Everybody knows that the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission (the "LC") is a communist instrument to control our drinking behavior and limit our quality of life so that, like a bunch of deprived North Koreans, we plunge into a depressed malaise that prevents us from caring about life enough to bother rebelling against the government that is suppressing us in the first place. It's kind of like Stockholm Syndrome, except with beer instead of chains.
That said, Liquor Marts are generally well located across the city, and I have no complaints about the selection of wine and hard liquor. There are also independent wine stores that you can shop at, although they too operate within the firm embrace of the ever-caring and wise LC.
Beer, however is a problem. The LCs have a limited selection, and precious little refrigerated beer. Hotel beer vendors, of which there are none in my neighbourhood, have more cold beer but an even worse selection, and under archaic laws are required to operate in association with a hotel .. which is why there are none in my neighbourhood. For the life of me, I cannot imagine why independent beer boutiques should not be allowed to operate in Manitoba.
I went to a Festivus party recently, and brought with me a 750 ml bottle of Unibroue Éphémère. During the traditional Festivus Airing of Grievances, I expressed the following peeve of mine: that Unibroue beers are only available in Manitoba in these large 750 ml bottles. Unibroue makes some of the best and tastiest beer in Canada, but I'm deterred from buying it because each bottle of beer is a commitment.
Sometimes 750 ml is also more than I should drink in an evening. Many of the Unibroue creations have higher than average alcohol content. For example, Trois Pistoles, La Fin Du Monde, and Don de Dieu all have 9% alcohol. That makes 1 (one) bottle of any of those beers the equivalent of drinking 4 (four) 341 ml bottles of any average beer.
To make matters worse, the big bottles are plugged with a cork that's a bitch to get out unless you have a pair of Vise Grips handy.
All of these beer do come in regular 341 ml bottles. I know because I saw it with my very own eyes last time I was in Montreal. I bought a six pack for my hotel room. Can we get these here in Winnipeg? No.
Today MLCC tweeted (yes, they're on Twitter, aren't you?) that they were bringing in Collection Packs from Unibroue.
The Collection Pack is a variety pack containing a couple bottles of different brews (Trois Pistoles, La Fin du Monde, Maudite and La Fringante, according to Cody). This is fine and everything, but the point of a taster pack is to allow somebody to try different beers and find one or two that they like more than others. Once they find that flavour that they enjoy, they're forced to buy the becorked 750 ml bottles if they want to continue drinking it.
Apparently we used to have Unibroue 6-packs here but the distributor stopped bringing them in. This just raises the question about why our beer selections are being limited by a single distributor. How can our beer selection be at the whim of a faceless corporation? Why can't MLCC allow individual beer stores to import their own selection? Why do we even need the MLCC?
One of the quirky search terms that I found when doing my 2012 wrap-up post was "we want beer protest". I think this person may have been on to something. People, it's time for us to rise up and demand more! More choice. More freedom. More beer!