” Pint Of Dog Slobber, Please. “

Do you frequent the bottle shop, as I do? And do you pass down the long rows of wine bottles to what is becoming equally long lines of craft beer shelves and wonder about the names? And about the people who named them?

Lets face it – booze is booze. It contains molecules that make us witty, great dancers, and desirable lovers. It lets us meet people like policemen and magistrates. It keeps us from wasting our money on good clothing or education for the children or a nice place to live. It is one of the most useful fluids there is, apart from cat wee.

But it all looks the same in the container. If the glass of the bottle is darkened you cannot tell whether the contents are red, white, or yellow ( the most popular colours ) and there is no smell to let you know whether the stuff is good or not. You depend upon the label.

Some labels are frank and brutal. ” Beer ” they say, and apart from the mandatory alcohol percentage and address of the conglomerate brewery they tell you nothing. You take it or leave it.

Some labels are very elegant – a simple name in script of a famous vineyard and a year announces all you need to know – but it presumes that you actually know a very great deal more. This sort of marketing also means you will pay a great deal more.

Some are just industrial warehousing codes so that the chain store staff can stack them efficiently. You might find as much information on a bean can label. Most of these fluids are fairly safe to drink but do not expect them to be a revelation of untold paradise.

But the real chancers – the lotteries of the taste buds – are the labels that the craft brewer ( read guys in Industrial Unit 83A ) or small winemaker ( Unit 83B ) nut out when they finally have the corks in and it’s time to fire up the printer. I will give them points for imagination and verve. Also for crass and edgy. But the problem is that “Harry’s Hop Swill ” or ” The Last Evocation Of Evanescence ” sound good when you’re sitting at the computer half-cut on the last of the vat, but they do not tell the customer a thing.

Perhaps that is the idea. Put out an alcoholic punchboard and let people take their chances with whatever the pin hits. As long as it is out of the unit and off the shelf, it is a win. The HAZMAT squad can always be bought off.



Watching Championship Stupid From The Sidelines

We all see foolish things done and exhibited on crass television shows. We see them on Facebook and YouTube. But nothing beats seeing them fresh, live, and right in front of you.

I don’t mean the car crashes and people hitting light poles – these are accidents of our modern life. I also exclude criminal behaviour and its consequences – also a feature of modern life, but one that can stay well away from me. I am thinking of the modest little instances of stupidity that pop up from time to time and make us grin.

Yesterday I visited our downtown area to do a job, and when it was completed I repaired to a bookstore and then to a rooftop bar for a bit of reading and refreshment. It was delightful, until the last inch of beer in the glass. Then tow families of bogans invaded the bar with their 5 squalling children Рobviously hungry, overtired, and at the end of a school vacation. The bartender looked like the hatch of hell had opened at his feet; I hastily downed that last inch and dived for the door, pursued by rising screams.

There is a provision in Western Australian liquor laws for children to be on licensed premises under direct adult control for ” reasonable refreshment” but up two flights of stairs onto a city rooftop bar seems to stretch the case somewhat. I can only hope that the children got espresso martinis and red cordial and that the train back home was delayed between stations…

” Clean Up In The Beer Aisle “

I don’t know if you have been to a booze shop lately. If it’s been some little time since you called in, I think I may need to tell you a few things:

a. Brandy has gotten terribly expensive since the old St. Agnes days. When the Australian government found out that they had inadvertently let some money sidle past them, they instantly invented laws to recoup it. Thus brandy went up to whiskey price. You might as well drink the imported French stuff now.

b. You can get just as many cheapo wines as you could before, but now you need not get them in demijohns or cardboard boxes. The wine glut and the wine gluttons have combined to bottle it in regular glass.

c. You used to be able to trust a label …when there were fewer labels. Now there are so many and they are so imaginative, that you need to be a cryptographer to figure out what is in the bottle.

d. As a follow on from the above, you will have a chance to read a great many things printed on wine bottles. Mind you, many of them will not be true or useful, but if you are in the habit of turning to a 1959 Soviet state statistics book for light entertainment, you’ll have a good time. Remember that what lies within the bottle may bear little relation to the lies on the outside of the bottle.

e. There are three zones of bottles in the beer fridge; the ones you recognize, the ones you don’t, and the ones that seem so implausibly named as to suggest deliberate fraud. With the craft brewery, the art brewery, the micro brewery, and the vat of something under the stairs, the field has widened. Once beer was the game played by one or two breweries per capital city – now it is an international league. And there are expensive dodgy players faking injuries on every shelf of the fridge.

f. Can you read English? Can you operate a computer? Good – you’re hired as the new advertising man for the brewery. The first thing we need is a name for the wheelbarrow of ingredients that we’ve just dumped in the vat. It’ll be ready to bottle and cap off in a few weeks and we need to have the labels ready in time. The brewmaster suggests something robust…so if you can come up with a design variant that involves pirates, sludge, and summer breezes, we should be ready for you. Try not to make it sound like a Latvian perversion.

g. What do you mean, you want an ordinary vodka? We have it spiced with fruits, vegetables, and bone marrow. You can get grass, stems, thorns, and head bolts from a Chevrolet engine in the bottles. The bottles themselves are shaped like machine pistols or sexual organs. If you just want alcohol go to the chemists…

h. No, the lady who does the taste tests for the winery isn’t here this week. She won’t be back for a fortnight. Last time she was in, she spilled some of the local valley chardonnay on her arm and they have had to do a skin graft.


Beer Code Bar Code


I can’t think why no-one has instituted this yet.

You get two bar code tattoos on your forearm – one is for a pint of your favourite beer, and one is your BSB banking details.

Then, instead of standing an a confused gaggle of punters at the local pub trying to get the bar tender’s attention, waving $ 50 notes, and making entitled noises, you merely roll up your sleeve and slide your arm out on the bar.

The bar tender scans it and when a green light goes on over the appropriate beer tap indicating that the order has been received and the money debited from your account, draws the pint and places it in your hand. No language barrier and startling efficiency. If they do this well all night you roll up the other sleeve and expose a bar code that will provide them with a tip.

You cannot leave home without your beer code bar codes!

Who says technology can never be beneficial?