A video footage shows the new Czech president, Milos Zeman, clearly worse for wear, propping himself up against a wall at a public event, struggling to negotiate a step and being aided by a cardinal.
Milos Zeman, 68, makes no secret of his drinking. But on this occasion – a rare and highly-ceremonial public display of the Czech crown jewels last week – his office insisted he simply had a virus and subsequently needed a day or two of rest.
Since then, the video has prompted a storm of social media gags. Czechs – by far the biggest beer drinkers in the world per capita – have been posting pictures of themselves in bars getting drunk with slogans like: “Here I am getting a virus”, or “Heading out for a virus”.
Milos Zeman, a chain smoker and lover of fatty foods, often extols the virtues of booze. On one occasion, the president praised Winston Churchill for his love of whisky and pointed out that Adolf Hitler was a teetotaler and vegetarian – “and you know how he ended up”.
During a 1996 election campaign Milos Zeman said his campaign bus “drove on gas and Becherovka”, a popular Czech liquor. Two years later he became prime minister.
Footage shows President Milos Zeman clearly the worse for wear at a rare public display of the Czech crown jewels
A tabloid in the Czech Republic once claimed Milos Zeman told the paper he would drink on average six glasses of wine – plus three shots – on any given day.
His unsuccessful rival in this year’s presidential election, the nobleman Karel Schwarzenberg, couldn’t help but take a swipe at his opponent’s taste for alcohol.
“Milos Zeman was in my opinion one of the most intelligent prime ministers this country has ever had,” Karel Schwarzenberg said during the campaign.
“And had he not drunk so much he’d have been a really good prime minister,” he added.
Milos Zeman insists he’s so used to drinking that it never has any ill effects, and he has openly challenged anyone to prove otherwise.
“If anyone has ever seen me drunk in my life, tell me when,” Milos Zeman said during the presidential election campaign.
Miroslava Nemcova, the speaker for Parliament’s lower house and one of seven holders of the keys to the Czech crown jewels, was the only person at last week’s event to comment on Milos Zeman’s appearance.
“I saw what you saw,” she was quoted as saying on the Lidove Noviny daily’s website Friday.
“Judge for yourself.”
Beer drinkers in the US have filed a $5 million lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its beer.
The lawsuits, filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states, claim consumers have been cheated out of the alcohol content stated on beer labels.
The suit involves 10 Anheuser-Busch beers including Budweiser and Michelob.
Anheuser-Busch InBev have called the claims “completely false”, and said in a statement “our beers are in full compliance with labelling laws”.
The lawsuits are based on information from former employees at breweries owned by the multinational.
“Our information comes from former employees at Anheuser-Busch, who have informed us that, as a matter of corporate practice, all of their products mentioned [in the lawsuit] are watered down,” lead lawyer Josh Boxer said.
Beer drinkers in the US have filed a $5 million lawsuit accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its beer
The complaint claimed that “Anheuser-Busch employs some of most sophisticated process control technology in the world to precisely monitor the alcohol content at the final stages of production, and then adds additional water to produce beers with significantly lower alcohol contents than is represented on the labels”.
The lawsuit alleged that the practice began after the American Anheuser-Busch merged with the Belgian-Brazilian InBev in 2008, to form the world’s largest alcohol producer.
“Following the merger, [Anheuser-Busch] vigorously accelerated the deceptive practices, sacrificing the quality products once produced by Anheuser-Busch in order to reduce costs,” the lawsuit said.
Peter Kraemer, vice president of brewing and supply at Anheuser-Busch said in a statement, “We proudly adhere to the highest standards in brewing our beer.”
British researchers at the University of Bristol believe the shape of beer glasses affects the speed people drink.
Their study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, suggests people drink more quickly out of curved glasses than straight ones.
They argue that the curvy glassware makes pacing yourself a much greater challenge.
A group of 159 men and women were filmed drinking either soft drinks or beer as part of the study. The glasses all contained around half a pint of liquid, but some of the glasses were straight while others were very curved.
There was no difference in the drinking time for soft drinks. People drinking from both straight and curved glasses finished after around seven minutes.
British researchers at the University of Bristol believe the shape of beer glasses affects the speed people drink
However, for the beer drinkers there was a large difference between the two groups. While it took around seven minutes for people drinking from a curved glass to polish off their half pint, it took 11 minutes for those drinking from a straight glass.
The report said: “Drinking time is slowed by almost 60% when an alcoholic beverage is presented in a straight glass compared with a curved glass.”
The researchers thought that curvy glasses made it harder to pace drinking because judging how much was in the glass became more difficult owing to its curved shape.
The group of drinkers was shown a variety of pictures of partially-filled beer glasses and asked to say whether they were more or less than half full.
The team said people were more likely to get the answer wrong when assessing the amount of liquid in curved glasses.
The lead researcher Dr. Angela Attwood said: “They are unable to judge how quickly they are drinking so cannot pace themselves.”
She suggested that people were not concerned about pacing themselves with soft drinks, which could explain why glass shape had no effect on them.
However, the study looked only at the time taken to finish one drink in a laboratory setting. So it is not certain what happens on an evening out if multiple drinks are consumed.
She said altering the glasses used in pubs could “nudge” people to drink more healthily by “giving control back”.
The shape of a glass has already been shown to affect how much alcohol people pour. A study in 2005 showed people were more likely to pour extra alcohol into short, wide glasses than tall, narrow ones.