Geoalcoholics – Russia’s unhappy truth
February 26, 2010
By Andy Orr

Map of the alcohol belts of EuropeEarlier this month, we posted about Russia’s heavy alcohol consumption levels as a follow up to our Healthy Planet Index. It turns out that Russians may be what Alex De Jonge has called “geoalcoholics” in his book “Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union.”

This discovery all stemmed (no pun intended) from a link that Tyler Cowan posted on the Marginal Revolution blog. It turns out that Europe has three fairly distinct alcohol belts – wine to the south, beer in the middle and vodka up north. Much can be explained from climate and history, and the post on Strange Maps says it all, or at least a lot. There is always more at Wikipedia, but I love the Terry Pratchett quotation and comment at the end of the Strange Maps post, “Geography is just physics slowed down, with a couple of trees stuck in it. And grapes, grain and potatoes.”

Whoever could have known that a belt of alcohol was more than just a drink?

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