Told you: Calls for plain packaging on beer now

Plain Packaging for beer: Is this our future?

Plain Packaging for beer: Is this our future?

I warned everybody, and have been doing so for years, that if we allow plain packaging for products like tobacco then it wouldn’t be long before calls for plain packing came for other products, most notably alcohol and sugar.

Well, no one listened to me. Commenters on this blog also, rather po-facedly, stated that they didn’t mind on tobacco. Now there are calls for plain packaging of alcohol.

Alcohol watchdogs are concerned beer branding featuring cute cartoons or resembling softdrinks, may be too appealing to minors.

The rise of the craft beer market has resulted in a new wave of creative, colourful, and often cartoonish labels as alcohol producers compete for consumers’ attention.

Auckland craft brewery Behemoth Brewing Company, has “brave bikkie brown ale” featuring a cartoon monster eating a cookie on its bottles.

A mouse riding a dog appears on Scallywag rich amber ale from Auckland craft brewery Schipper’s Beer, while a badger wearing a jetpack stars on its Boffin bitter.

Even the Mac’s beer range, owned by major brewer Lion, features labels with drawings of wolves, a shark fin and an Indian Pale Ale called “birthday suit” with a grizzly beer holding a hop bud. And two months ago, the darling of the New Zealand craft beer scene, Garage Project, released a “Lola cheery cola beer” in a can with a striking resemblance to Coca-Cola.

But while this type of branding can be fun and exciting for adults, it can spell confusion for youngsters, said Rebecca Williams, director of the Alcohol Healthwatch group.

She said cartoons on alcohol labelling sent a message to minors that alcohol consumption should not be taken seriously, blurring the reality that it contained a toxin.

“Look at the colours of them – they’re cute, they’re quirky,” said Williams.

When children liked a brand or could relate to it, it translated into early alcohol consumption, she said.

“I think it’s about time somebody was challenged.”

Read more »

Why weren’t Grant and Andy drinking working men’s beer?

Andrew Little and Grant Robertson sat down to drink beer and try to look blokesy to middle New Zealand.

But they failed.

For a start Robbo seems to have some sort of magical fairy beer in his hands. Did Grant really want to present himself as the piss fairy?

On closer inspection it seems that they were drinking Tuatara craft beer, not Lion Red.

So not only did they not choose a real working man’s beer they chose some liberal elite poofy craft beer.

It shows how really out of touch they are with middle New Zealand.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day


Baghdad Country Club

It takes Real Balls to Play here

 The Who’s Who of Baghdad’s Green Zone Ate Steak and Drank Fine Wine at a Bar that Billed It’self as “An Oasis of Calm.”

So, many Western visitors to Iraq in the past decade have thrown their heads back after a near-miss with a roadside bomb and thought, I need a drink right now. That was where the Baghdad Country Club came in.

“The management is happy to secure any firearms, grenades, flash bangs or knives in the club armory.”

Saturday night in Baghdad, and Heidi, the barmaid at the Baghdad Country Club, is worried about the beer. On a busy night, she might serve 800 cold ones to the diplomats, security guards, and construction workers who frequent the Country Club, a white cinder-block house with blue trim on a residential street in the Green Zone.

The BCC, as its known, gets its alcohol from suppliers outside the walls, but insurgents are targeting the crossings on either side of the Tigris River. On this Saturday, a truck bomb on a bridge has locked up traffic on the west bank of the Tigris, delaying the delivery of the night’s beer supply. Heidi, a recent college graduate from Florida, wonders whether the war will eventually collapse on the Green Zone, the way it did on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. But she doesn’t let that occupy her for long. Looking down at the empty glass in her hand, she smiles and says, “Let’s do a shot…

Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Private Voytek "He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer - he drank a bottle of beer like any man." Pictured here with Voytek is the Polish soldier Henryk Zacharewicz. In 1942, Polish soldiers, who had been released from Russian POW camps to join in the fight against Nazi Germany, adopted an orphaned Syrian brown bear cub from a boy in northern Iran. The bear would become the pet and mascot of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. The bear reportedly even fought alongside his fellow soldiers at the savage Battle of Monte Cassino in the spring of 1944, carrying heavy crates of mortar shells. With the approval of the Polish high command, the company's emblem was then changed to one showing a bear carrying a massive artillery shell.

Private Wojtek “He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man.” Pictured here with Voytek is the Polish soldier Henryk Zacharewicz.

Private Wojtek

A Beer for a Bear

Archibald Brown had already seen a lot during the war — but nothing like this. It was mid-February 1944, and the courier for British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery was in the port of Naples to help process a unit of Polish soldiers that had just arrived by ship from Alexandria, Egypt, to advance with British soldiers against German and Italian forces. Among his everyday duties was checking crew manifests and speaking with freshly arrived soldiers. But this would be no typical day.

Brown had already spoken with every single member of the new unit, the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps — except one.

“We looked at the roster, and there was only one person, Private Wojtek, who had not appeared,” Brown recalled in an interview years later. But the documents said that Wojtek belonged to the unit. Brown had his service number and his pay book, but the soldier himself seemed to have vanished without a trace.

Brown then called out the soldier’s name, but there was no response. So he asked the other soldiers why Wojtek wasn’t coming forward. An amused colonel responded: “Well, he only understands Polish and Persian.” Brown was then led to a cage holding a full-grown Syrian brown bear, the unit’s most popular member.

Read more »

Tony Abbott downs a schooner of VB and recovers in the polls

Tony Abbot is having a blinder, not only putting Bob Hawke to shame in the beer drinking stakes. No wonder his poll ratings are improving.

Predictably the wowsers are upset over the beer drinking.

BOB Hawke’s world record as Australia’s only PM famous for skolling a yard of ale is under fire tonight after Tony Abbott downed a VB in one go.

The Prime Minister was caught on iPhone video slamming down the schooner with revellers at a Sydney pub.

Members of the University of Technology Sydney’s Bats Football club celebrating at The Oaks Hotel in Double Bay called the PM over for a drink.    Read more »


They forgot it is also the cure for Ebola

The wowsers are out in force again with a gay ad that promotes drinking water instead of beer.

Water is being marketed as a spoof beer brand in the latest campaign aimed to curb problem drinking in New Zealand.

The Health Promotion Agency campaign, which includes television ads, billboards and street posters, begins today and continue until January.

HPA communication and capacity manager Tane Cassidy said water was being marketed in a light-hearted way. That included renaming it Not Beersies, a term audiences were familiar with from previous alcohol awareness campaigns.  Read more »

Paid with rats? How does that turn into a living wage?

Vice is enjoying some of New Zealand quirkiness

For centuries New Zealand flightless birds and slow-moving reptiles lived without fear of native predators. This golden era ended when the British showed up on rat-infested ships. Since then, rats have become the key player in the destruction of native forestry and the extinction of nine native species of birds. Clearly the rats need to go, but how do you motivate New Zealanders into becoming active rat hunters?

Beer Trap is a program that lets time-rich and beer-poor university students swap dead rats for free brews. Genius, right? We spoke to Jonathan Musther, one of the masterminds of the campaign, about the intricacies of fixing the environment with young Kiwis and alcohol.

VICE: So first of all, how do I get a free beer?
Jonathan Musther: It’s pretty simple, you bring a dead rat to Victoria University of Wellington’s Science Society, we supply the traps, and we exchange it for a voucher which you can use to claim a drink at The Hunter Lounge (the uni bar).

Other than beers, why are we killing rats?
It’s a twofold problem. For one they kill a lot of our natives. They eat skinks and lizards and they also eat insects like the Weta. Plus birds’ eggs—even tree-nesting birds like the Tui’s because rats can climb trees quite happily.

Interesting to know that the money we use to fund our universities are going to provide beer for pied piper type students. Read more »

Map of the Day

US Beer of Choice


Beer of choice by state. Atleast there is Yuengling and Boston Brewing in the sea of Bud.

Great news, beer-soaked meat is good for you


What wonderful news, beer-soaked meat actually turns out to be good for you.

GRILLING meat gives it great flavour. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater’s chances of developing colon cancer. For those who think barbecues one of summer’s great delights, that is a shame. But a group of researchers led by Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto, in Portugal, think they have found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggest, you should add beer.  Read more »


Cunliffe promoting binge drinking now?

Poor sad little David Cunliffe is upset John Key said he could beat him in a game of beer pong.

He is so upset he is now talking about his own piss drinking abilities and his willingness to drink John Key under the table.

Forget political debates – the main party leaders are boasting over who would win a beer pong battle.

It follows John Key taking part in a game of the table ‘sport’ of sorts at Auckland’s Big Gay Out over the weekend and being criticised for the number of beers he was forced to down.

Mr Key says he would definitely beat David Cunliffe at a game of beer pong.

The Labour leader seems up for it.

“I could, I’m sure – if the moment arose – drink him under the table. I have body mass on my side.”

Perhaps we could settle the election this way?