Monday, August 18, 2014

Colonel Sykes Lived

If you were lucky enough to have tried Colonel Sykes East India Porter than you will be interested to know that Colonel Sykes was a real person.  In a brilliant piece of beer scholarship, beer writer and historian Ron Pattinson provides the details on the British colonial officer.  Colonel Sykes authored a study that showed that British divisions in India that drank porter instead of rum had lower mortality rates.  Furthermore, he found that high mortality divisions that switched from rum to porter could expect to see a drop in mortality rates. 

I'm not sure what Nate Silver or the data wonks at the New York Times' Up Shot would think of Colonel Sykes's methods and conclusions, but if I had had to drink rum rather than porter under a hot Indian sun, I would have either been a mutineer or or joined a temperance league. 

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