Friday, January 17, 2014

Fathers 2014 Pack

You know, things are OK in beer land for me - lots of good new brews for Christmas, with the promise of some more to arrive in the coming weeks... quality Aleanders meetings... I'm just still busy with work and whatnot to post as much as I normally do. 

Let me preface this post by saying that I'm a pretty positive guy, I want to spread the good word, and I usually don't say much of anything negative if I can avoid it... so I'll try to be as nice and as brief about this one as I can. 

The province of PEI is pulling out all the stops this year, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, where the idea for this great nation supposedly was nurtured, or so we like to say around these parts. Man, what an opportunity for local brewers, especially the PEI Brewing Company, who has spread its reach across the country this year. They could create a new brew (or more than one)! Maybe an historical one. Maybe one only sold here, maybe one to send to other provinces to show what they can do as a brewery... but no.

What the PEIBC has done is released a money-grab of a four-pack: four beers that already exist, just repackaged, and, in two cases, just renamed. "1864" is the Blueberry Ale (how historic), "Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale" is the same (natch), Iron Bridge has again been renamed, this time as "Colonel John Hamilton Gray", and, in a bewildering but understandable move, their arguably lowest-quality regularly-available beer, Coles Cream Ale has been bottled for the first time as "Premier George Coles".

Sure the labels look nice, sure, it suits the 2014 theme, but what a missed opportunity.

Here's some other ideas for a commemorative pack:

  • A "fortified" John A. of some sort. The man was a drunk. Use one of his favourite drinks in some way. Whisky. Brandy. Take your pick. He liked a lot. 
  • The original conference was just going to be for NS, NB, and PEI. Take some hops or grains from all three and call that "1864" or "Maritime Union". 
  • Great George's Gose - how about a salty ale for the harbour & street that first welcomed the delegates?
  • Slaymaker's & Nichol's Olympic Ale - hello? Crossover! 2014 is also an Olympic year, and Slaymaker & Nichol's Olympic Circus was the circus in town the same time as the conference, taking most hotel rooms and public interest. Make it some sort of strong, sweet, or wild (hell, make it a lambic) ale. The people of the time were more interested in the circus. It was the best thing in town, and hadn't been here in 20 years. Why shouldn't this sneakily-named ale be the show-stealer of the bunch, too?
Thoughts? I'd be interested to see what other folks think could have been created, in jest, or in all seriousness. 

PS - I'm still holding out hope that something cool could still be produced this year... 

7 comments:

  1. A Four-pack of Gahan that does not contain the IPA is clearly not targeted to drinkers of fine beer, but rather to the other 98% of people. The vast majority of tourists and other folks who will flock to the island this year are sadly just looking for something local that is about as "easy-drinking" as a coors light. A money-grab indeed, but they still seem to be regularly putting out seasonals on kegs. I heard they occasionally have sent some casks to places/events on the mainland.. how come no casks have been offered up on the island ? :(

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    1. They know the main part of their market, that's for sure. It's just stuff like this that makes one like me shake my head. That being said, they are definitely making more and more strides forward when it comes to new beers, seasonal beers, or one-offs for special events, which I'm definitely thankful for. Some of these have been casks - you've just missed 'em I guess! As for special ones on the mainland, the only one I know of is the one that went to Stillwell in the last couple of weeks.

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  2. I was afraid I may have missed a Cask or two! What kind did they have? and was it at the brewery or at Gahan ?

    I know they also sent a cask to Cask Days in Toronto, along with the stillwell one

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    1. Specifically, I'm thinking of 3 or 4 casks they had for IPA day, at the brewery. Other than that... there was a couple or few at the beer fest in the fall.

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    2. Hm had never heard of the IPA day. And actually I think I had one of those at the beer fest, a Double Red if i recall right ? was pretty good, I just didn't register that it was from a cask. Thanks Steve

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  3. I see where they have a new VP of Operations - Bob Lawrence. He's a former Labatt employee. I wonder if this will lead to a more main stream approach with respect to beer development?

    Alan W.

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    1. I've met Bob a couple of times, and, if anything, I think it'll be the opposite. I think he's going to make them better at what they're doing already, plus it sounds like there may be more wiggle room in the future for small batches / experimentation.

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