We have recently heard a lot of talk from Neo-Prohibitionist about the dangers of alcohol and from the WHO that health risk starts from the first drop.

Governments in other countries such as Canada have recommended stringent drinking limits and indicated that health is put at risk with more than two drinks a week. In Ireland graphic health labels will one day soon become a fixture of alcohol bottles. Some wonder, when is this coming to the shores of America?

What is not discussed are the positives of the alcohol industry in America. First, let’s start off with a couple of principles, drinking alcohol in excess can lead to societal harms. Second, we cannot ban alcohol that was tried and miserably failed. So, what we need is a well-regulated system to control and allow people to enjoy responsibly. When I discuss a well-regulated system, I don’t allude to the fact that a middleman is necessary to artificially increase the price of product to promote temperance. I don’t think hard evidence supports such a theory.

What is needed are not scare tactics, but a robust system that keeps businesses accountable for violating laws and allows them to operate. By allowing businesses to own and operate, we help grow an economy and help promote lawful societies.

Let’s face it, our big cities are having problems with endemic crime. And let’s also face it, strict policing is sound policy, but the police can’t solve problems by themselves or perform miracles.

What will disturb crime more than anything is economic development. In my lifetime there were neighborhoods in Chicago you would never go to because they were considered unsafe. Five to ten years later these neighborhoods became safe and great places to live because of economic development drove growth in these neighborhoods.

Recently, Industry Ales opened a Craft Brewery in Chicago, which represents the only craft brewery in Downtown Chicago. They opened it on the 200th blook of South Wabash, a street that has seen better days. The 200th block is famous for the Central Camera shop which has been around since 1899. Unfortunately, it burned to the ground during the George Floyd protest in 2020. Thankfully they were able to rebuild and reopen in 2022.

The point is the 200th block of Wabash had seen better days and recently it looks dirtier than anytime in the recent past.

Industry Ales opening has the potential to flip the narrative and turn things around for the 200th Block, which is important because the 200th block sits a mere 2 blocks away from a Chicago Treasure, the Art Institute. With its beautiful design, high ceilings, great food, and great beer, this craft brewery has the ability to drive visitors and tourism to its place and drive a healthy economic engine for the area.

Now the WHO and other groups may put their theories out there on risk and how alcohol is bad for you. But they look at the problem from a severely focused lens.

Maybe just maybe, alcohol may save lives, opening a craft brewery may be the engine that is needed for economic development and with it, it may turn around of a street or neighborhood. Crime and economic development work inversely, more of one means less of the other. This intangible benefit may have been missed by the WHO, so I want to make sure they have it!