America's Last Blockbuster Store Gets Its Own Beer

Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler, Grid Engine, Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0
Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler, Grid Engine, Wikimedia Commons // CC0 1.0

Blockbuster may be all but extinct, but the nostalgia surrounding the once-ubiquitous video rental chain is stronger than ever. Now, as The Takeout reports, 10 Barrel Brewing Company is releasing a beer that's perfect for nights spent reminiscing over the blue-and-yellow VHS cases of your childhood.

The new beverage, a collaboration between 10 Barrel and the last operating Blockbuster store—located in Bend, Oregon, where 10 Barrel is based—is appropriately named The Last Blockbuster. The brew is a German-style black ale with hints of cocoa and red licorice, a throwback to the movie theater treats displayed in front of most Blockbuster registers.

The brewery said in a statement that the beer "pairs perfectly with buttery theater popcorn and your favorite movie-sized chocolate with a light body, smooth finish, and hints of nostalgia.”

Naturally, 10 Barrel is launching its new creation with a party at the Blockbuster store in Bend. After the September 21 event, the beer will be available at 10 Barrel's six brewpub locations in Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, and California. But just like Blockbuster the company, The Last Blockbuster won't be around forever. It will only be available for a limited time, so you better start hoarding it like it's a DVD you don't plan on returning.

[h/t The Takeout]

Craft Beer is the Latest Casualty of the Government Shutdown

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Nearly three weeks in, the butting of heads in Washington has nullified a number of federal operations. National parks have fallen into disarray; Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are calling in sick rather than show up to airports to work without pay. Now the government shutdown has claimed yet another casualty: craft beer.

According to Business Insider, the federal approval process for new beers has been halted as a result of the impasse over the contested funding for border security. Labels and recipes for new beers, wines, and other alcoholic beverages are reviewed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which has closed during the shutdown. Without the bureau's stamp of approval, new and seasonal varieties of craft beers cannot be distributed or sold across state lines.

While this is not an issue for larger, mass-market offerings like Budweiser, smaller breweries that rely on an assortment of new flavors are feeling the impact. Interboro Spirits and Ales of Brooklyn releases new beers weekly; If the shutdown continues, their February sales will suffer, eating into their revenues.

But even an immediate resolution to the situation is no guarantee breweries will rebound. Because the bureau is still accepting applications for labels and even new brewery locations requiring certification, breweries will have to wait for the backlog to be cleared before being given approval to resume normal operations. Come summer, that could mean fewer craft beer options and reduced profits for small businesses that depend on a rotating selection of beverages to drive interest and fuel gatherings.

Until the shutdown is resolved, it appears a lot of craft beer will be sitting in inventory, with brewers hoping the political head-butting won’t break any records. The longest government freeze in history came in 1995, when Republicans advanced a budget met with resistance by President Bill Clinton. That lasted 21 days. Clinton later had a craft beer named in his honor, Exile Chill Clinton, which was distributed in Des Moines, Iowa. The brew was infused with 750 hemp seeds.

[h/t Business Insider]

Swearing Off Alcohol for 'Dry January' Might Have Benefits for Months, According to Survey

iStock.com/BrianAJackson
iStock.com/BrianAJackson

Traditionally, alcohol-related “challenges” have involved seeing how much college kids can drink before requiring medical attention. For "Dry January," the goal is quite different. This challenge, which has roots in a 2014 campaign promoted by the nonprofit Alcohol Change UK, invites participants to give up alcoholic drinks for the entire month. While that might seem to have only short-term consequences of increased lucidity and non-slurred speech, a new survey indicates the benefits of "Dry January" might last for months.

Researchers at the University of Sussex took a closer look at people who underwent the challenge in 2017 and then followed up to see how the dry spell might have changed their drinking habits. Of the 2821 people surveyed, they were able to follow up with 1715 of them in February and 816 in August. Collectively, respondents reported drinking one less day per week than they did prior to the challenge—an average of 3.3 days, down from 4.3 days. They drank a lesser volume of alcohol overall and also stated they got drunk less often, with an average of 2.1 days spent per month pretty much hammered, down from 3.4 days prior to the challenge.

Richard de Visser, the University of Sussex psychologist who headed up the survey, said in a press release that taking the month off may have helped people reconsider the role of alcohol in their lives, with a large percentage of respondents reporting better sleep and more energy during their teetotaling. De Visser also stated that people who failed to complete the challenge—meaning they drank alcohol before January came to a close—also reported decreased consumption overall.

Because the survey was self-reported, it’s possible their impressions of their own alcohol consumption are inaccurate—as with food, people tend to underestimate. But abstaining during "Dry January" still carries a demonstrable series of benefits, from saving money on booze to weight loss. Try it yourself and see.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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