Monday, June 12, 2017


As you perhaps know, last Saturday was World Gin Day, just like any other day you may say.  Still, it turns out this is an ancient tradition going back to 2014.  There’s a website which says “The concept is simple: get people enjoying gin together all over the world … A day for everyone and anyone (over drinking age of course…!) to celebrate and enjoy gin! Whether you’re already a fan of the juniper spirit, or looking for an intro, World Gin Day is the perfect opportunity to get involved.”

I did my part (above) but I couldn’t help thinking these festivities might require a rather specialized definition of “world.”  Drink a lot of gin in Isfahan Province, do they?  But that was too easy, so I started looking for gin stories from unlikely but possible places, and I came up trumps with an article on the East African News website about gin production in Rwanda.  The less than zesty headline runs “Rwanda: Standards Board, PSF feud could cost 500 jobs.”  But beneath it there’s some fascinating stuff. The article continues:

      “Since April 2014, RBS has been pushing local gin manufacturers, a budding industry of about 10 players, to start packaging their products in glass bottles of volumes ranging from 250ml, 500ml, 750ml and 1,000ml.
“The manufacturers currently use plastic bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) in packaging of the gin products mainly consumed by low income earners with the price of the smallest gin bottle costing less than Rwf400.” 
(That’s about 47 US cents or 38 pence, Sterling)

The article then quotes some scientific research about those plastic bottles, which is by no means unfamiliar:
“A sip from the water bottle sends hormones straight into the throat  … Water, gin and other fluids in plastic bottles appears to contain far more estrogen-like substances than water in glass bottles. The effect on snails is very clear, say German researchers who believe that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
“Endocrine disrupters are believed to be the main reason for men’s declining sperm quality, and that more and more boys are born with malformed genitals.”
           Just one more thing to worry about as you sip your martini.

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