Again, the consumption of beer at sixteen gallons per head is computed at retail prices in half-pint service. The half-pint drink is seldom of full measure, and the sum of this computation would yield only a fraction over three cents per glass. I think no beer is sold at retail at less than five cents per glass.
How the government estimate is computed I know not, but from these figures one may accept the government rather than the Grocer's estimate. I think it is safe to adopt an average of not less than $17 per head for spirits, wines and beer, which, assessed upon 80,000,000 people, would come to $1,360,000,000.
It may be remarked that the consumption of spirits has been very uniform at 1.33 gallons per head for a long period, slightly diminishing rather than increasing for several years. It is at about the same average as that of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. On the other hand, our consumption of beer has rapidly increased, reaching a fraction over sixteen gallons per head of light beer, against an average in England of thirty-five gallons per head of strong beer. The price of beer is lower in Great Britain, but the average expenditure for drink is established at twenty dollars per head. The consumption of liquors in France and Germany is also much greater than in the United States.
Item No. 2, Tobacco, Cigars, Cigarettes, Chewing Tobacco and Snuff.—The consumption of tobacco has also been computed year by year by the editor of the Tobacco World, by whom a very close analysis has been made, which time will not permit me to quote in full. This estimate clearly proves that the average expenditure comes to $6.15 per head, say $6, or on a population of eighty million, $480,000,000.
- The quantity of beer consumed in 1901 was 1,254,653,009 gallons at 16.20 gallons per head, which the editor of the American Grocer computes at fifty cents per gallon at retail, $630,922,886. One gallon yields sixteen half pints. At fifty cents a gallon that comes to a fraction over three cents for a full half pint, which is too low an estimate. This quantity at 16.20 gallons per head would yield only half a pint a day to 29,160,000 people out of over 76,000,000, and as those who drink beer habitually far exceed half a pint a day, it follows that probably not half of the adults drink beer.
- This computation of six dollars per head of population would give each person less than two cents' worth of tobacco a day. But a considerable part of the population goes without tobacco in their early years. It would seem but a small allowance if we estimated that the users of tobacco averaged four cents' worth per day, and at that rate the estimate of the Tobacco World would supply only a little over a half of the population. Do half the population use four cents' worth of tobacco per day? If they do, by so much as some use more others must go without. I shall leave it to each smoker to compute the price of his own consumption of tobacco or cigars by his own average. I am afraid I deprive a great many other men of this solace by my own excess— over four cents a day.