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Published: Saturday, 12/31/2011


Beer craving

Are Americans ready for suds with their sliders?

White Castle, the stoner's restaurant of choice (see the 2004 movie Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle), recently started selling beer and wine at an outlet in Lafayette, Ind. That's about 220 miles southwest of here, for Toledo members of the Cravers Hall of Fame who want a $3 brew with their burger or a $4.50 chardonnay with their slider.

The original fast-food burger joint, founded in Wichita, Kan., 90 years ago, is not the pacesetter this time. Burger King and Starbucks have been testing the same idea in an attempt to boost sales that have been flat in recent years.

And why not? The profit margin on beer and wine is huge, and European fast-food chains have served beer with their burgers for decades.

But are Americans mature enough to handle the combination of fast food and alcohol? Even without alcohol, many customers at these restaurants seem to be on short fuses.

Remember the woman who went ballistic at an East Toledo McDonald's drive-through window on New Year's Day two years ago because she couldn't get an order of McNuggets? She later admitted she was drunk at the time.

What's next, a 30-slider Crave Case with a corresponding case of beer? It might not seem the best idea after all to serve the fuel for future meltdowns.

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