Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm On a Night Train!

Oh, Night Train. We've a long history you and I. I was first introduced to Night Train Express back in my sophomore year of college. I believe Lance saw it in the liquor store and bought it because of the Guns 'N' Roses song of the same name. The first few bottles all had dust on them because apparently the shit doesn't fly off the shelves. Night Train Express is produced and bottled by E&J Gallo. They try to disguise this fact by saying that it is produced by Night Train Limited. Why on earth would they not want to proudly proclaim godsend of a drink? I don't know.

Anyways, Night Train is popular among bums, transients, and dumb college kids alike due to it being cheap ($3.69 per bottle) and full of booze (17.5% alcohol per volume). This is a dangerous combo. So dangerous that some community groups in cities along the west coast have tried to get it pulled from the shelves in certain "Alcohol Impact Areas".

"Community groups in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland have urged makers of fortified wines such as Wild Irish Rose and E & J Gallo's Thunderbird and Night Train brands to pull their products from the shelves of liquor retailers in skid row areas. In Nashville, Tennessee, one liquor store owner told Nashville Business Journal reporter Julie Hinds that police warned him to stop selling his biggest selling product, Wild Irish Rose, because it encouraged homeless people to linger in the area."

—Janice Jorgensen, Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands: Consumable Products (1993), p. 492.
The problem of bum wines goes back to Prohibition and the Great Depression. Since fortified wines were still easy to procure they became a staple of skid-row drunks. In fact, the term wino came into use during these times to describe people who turned to cheap fortified wines to drown their sorrows.

Poor little guy never stood a chance with a mean wine like that.

According to Ernest and his brothers Julio and Joe wanted to corner the young wine market by selling Night Train and Thunderbird it in the ghettos. They even had radio ads that were very clearly marketed to "those people." "What's the word? / Thunderbird / How's it sold? / Good and cold / What's the jive? / Bird's alive / What's the price? / Thirty twice." They aren't even trying to hide it. They know exactly who they want to get hooked it.

Here is a list of highlights from our Night Train binges in college:
  • Eric once bonged an entire bottle and proceeded to break his arm later in the night. He had no recollection the next day.
  • I once drank two bottles and played air drums for three hours at a Motley Crue concert. On the way to the concert I threatened to kill someone who said the N-word.
  • One time Lance wasn't sure if he was going to drink one night due to a lack of funds. He scrounged the exact change for one bottle of Night Train. Fate my friends.
  • After drinking a bottle of Night Train John Shelley laid in a bed for four hours that had been peed on by a female acquaintance because he was in no condition to deal with the situation.
  • During a night of Night Train consumption Lance became extremely emotional for no reason crying, "I'm crying and I'm not even sad!"  Edit: That same night Lance tried to push Timmy down a flight of stairs.
  • Everything that happened last night.
I'm not going to lie, this list is kind of hard to put together due to the fact that I rarely remember much of the previous night when I drink Night Train. A fitting way to end this post is with a quote from Lance that perfectly sums up what Night Train is all about; "That shit'll get in your veins and fuck up your life."


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