The Myth of Australian Beers
I’m going to be discussing the cultures of consumption and the regions which they come from. First a map of the states and territory of Australia
Foster: “Foster Australia for Beer”. Foster is actually Australian for “bland”. Foster’s Beer isn’t actually brewed in Australia. It is brewed in Canada. It is made and marketed for the North American Market. Foster can be found in Victoria. However it is brewed as a novelty to be consumed by tourists. Foster’s is marketed in North America and Europe as a little piece of Australiana, yet in Australia it can’t be found in bars. So remember next time you associate Fosters with Australia, remember you are engaging in a grand marketing trick. Here is a look at that tourist image of Fosters.
Victoria Bitter: Victoria Bitter or VB is a broadly popular drink. VB is brewed by the Foster’s brewing group and is brewed for Australian tastes. It can be found in all bars and pubs. It is often sold as the bargain drink. It comes from Australia’s most industrial state; Victoria. Victoria Bitter can be bought in stores in large one litter bottles. Since it is prevalent and cheap VB is associated with homeless drunks. If you are going to come across young people brown bagging it is very likely they are drinking VB. Finally if you are going to step on broken glass in the street it is most likely to be a shattered VB bottle. For Consumption Cultural comparison I would say that VB has the stigma of Stella Artois in England.
Tooheys– Tooheys is the quintessential Australian Beer. Tooheys is brewed in Sydney. The company was started by an Irish immigrant. The creator brought a proper knowledge of beer to Australia from Ireland. The logo of Tooheys is an elk, this European animal reflects the brand’s Northern European heritage. Since Australia has a massive Irish immigrant population the brand was embraced by the public. Tooheys sponsors sporting events and can be consumed with little stigma. For Consumption Cultural comparison I would say that Tooheys is as popular as Budweiser in the USA.
J.Boag & Son: This is the beer of Tasmania. Tasmania has considered a prison for early Australians. Since most Australian were prisoners themselves Tasmania became a place of extra hard cruelty. Tasmania was the site of human cannibalism and was in the past seen as the most incestuous part of the nation. As the Aussies say, “ the definition of a virgin in Tasmania is a girl who can out run her brothers!” How does all this fair with beer. Tasmania’s beer is seen as a bit exotic. It would be like a beer from Alaska. The far away corner of the nation with a unique taste in beer. This J.Boag & Son commercial represents the stereotypical and now romanticism masculinity and rigidness of Tasmania.
XXXX (Fourex)– This is the beer of Queensland. Queensland is the agricultural north of Australia. Queenslanders are equivalent to Alabamans. They speak very slowly and are commonly stereotyped as a bunch of Bogans [rednecks]. Queensland gets only two seasons. The Dry and Wet. Of these two seasons they can range in severity based on El Nino (period of drought) and La Nina (heavy rainfall period). Now is the time of La Nina and during the Wet season in La Nina Queensland gets flooded. Queensland has an ingenious way of syphoning the excess water out of Queensland. They simply bottle their flooded sewage into a bottle and slap a XXXX label on it. The four Xs symbolize the toxicity of the beverage. Then they ship the beer across the nation. XXXX comes out as it went down, utter piss.
Yellow Tail– Australia allowed in immigrants from Mediterranean and Eastern Europe after 1945. Australia did this because with a population so small they believed that they couldn’t protect themselves from a resurgent Japan or the communists of Southern Asia. Since the French immigrants often opted for French colonies few French people came to Australia before 1945. As France lost its colonies after 1945 the colonial French immigrated to Australia which welcomed European immigrants and even paid for their sea fare. By the 1950’s Australia was full of Europeans (French, Italians, and Greeks) who had a good knowledge of wine. Soon Australia, whose coast has the prefect climate for grapes, became a large producer of wine. From this industry came Australia’s truly greatest beverage brand.
In conclusion, it is interesting to note that what is consumed in a nation can tell us about the consumer.