Sunday, December 11

With regard to The China Premium

Years ago, (before China's "reform and opening"), Johnnie Walker Black Label (more expensive than red label) was a standard gift in Taiwan. I heard that Johnnie Walker decided to lower the price to gain market share. Big mistake: sales plummeted. (Now they've got Blue Label as their premium brand.) Years later, XO cognac became the standard, and you still see it for sale in Chinatown supermarkets outside China. Funny thing, though--even though it comes from France, I've never seen it in liquor shops there. And I heard that in Hong Kong the Chinese would drink their XO with Coke. Nowadays, according to the Chinese soaps I watch, drinking grape wine out of the "proper" glass is the "in" thing, although characters are often portrayed as gulping it instead of sipping.

But we're not entire immune to this sort of nonsense. In "Predictably Irrational", Dan Ariely argues that fancy glasses makes wine taste better. At least in the sixties and seventies in France, adults drank their wine out of Duralex Gigogne & Picardie glasses--inexpensive tempered glass that was also the standard in school cafeterias.

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