“We won’t be absolutely sure about this until September, and I hope I’m wrong,” the economist said. “But I didn’t want it to be a surprise.”

Without accounting for any possible deficit from this year, lawmakers haven’t agreed to raise the $600 million Edwards sought for next year’s budget. The House has agreed to tax changes that would generate about $220 million next year, while the Senate backed a tax package that could provide at least $400 million.