Borgs’ arrival raise alcohol safety questions

Aaron Sullivan, General News Reporter

In their college days, our parents tapped kegs in fraternity backyards. For millennials, jungle juice was a staple for any good rager. Now, Gen Z is modernizing drinking with borgs, or blackout rage gallons.

Borgs are one-gallon milk jugs containing a combination of water, liquor, caffeine and electrolytes — the newest craze among college students seeking to get a buzz while staying hydrated. According to the National Capital Poison Center, most borg tutorials use one 750 milliliter bottle of vodka, approximately 17 shots. Then, students draw on or write witty phrases on the gallon to personalize their borg, such as Ruth Bader Ginsborg.

However, unlike in bars where drinks are measured out, the nonstandard amounts of alcohol in borgs can come with risks, medical toxicologist Kelly Johnson-Arbor said in an email. 

“Borgs often contain large amounts of alcohol that can result in alcohol poisoning, even when consumed over a period of several hours,” according to the Center. “Similar to binge drinking, … frequent borg consumption may increase the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.”

Accounting sophomore Paige Cagney said she’s noticed more people carrying borgs since they gained traction online. She said she believes borgs could diminish the risks of drinking alcohol.

“Compared to some of the other drinking cultures associated with parties, (borgs) could be considered a little bit better,” Cagney said. “You’re bringing your own drink and you’re holding it the whole time.”

Psychology sophomore Chase Herrington said there is an inherent risk with borgs because there are “no technical measurements,” but BORGs make drinking a more positive experience.

“It gives you the ability to pace yourself,” Herrington said. “It gives you the ability to add as much liquor as you want. And it’s a fun little creative thing to do with friends.” 

According to a study by the American Addiction Centers, people ages 18-34 are more likely to binge drink than any other age group. Johnson-Arbor said binge drinking is defined as consuming more than four drinks in one sitting for women and five for men.

“To minimize the risks of alcohol poisoning, do not consume an entire borg in one sitting, or even in one day,” Johnson-Arbor said. “Do not feel a need to keep up with your friends, as some people may have a higher alcohol tolerance.”

Herrington said he thinks people understand the harmful effects of drinking alcohol more now because the drinking culture has changed.

 “In today’s culture, it’s not really about how much you drink,” Herrington said. “I think it’s more about being part of the fun of it all.”

The Daily Texan encourages all readers to drink responsibly. If you or someone around you may be experiencing alcohol poisoning, please call 911.