This article makes interesting observations on how champagne tracks with the economy - makes sense as it is a fairly expensive, price elastic product.
On another note, the hand crafted artisanal vodka mentioned in the article got me going. This sounds like the biggest oxymoron you'd be able to concoct.
You can take vodka and distill it 159 times (yes, that exists), but it is fundamentally just ethanol - the purer the better. In other words, no flavor! It has to be one of the greatest IQ tests of all times whether a person buys $100+ "premium" vodka or just a fairly basic $25 pick-your-label vodka. Sure, there are bad vodkas out there (stay away from plastic bottles), but it doesn't take a lot of money to get perfectly good stuff. As long as it has been properly distilled and not artificially flavored, you're good to go.
For the vodka connoisseurs (is that another oxymoron?) among our readership, I did grow up in vodka country, where the drinking style was to keep it in the freezer and then consume it in cold shots while eating and singing. My preference is the aquavit - kind of a scotch among vodkas, it has flavor! Whereas the definition of vodka is "without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color."
The Lexus is “just” a Toyota with a different badge and some arguably better interior options, but the car is fundamentally the same. It’s engineered and built to the same standards, only more expensive. Buy a Toyota Avalon and load it up - this is going to get you the most bang for your buck out of the Toyota stable.
Similarly, I dare you to do a blind taste of chilled vodkas and notice any appreciably difference between a decent $25 bottle and something north of $100.
Ducking while waiting for the hate mail!