Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A True Canadian Icon

For my first official post as a member of the Red Ensign Brigade I thought I'd reflect on the beauty of one of Canada's cultural relics. What, I ask you, could be more Canadian than...the stubby beer bottle?

I admit I was a mere four years old when the beer companies switched to the long-neck bottle. Still, the stubby always held a great deal of mystique for me. It was the beer pictured in old beers ads, and you could always count on finding a couple stubbies with faded labels for defunct brands whenever exploring a disused attic or remote swamp at the cottage. To this day I am amazed that a bottle, which at first glance, appears to be quite a bit smaller than the modern long-necks can hold exactly the same amount of amber goodness.

This is one great example where nostalgia and logically-sound thinking come perfectly together. On top of the fact that it is Canadian, and evocative of summers at the cottage the stubby also has its long-necked cousin beat on several practical grounds. The website stubby.ca does a good job of recalling the bottle's commercial history and notes some of its obvious benefits but here is a summary:
  • Easier to store, ship, and package because no space is wasted by the empty neck and surrounding air;
  • Chills faster because more bottle is in contact with the cool surrounding air;
  • More environmentally sound because a stubby can be refilled more times than the newer bottles; and
  • Because of the wider base and lack of a portruding neck it is less likely to spill.
Though I, of course, don't recommend littering I've recently discovered that the stubby is far better suited to be thrown as far out into the lake as possible on a (drunken) hot summer night.

I'm heartened by the lead taken by Brick Brewery three summers ago to re-introduce the stubby to southern Ontario. I don't hold out much hope but I would really like to see the major breweries follow Brick's lead and bring the stubby back to the entire Canadian market. Cheers!

Update: I don't throw beer bottles into lakes. For more on this please see the comments section.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:40 PM  
Blogger Rhetoric said...

So, apparently somebody pissed in that guy's Corn Flakes this morning. See my comment in response to his post for more on how I feel about his useless commentary and his blog in general.

To clarify my point: I don't subscribe to this annoying Can-culture dreck that wants to see beer exalted as our only culture image. Conversely I realise that, you know what, at least for those under thiry, it is defintely one image amongst many. I had hoped (and frankly I think succeeded) with my post to discuss more than just: "beer is good, Canadian beer is better, and therefore the stubby is great". Clearly this reader missed where I argued for the practical benefits of this particular bottle design.

As for his implied complaint that this sort of post doesn't meet the (or his) usual standards for an inaugural Red Ensign Brigade post, I would ask him to read ONE post further down on my blog. I am admittedly brief there and because I'm relatively knew to thinking about where my blog belongs in the general scheme of things I depend on the Ben's excellent reasoning that I link to. But to summarise: I support the values represented by the Red Ensign; I support thinking about Canadian identity in a nuanced way that recognises the importance of our history and historical symbols; and I believe that these values are strong enough to bear the scrutiny of intelligent and logical investigation.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further comments here, if you want to bother.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Rhetoric said...

I'll reply to anonymous here because it seems that he doesn't want comments left on his page. I admit that I don't understand this because, frankly, I enjoy the back and forth capability of blogging and want people who disagree with me to have their opinions expressed where those who agree with me will read them. Also, complaining about the bandwidth used by my comments seems a little, oh...petty...when one considers how many pictures he posts. But each to their own. My apologies if you were offended--your site is your site. If you feel that you want to respond to this and don't want to write another post on your site, feel free to do so here. (Also, responding here to his attacks on my character etc. seems a little unnatural so I may slip between the second and third person)

Seems that anon has latched (quite understandably at first, but then gets carried away) onto one aspect of my original post. The throwing of bottles line. I've gone back and read my original post and realise that I definitely was not at all clear enough--I DO NOT support or engage in littering, dumping, or throwing bottles. I realise that it sounds like I was speaking from personal experience but the fact is that when a friend of mine insisted on proving this characteristic to me I was just upset as you seem to be, well maybe not quite as upset. To spell things out more clearly, by "discover" I meant "was standing beside" and had hoped that the admonishment and parenthetical "drunken" qualification would make it seem obvious that I hoped it would never happen again. I had hoped that it would be obvious that I was being sarcastic. If you feel it necessary to refer to me as "trailer trash" because I occassionally drink beer and was on the same dock as someone who threw a bottle into the lake, fine. I suspect though that that line of argument is really more of a cover for your pre-conceived notions about those who drink beer. Your wholly inacurate, and thoroughly offensive characterisation of me in your orignal post, I think, makes that abundantly clear.

As for the less caustic aspects of your response... It may be that the highway construction will have a net environmnetal benefit even after considering the loss of trees--I don't know for sure and I expect neither do you. In a perfect world I'd much prefer a ban on highway expansion in favour of mass transit revitalisation but I realise that is a political impossibility.

Finally, I'm sorry that you had a negative experience shopping at the beer store. The ones I frequent tend to be clean and fresh-smelling. On the other hand I've been to many of those enclosed bank machines that smell and look far worse than what you describe. This doesn't make me intensely critical of anyone who sings the praises of convenient access to money.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

You had me enjoying your piece until you said you throw beer bottles in the lake. I think you need to reflect a bit more on the values of the red ensign; there's simply no excuse for that kind of drunken behavior.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Rhetoric said...

Nathan, please see comment above.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Hmm, ok. The natural understanding of your original words would lead the reader to the conclusion I reached; namely, that you, from time to time, throw beer bottles in lakes. Well, I suppose I've written things on my blog that weren't clear either, and I'm glad to be corrected.

11:19 PM  
Blogger rightwinger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:26 PM  
Blogger rightwinger said...

First of all, try to relax, bottles are made of glass, which is inert, and indeed made from sand. Any residual liquid is 95% water, and 5% alcohol from fermented barley. Even the label is paper. If a stubbie can be thrown further (deeper) there is a lower probability of someone getting cut.
It might even make a home for a small crustacean.
Me, I'm too cheap to waste the deposit, and too conservative generally to waste resources be producing excessive waste

4:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home