What to drink when the lights go out

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2008

The first thing I think of drinking when I think about my future electric bill is a lot - a lot of anything. Alcohol never really makes anything better, although it does make some things more tolerable. The economy, Juneau's electricity crisis, and bills in general tend to make one want to relax with a few dozen cold beverages.

Unfortunately, all of the above inhibit our ability to afford quality beverages. Luckily, I have a talent for finding deals and I look for value brands all the time. I am generally the last guy to flinch at prices but with the present state of affairs, I find myself watching the wallet a lot closer then usual.

Bars almost always have something on sale. Although the glorious "happy hour" concept is not permitted here, bars usually have specials. Bartenders usually won't tell you what is on sale, but if asked they will generally point you in the money-saving direction.

Most places have a cheap draft and sometimes the product is even high quality. There are various reasons for running specials: The bar might have gotten a deal on the product, or they might have an excess, or they might be closing it out. Sometimes a bar will run a shot or drink special with promotional pricing in order to increase the popularity of specific brand. You can usually save anywhere from one to three dollars a drink on specials like this.

Be sure to remember your bartender during these difficult times and, as always, if you can't afford to tip, then you can't afford to drink in a bar; go to the liquor store.

The best deals in the liquor store are always in the close-out bin. Most liquor stores have sales as well, and although the selections are usually not the best, I've noticed that the chain stores have the best sales.

Volume purchases are another way to save a few bucks. Many places have discounts for six or more bottles of wine or liquor and the best price on liquor is always on the big bottles - 1.75 liters or 1.5 liters.

Whether at a bar or the liquor store, always take into consideration the origin of your drink of choice. If it came from the other side of the planet from a country whose currency is substantially stronger than our own - most countries at this point - it would be a good guess that the shipping and currency difference will have made the price of that particular beverage go up.

And remember that just because the lights are off doesn't mean the bar is closed; perhaps they are just saving a few dollars on the electric bill. Good luck and happy drinking.

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