Cheap liquor: Pay for the booze, not the buzz

Is there anything creepier than a little kid wearing a hat featuring the Bacardi bat or a T-shirt advertising Jack Daniels? Isn't that a major warning sign for the local Child Protective Services bureau?

I'm always a little leery of corporate advertising, but it seems to me like it's really gotten out of hand with alcohol companies. Somehow, beverages that were once merely tools for getting plastered have become personality statements, shortcuts that consumers can use to tell each other about their marital status, mental health, and value systems. Frankly, that's a lot of pressure to put on an after-work cocktail!

In addition to complicating the joy of drinking, this process has also lowered the quality of booze. Most of the big advertisers are second or third rate spirits. However, through the miracle of marketing, they've managed to eclipse their far superior brethren. In the process, they've also raised their prices to the point that they are also among the most expensive brands. In other words, consumers are now paying more money for cruddier booze simply so they can impress their compatriots with their taste and distinction.