A Booze for All Seasons: the Optimal Hard Beverages for the Time of Year You’re Touring in

There’s more to gear than just instruments, more to tutorials than just “play more efficient sweeps.” Maybe what you need to know is how to sweep alcohol.. down your throat… okay, that metaphor fell apart. But seriously, when you’re on tour success isn’t just about playing the best show: it’s about survival, and part of surviving is maximizing your dollars. You eat on a budget, and you drink on a budget, therefore wasting valuable dollars on skunked beer is a shitty idea, a chump move. So let’s break it down by seasons. Here’s a list of the ideal spirits to consume depending on what time of year you happen to find yourself traversing the highways in a rolling death box.



Spring: Cheap Beer and 40s


Spring tends to be the busiest season for touring bands, so might be facing more booking competition and making less money day to day on the road. Also, the weather just got nice again, so anything is going to taste good. Take advantage of this mood: save money and go cheap. Since the thermometer readings, especially in March and April, should still be cold enough to allow your drinks to stay refrigerated overnight (obviously your location on the globe is a factor here), beer is the way to go.


Summer: a Crate of Low-Cost Wine


But during the summer it can be tough to store that beer unless you have a dedicated cooler with ice in it, or if you enjoy drinking warm brew. So often wine tends to be easier. Hell even if you have a cooler for your preferred beverages (and sandwiches if there’s room) of choice, it never hurts to keep a couple reserve bottles of cheap $5 red in a box under the bunk for when things get dry.


Fall: Better Beer


You can’t drink swill all year long or you’ll break. You may have been on the road for 6 months by this point, and tensions between your drummer and singer are running high if that dude leaves the van unlocked one more time he’s going to get his ass… So yeah, treat yourself, maybe not to a $12 4-pack of craft imperial stouts, but at least to the occasional sixer that actually tastes like hops.

Winter: The Hard Stuff


Touring in the dead of winter is a brutal game of roulette. If you’re risking the vehicle accidents, enduring the cold, freezing your hands during the load ins and outs, then you’re nursing a special kind of misery that’s well suited to a fifth of Jack. Besides, something has to keep you warm in your sleeping bag when the Wal-Mart parking lot temperature drops to frostbite levels, so you may as well keep warm in the manner of the best hardened Russian armies.

Written by

Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

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  • A flask of whiskey in my back pocket is good for all seasons.

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