One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer

Although it was several decades ago (1977) when George Thorogood recorded the song, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” according to a story in Sunday’s Great Falls Tribune, the past decade has been very good for the sale of whiskey, vodka, and rum in Montana.

According to the Tribune, “Sales of distilled spirits such as whiskey, vodka and rum increased by more than 250,000 cases, or 53 percent, to 732,223 cases, from 2003 to 2013, according to data from the Montana Revenue Department’s Liquor Control Division.”

Ah yes, the Montana Revenue Department’s Liquor Control Division. The key word in that title is “Control.”

In many states, you can find a liquor store every few blocks or even buy a bottle of whiskey at your corner convenience store, but not in Montana. In Montana, you have to locate a state-contracted liquor store which probably has a crusty old fellow working there who seems annoyed that you are taking him away from his television show to shop.

It might be easier to buy moonshine.

The Tribune explains how it’s done in Montana:

In Montana, hard liquor sales are managed by the Liquor Control Division. It orders and controls its sale through a large Helena warehouse that ships to 100 private agency liquor stores around the state, which in turn sell to the general public and bars and restaurants.

It’s not like the “control” Montana has in place for its hard liquor is decreasing alcohol-related crashes on Montana’s roads. Montana led the nation in 2012 with 44% of the fatalities being alcohol-related.

For those folks who want to see an increase of tax revenue, if the state made hard liquor easier to purchase, you’d probably see a dramatic increase of revenue from those sales going to the state.

As for the most popular hard liquor, the Tribune reported, “Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey and Nikolai Vodka, the top two selling brands in 2003, kept the same positions in the 2013 top 10 list, with Black Velvet increasing nearly 3,000 cases sold to 45,042, and Nikolai jumping nearly 14,000 cases sold to 34,573.”

As for my whiskey-drinking readers, I leave you with this quote, “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” – Raymond Chandler

## DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE ##

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