Canada has overhauled its alcohol consumption guidance, and the difference between the new and old recommendations is stark. Here is a summary of what we know about the new guidelines.
Last week the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse and Addiction, partially funded by Health Canada, announced major changes to its guidelines for alcohol consumption. (These are not laws). Recommended is a maximum of two drinks per week. Researchers are also looking at ways to "de-normalize" drinking. The reason is that research increasingly points to even a low level of alcohol consumption being a cause of disease or injury. Personally I'm not as interested in discussing whether or not these are good ideas, as I am in looking at how major reductions in drinking would affect the music industry, classical music in particular. For example, at the bar of a symphony orchestra, someone who has a drink pre-concert, at intermission, and after the concert would already have exceeded the two-drinks-a-week maximum. At orchestra concerts I've been to recently, the bar has long lineups. Also alcohol-related advertising (including from restaurants, bars, and vendors) and sponsorships by alcohol-producing companies connected to music events could take a hit from much-reduced sales. And so on.
Where would classical music stand in cultures that "de-normalized" drinking? I hesitate to say. One might argue that at the very least listening to classical music has an "Apollonian" side, whereas experiencing music on club nights out more likely tends to the "Dionysian" side (Dionysius in Greek myth held drunken rites). But the Dionysians of our time wouldn't necessarily switch and come to classical concerts just because they weren't able to drink much at clubs! It helps to remember, though, that there are many people even in Western countries who don't drink, and creative thinking of ways that classical music can appeal to them may be useful.