Long gone are the days of Solo cups. The Borg is taking over college parties, and TikTok feeds.
What is a Borg?
A Borg – short for “blackout rage gallon” – is a personal plastic water jug filled with water, vodka, electrolytes, and a caffeinated flavor enhancer. Surprisingly, some experts say that Borgs come with harm-reduction benefits. Here’s what you need to know about Gen Z’s drink of choice.
How Borgs Became Popular
Borg tutorial videos started appearing on TikTok in 2020. It makes sense when you consider the pandemic context: Borgs are more sanitary than sketchy communal drinks. It’s not social distancing per se, but remember that we’re talking about college parties here. Borgs are arguably cleaner than punch-filled bathtubs. They’re also convenient for tailgates and outdoor parties. And TikTokers say they prevent hangovers due to the water and electrolytes in them.
NBC reports that college students began posting more about their Borgs last year, just as their spring semesters were wrapping up. By the time fall rolled around, Borgs had taken off on TikTok, with various users showing off their concoctions on the platform. A vital aspect of the trending drink is naming your Borg. The punnier the name, the better – think Soulja Borg or Borg-ingham Palace.
The Potential Harm-Reduction Benefits Of Borgs
Cute? Not so much if it promotes binge drinking. That being said, if you’re going to drink at a party, having a Borg is better than drinking whatever is being passed around. In a video with over 2.4M views, Erin Monroe, a TikTok creator and harm-prevention specialist explained why Borgs can be a “harm reduction strategy.”
“First, you get to decide what goes in here,” she said. “You get complete control over this. And that means even if you don’t want to put liquor in, you don’t have to. Second, this is a closed container. So as long as you’re keeping the lid on when you’re not actively consuming it, the risk of somebody putting something in here that you don’t know about is significantly decreased,” she said.
Remember that harm reduction acknowledges the reality that people may not abstain from drinking. “When it comes to substance use prevention, harm reduction recognizes that people are going to make their own decisions regarding alcohol and other drugs,” Monroe told NBC News. “But there are strategies we can use to reduce some of the risk.”
Filling a Borg with more water and electrolytes than booze and pacing yourself throughout the night is safer than taking several shots in a row or doing a keg stand. And considering the fact that one in nine women say they’ve had their drink spiked, carrying your own Borg and keeping an eye on it can help prevent scary incidents.
Borgs won’t magically make people drink responsibly. But when paired with intentional consumption, they can reduce some of the risks of social drinking.