Episode 15: Foster's Lager with Brent Treash
October 12, 2018
William and Ralph were Irish-American brothers who immigrated from New York to Melbourne, Australia in 1886. Three years later they were producing their first beers for local consumption, and three years after that their brew became the first Australian beer export, sent to South Africa to bolster the spirits of the young men fighting in the Boer Wars. Shortly thereafter their brewery consolidated with Carlton & United Breweries who continued producing the brothers’ beer exclusively for sale in bottles, the only way it would be available until 1958 when it was first sold in cans. For most of that time today’s beer was the flagship beverage in the CUB line, until the early 1970s when it began to be exported to Britain and the United States. Through the 1980s CUB shifted the brand’s marketing and sales focus overseas, till by the 21st century it was almost impossible to find in Australia, but had become the second most popular beer in the United Kingdom. This growth was in no small part possible because of the craze for all things Australian in North America and Europe during the 1980s and 1990s, a craze fed by the Crocodile Dundee series of films, by Quigley Down Under, by the Mad Max films, Cheech Marin’s masterpiece Shrimp on the Barbie, and my personal favorite product of Australia, Yahoo Serious’ masterpiece Young Einstein.
Today’s beer, however, finds itself in legal trouble over one little thing. Despite advertising itself as “Australian for beer,” only a small proportion of its output is actually brewed in the great Southern Continent and even less of it is consumed there. In Britain, its largest market, it is actually brewed in Manchester, while in the United States the quaff bubbles out of Fort Worth, Texas or Albany, Georgia, or in some northern climes, is imported from Canada – hell, it is also produced in China, France, Japan, Portugal, India, Ireland, Sweden, Vietnam and, yes, Australia.
Now part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, a symbol of Australia barely consumed by Australians, today’s beer is one of the best symbols of globalization’s impact on the beer market, multinationalism in an oil can.
That’s right, today on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer we’re talking about Foster’s Lager.
FYI - Guys, this is a saucy one - normally we aim for about a PG-13 rating, but this one has a little more language than usual, some references to sex, and around 45 repetitions of the enternal punchline "that's what she said." Bear that in mind before listening to this one around whippersnappers or folks who are a bit more sensitive about potty language and naughty thoughts.
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