Fast food ‘n’ beer

Remember when you first heard of beer being sold in fast food restaurants. It was probably from some buddy who’d been told by his buddy whose sister had seen beer for sale in McDonald’s in France. Maybe you didn’t believe it because it just seemed too odd. If you’re like me, you found it curious but didn’t really care.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fast food and beer as much as the next guy but there’s really only one way to do it right. You stop at the corner convenience store and grab a sixer or two of whatever beer you’re in the mood for. Then you head to the local burger joint and get two of the least healthy items they have on the menu. Then you go home, strip to your underwear, turn on whatever bad movie marathon the SyFy channel is running that afternoon and dig in.

These days, beer – and wine, but really? wine? – is being served at an increasing number of fast food and quick stop type food joints. Burger King has taken the lead with their Whopper Bars that are becoming increasingly common. And Starbucks recently added alcohol to the menu although, as far as I know, whisky isn’t available so they’re missing the obvious Irish coffee segment of their market.

I’m all for this. I’m not likely to participate because they are selling open containers which means I can’t take the beer home and odds are the store manager would frown on my stripping down to my underwear. Still, if beer helps Burger King sell burgers, more power to them.

Of course the trend has its critics. There’s the “won’t someone please think of the children crowd” who seem to think that kids seeing adults consume alcohol in a responsible manner and in a pleasant atmosphere is a bad thing. Their position is that we should hide alcohol from kids, making it all the more taboo and titillating and making the kids more likely to hide their alcohol experimentation from their parents and authority figures.

There’s also a new argument here that I’ve never heard before. Critics are taking the phrase “fast food” and confusing its meaning. Fast food means that it’s available shortly after you order it. It does not mean that it’s meant to be consumed quickly. But, the willfully stupid critics have decided that that’s exactly what it means and that this trend will lead to people gobbling down a burger, fries and four beers in seven minutes flat then dashing out to their cars and into traffic. This is one of the stupidest arguments that I’ve ever heard. I challenge anyone to eat any meal off the Burger King menu then go do anything quickly. It can’t be done.

One new player, though, gave even me pause. Like I said, I’m all for increasing beer selling businesses but when Sonic signed on, I had to reconsider. I have only ever seen one kind of Sonic, the kind where you drive up into the car slots, place your order then wait for the teenager to bring it out to you. You then back out and drive away, eating, while trying to keep the grease application in your car’s interior to a minimum. Where could beer possibly fit into this equation.

As it turns out, there are actually Sonics with restaurant-style interiors. Two of them, both in Florida, will soon start selling beer. Okay, I can live with that.

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