(This post is primarily for Canadian readers, even more so for Ontario readers, so the rest of you can feel free to scan or skip as you see fit.)
Doing a little online research on a couple of local breweries this morning, I came across – as the title of this post would indicate – a curiosity and a sad and disgraceful thing. First, the curiosity.
The website for Ontario’s monolithic Beer Store empire is not very good or useful, but it does offer some entertaining “Beer Type” and “Category” listings for the brands they carry. “Malt,” for example, is provided as a searchable type of beer, and the sum total of all the categories is three: premium, imported and discount. (Which beggars the question, what is a beer that is neither premium, discounted not imported?)
But the curiosity to which I point in the headline is not the entertaining classifications listed above, but rather the inclusion of a specific beer in the “Discount” category. That beer is Labatt Blue.
Yes, the iconic Blue that once “smile(d) along with you” is now a discount brand, occupying the same territory as such illustrious brews as James Ready 5.5, Lucky Light and Milwaukee’s Best. More evidence, to my thinking, that Labatt has all but given up on their former flagship brand.
Now, the disgrace.
Surf over to the website for Ontario’s pioneering craft brewery, Kitchener-Waterloo’s Brick Brewing, and click on the “History” icon. There you will find a timeline which suggests that precisely one event occurred in the twenty years of Brick history between the brewery’s founding and the commencement of the production of the discount Laker brands of beer, that being the licensing to Brick of Andechs Spezial Hell, in my opinion the best beer the company ever brewed and one which they have not made in many a year.
Now, I recognize that Brick, the brewery, is currently entangled in legal proceedings against Jim Brickman, the man, but to post a history of the company that doesn’t even acknowledge the person who gave the thing its name seems to me utterly absurd, and more than a bit disrespectful. Indeed, it is, in my considered opinion, a true disgrace.