“Heay! Where’d they go?” I strained my eyes as we approached the (former) location of three beer cans we’d fished out of the ditch and left to pick-up on our return trip back to the car. The wife and I carry bags with us while walking this time of year, and we pick-up the accumulation of trash thrown out of cars over the Winter. No we’re not trying to earn a place on the right hand side of God, we just don’t want to spend our Spring, Summer, and Autumn looking at the same crap from last Winter. It’s just easier to pick it up when we see it the first time, and be done with it. Near 99% of the stuff we pick-up is recyclable, and since recyclables don’t cost nuthin’ to unload (not yet anyway), we just take ‘em Home and ditch them in a different way than originally intended. Of course, many of them are beer cans, so I wash them and return them to the Beer Store on weekly visits myself. They’re only worth 5¢ but what the Hell ? The objective is to clean up the roads and trails, not get wealthy a nickel at a time.
However, this year I care because I had an idea (as opposed to … having a clue). I wanted to compile and document the data on which brands of beer we happened upon, to determine which were most popular with backroad beer swiggers. Both Ranger and the wife will attest to my near obsessive need to acquire, compile, and document data. Any data, it doesn’t matter what. I just gotta gather data, and compile it into a useable format. Useable for what … I may or may not know, but I just loooooooooooove doing it ! So, I was pissed that some A-hole had robbed me of 3 valuable pieces of data (‘cause I couldn’t remember which brands those cans were). As we drove Home, we came upon a couple of joggers who might well have passed down the road we left the cans on. “Run the bastards down and I’ll frisk their lifeless bodies for beer cans !” I beseeched the wife. She refrained, I sometimes wonder if she’s really on my side at all. Then we came upon that suspicious looking young family with the mutt we passed on foot earlier. “There ! That’s them, those friggin’ fakes, there’s no baby in that carriage. I’ll bet it’s full of my beer cans. Hit ‘em fer Chrissake woman !” Again, she failed to comply. I really gotta start doing the driving on these trips myself.
I concentrate on beer cans in this study because I can relate to beer. I drink beer. I like beer. I’m not a big fan of water, but I’ll drink it when I’m walking. I have never even tasted a “sports drink”, though I question whether or not they give you wings. I have no doubt the cans themselves have wings, as a great number of them fly out of car windows on a regular basis. This is evidenced by the number of those cans we see in the ditches. I question the claim of “energy drink” as well, since it doesn’t seem to provide the drinkee enough energy to tote the empty can back Home.
Of the remaining ditch-finds, if it isn’t water bottles (that’s wrong in so many ways), it’s Timmy’s or McDonald’s coffee cups. The cups themselves, being composed of paper and wax will eventually biodegrade. ‘Course the lids will be with us for centuries. We see the occasional soft drink can, and I’m always on the lookout for the whiskey bottle whose contents were used to vilify the otherwise innocent soft drink. The wife then suggested the soft drinks might be what she called “cottage drinks”. That’s when you open a “pop” can, take a swig, then top it up with booze, and carry on. Heay ! I’ve done that.
So, since “roadside clean-up” is winding down as the snow has mostly melted, I’ll stop the data acquisition here and present my results for your perusal :
Carling – 23 cans & 6 bottles (Light cans – 2).We used to smuggle (alright – steal) a bottle of this from a weekly babysitting client when I was like … 12. Me and 3 buddies used to get serious drunk on it. Just like a few years later when we all got high as Timothy Leary by smoking banana peels (seriously, we really did. Smoke banana peels I mean, not get high on them).
Keystone – 5 cans. A division of Coors Brewing, it was introduced in 1989 (I was in my mid 30s) so I have no childhood memories of it.
Coors – 4 cans (Light cans – 10). From Coors/Molson (guess who devoured who in that merger).
Busch – 13 cans (Light 2) & 1 bottle & Busch Ice – 3 cans. Really, who cares ?
Moosehead – 2 cans. At least it’s independently Canadian owned (Canada’s oldest for that matter). Back in my and the wife’s college days, our Food Science Technology program coordinator arranged a plant tour of Moosehead Breweries in Sudbury (Canadore College was in North Bay). We toured the plant, then met in the hospitality lounge for “a few tastes”. Twenty sh!t-faced college students in a bus roaring back from Sudbury to North Bay was an experience never to be forgotten. Lotsa good times and memories to be had of that brewery. The wife and I really oughta go back there someday.
Steam Whistle – 1 can. Top points to this tosser for supporting another Canadian brewery. It’s known for being independently owned by it’s employees, employees’ families and employee’s friends. I’m rather ashamed of myself for never having tasted it. I’ll remedy that at the first opportunity.
Pabst – 5 cans. Again … so what ?
Sleeman Light – 1 can. I expected a better turn out than this, from Sleeman. But then, they were bought out by Japan’s Sapporo Breweries in 2006, so I suppose I can now admit I never liked Sleeman’s. Whew !! Dodged the bullet on that one. Ko-nichi-wa !
Maclay’s – 8 cans. A division of Sleeman’s (hence Sapporo again).
Budweiser – 13 cans (Light – 21 cans) & 1 bottle (Light – 3). Mildly amusing ads back in the 70s. That’s about it.
Molson Canadian – 33 cans (CDN 67 – 1) & 6 bottles. Perhaps mis-guided patriotism ? *see “Coors” above*
Lakeport – 2 cans & 3 bottles. Hamilton brewed – Anheuser-Busch owned.
Labatt’s Blue – 2 cans & 1 bottle. Also Anheuser-Busch owned.
Lucky – 2 cans. Check the history on this one. Be careful, it gave me a headache without even drinking any. Lucky Lager has a large cult following on Vancouver Island, and was brewed in Victoria until 1982. Labatt now brews Lucky out of Edmonton. In 1995, Labatt was purchased by Belgian brewer Interbrew. Interbrew was then purchased by Brazilian brewing giant Ambev in 2004 and the company became Inbev. On 13 July 2008, Inbev merged with Anheuser-Busch and Lucky officially became owned by Budweiser. Thanks Wikipedia. I mean for the data, not the headache.
All these were represented by only 1 can – Old Milwaukee, Laker, James Ready, Rolling Rock, Peroni, Lowenbrau, and Michelob Ultra.
While these are ciders, I wanted to give them honourable mention as I love ciders even more than beer (but nowhere near as much as cognac) – Somersby’s – 6 cans & Nickelbrook – 4 cans.
So, let’s do the math and determine who is the winner of this year’s Booze Cruise Refuse Award :
(Scene changes to brightly lit stage with announcer in a tuxedo T-shirt and baseball cap standing before a crowd of thousands in plaid shirts).
Announcer – “Envelope please ! (drumroll begins). And the winner is …” (pause for dramatic effect) :
“MOLSON CANADIAN !!” (the cymbals crash) “By a landslide !”
And the crrrrowd goes wiiiiiiiild ! They’re on their feet and chanting ! MOLSON, MOLSON, MOLSON, MOLSON !” Oh my God ! There’s Robert Goulet ! He’s singing “The most Beautiful Beer in the World”. Confetti rains down from above as scantily clad girls spin about center stage, in a pinwheel display. Four dancers break away to escort Molson Canadian to the podium. The cheering slowly fades amid wild whistling as the crowd stands in hushed reverence. Molson Canadian clutches the gleaming trophy of a half crushed beer can with a mouse skeleton and 4 dead wasps in it. He unashamedly wipes a tear away and addresses the crowd.
“I want to thank (the speakers squeal feedback as he chokes back a sob), I want to thank, the Beer Store, a-a-a-a-and all the distributors. But, but mostly, I wanna thank my loyal patrons, and you know who you are !” (a dull roar rises from the crowd) and I just wanna say…” (his final statement is drowned out by the crescendo of cheers from the audience). He wipes his face on his sleeve, and raises the trophy above his head in a victory pose as the crowd again begins chanting “MOLSON, MOLSON …”
Announcer – “Well that’s it for this year’s award folks. Molson Canadian reigns victorious though Budweiser ran a close second. Heay ! maybe next year … Bud !” The announcer points his thumb and forefinger at the crowd and feigns pulling a trigger. “Have a good Summer and Winter folks. See you next Spring”. He waves off and backs away from the podium, as the curtain slowly wrings down in front of him. Molson Canadian stands alone at the podium sobbing and smiling intermittently. Waving to the crowd, he leans down and shakes hands with well-wishers in the front row. The lights dim as the crowd slowly starts milling about, talking, shaking hands, and kissing cheeks. It’s over for another year.