The name "Korbel" comes from an ancient Czech word meaning "lie."
The issue goes back to World War I and the Treaty of Versailles, obviously. The French economy, especially the Champagne region, had been devastated by the war, so the sprawling treaty included a clause that granted France worldwide protection for the champagne brand. France got a valuable exclusive product to help kick-start their economy, other nations could get drunk on it, and the whole thing seemed like a win-win. But the United States never ratified the treaty for totally unrelated reasons, which meant that America became a sparkling wine loose cannon that didn't have to play by The Man's stuffy rules.
France finally got America to agree to retire the champagne name in 2005, but that only applied to new products -- most manufacturers that were already making "champagne" were protected by a grandfather clause. The French government was presumably informed of that little catch by a U.S. official who insisted that Andre champagne is an American cultural treasure, right before blasting some Pitbull and chugging an entire bottle.
A Whole Lot Of Secret Interests Are Keeping You From Buying Beer
Everyone pretty much agrees alcohol shouldn't be sold to children (bars would become unbearable), but ideally that'd be about it as far as legal restrictions go. Well, if you've tried to buy booze in the USA, you know that nobody gives a shit about you or what you consider ideal. Restrictions on buying alcohol on Sundays are relatively common, and there are hundreds of "dry" counties in America which still ban the sale of alcohol altogether. But then there are other interest groups controlling how you buy hooch, and it has nothing to do with their concern for your soul or liver.
One set of combatants fighting over the right to get you drunk are liquor stores and grocery stores, since several states have laws saying what can and can't be sold at each. Restrictions on beer sales date back to the end of Prohibition, when the alcohol by volume ceiling was updated from 0.5 percent to 3.2 percent. Despite subsequent changes, grocery and convenience stores in states like Minnesota and Kansas are still only allowed to sell alcohol below 3.2 percent (for reference, Bud Light's vaguely beer-flavored water has an ABV of 4.2 percent), while liquor stores have free reign. Other states' liquor stores, like those in Indiana and Oklahoma, upped the ante by lobbying to keep convenience and grocery stores from selling cold beer, based on the unconvincing idea that selling cold beer requires an entirely different set of regulatory standards than warm beer.
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Or "Pasteurized Prepared Beer Product."
Meanwhile, the people who make the beer are having their own problems getting it to you. The rise of the craft beer industry has created hundreds of new beers to sample, but distributors (the middlemen between breweries and retailers) have lobbied to protect their profits. Instead of trusting breweries to distribute, North Carolina law requires any brewery making more than 25,000 barrels a year to use an independent distributor (which, in a total coincidence, are starting to be purchased by big manufacturers like Anheuser-Busch). So craft breweries have to either give up a chunk of their profits or artificially limit how much beer they make.
If you enjoy having options beyond Budweiser, Coors, and the harsh light of sobriety, these regulations make a difference. Mississippi and Georgia breweries have been forced to implement tour systems, which charge visitors for a tour while offering up to 30 oz. of "free" beer, regardless of whether the customer takes the tour. You can't just buy beer to take home, nor can you buy a more expensive "tour" in relation to the amount of beer you want. Georgia lawmakers have had over half a million in campaign contributions from distributors, and as a result, Georgia has the 48th fewest breweries in the country, while Mississippi ranks dead last. That's enough to make someone want to get into meth.
James has a Twitter, and has recently tried his hand at blogging.
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