How .04 is changing drinking habits in Saskatchewan

Click to play video 'How .04 is changing drinking habits in Saskatchewan' How .04 is changing drinking habits in Saskatchewan
WATCH ABOVE: New penalties for being caught driving with blood alcohol higher than .04 have motorists putting down the pints.

Some people in Saskatchewan are changing their tastes to stay out of trouble.

Rebellion brewmaster Mark Heise said he’s noticed changes in his customers’ behaviour since stricter drinking and driving laws were introduced in January.

“Our food sales have increased dramatically. The actual pint sales have shifted more towards a lower alcohol products,” he said.

READ MORE: New Saskatchewan impaired driving and distracted driving laws in effect Jan. 1

Rebellion has started brewing more beers with a lower alcohol content, including a radler and a four per cent stout.

“It’s a challenge because you have to approach the brewing process a little bit differently but it’s fun. It keeps us on our toes,” Heise said.

“The idea behind ‘session beers’ is that you’re taking your time and not getting out of control,” he added. “And the lighter beers allow you to do that responsibly and still have a good time.”

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Jason Childs teaches a class on beer economics at the University of Regina, and said the shift to lighter beers could be part of the latest trend.

“There is this rolling wave of trends within the craft beer industry,” Childs said. “Now we’re seeing a movement towards darker, and we’re also seeing a movement towards lower alcohol content. Some of that locally is going to be driven by the 0.04 administrative penalties.”

READ MORE: Drunk driving charges are the highest in Saskatchewan

There’s not enough data yet to say if the new law will be successful, he said.

“I think there are some people who are taking it very, very seriously. Now would these have been people who would have stayed under .08 before anyways? That’s not clear,” he said.

Since Jan. 1, 2017,  drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.04 and 0.08 could have their vehicle impounded for three days.

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More than 150 experienced drivers have had their licenses suspended for a BAC between 0.04 and 0.08 since January, and 103 had their cars impounded.

BAC is affected by many things, including gender, age, physical condition, and time of last meal.

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A woman weighing about 60 kilograms who’s had two drinks over two hours is probably over a 0.04 BAC. A man weighing 80 kilograms who’s had three drinks in two hours is probably close to 0.04.

Somebody with 0.05 BAC has a lowered alertness and might have problems focusing their eyes.

According to SGI, one in eight drivers is legally impaired between 1:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.