Sunday, July 23, 2006

AWEB#9 Uncle Ben's

Back in the bad old days of the 1980's the government regulated beer in Alberta. The only place you could buy the stuff for home consumption was at the 'Alberta Liquor Control Board' ACLB outlets. This was worse than Microsoft's monopoly on operating systems! To make matters worse the bars and ALCB outlets were closed on Sundays. I don't know how people survived under these draconian conditions.

As a side note, in 1988 the city passed a bylaw permitting bars to open on Sundays because the Winter Olympics were happening and Calgary would look pretty damn silly if visitors from around the world could not get a nice cold brew, the 'rule change' was supposed to be for a 28 day period. The revenues generated in taxes though meant that the law was extended indefinitely.

In 1986 there was a strike by the brewers and delivery drivers. This basically resulted in the liquor stores having no beer. A disaster for the average drinking Albertan.

There was one company though that was still operating, Uncle Ben's from Red Deer. For a period of several weeks this was the only draft beer available in the bars. It was some truly skunky green beer. I think the life cycle of Uncle Bens went something like this:

  • 09:00 Brew it
  • 12:00 Stick it in a barrel
  • 13:00 load on truck
  • 14:00 Deliver to bar in Calgary
  • 14:01 Serve to customer
  • 14:05 Customer is in the restroom with stomach issues!

This is not a brew I have fond memories of!

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