LIQUOR: Weaker Proof

If some troubled drinkers think they are getting less belt from their highballs these days, they are right. Many liquor companies have been putting more distilled water and less alcohol into whisky and gin. During the past 20 months, the distillers of more than 100 labeled brands, including Seagram's 7 Crown, Four Roses, Hiram Walker's Imperial American blended whisky and Jim Beam bourbon, have reduced the proof from 86 to 80—without lowering the price or advertising the fact beyond printing the new proof on bottle labels. (Proof is twice the percentage...

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