Thursday 3 January 2013

Unibroue and the MLCC

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.

You see, sometimes 750 ml is more beer than I feel like drinking in a given evening. Now according to the host of that Festivus party, you can cover or recork the bottles and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days. That may be, but to me keeping an open beer in the fridge overnight is just wrong and immoral. A beer can never be at it's best if it's been open for a day or three.

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!


Anonymous said...

Drink the whole thing man!

unclebob said...

I think you could go well beyond the word "suppressing" when describing the control of alcohol.
For anyone exposed to American pricing and selection, a better word might be racketeering or profiteering or maybe holding for ransom.
For regular beer in Manitoba you pay about $18.00 for a twelve pack. Last summer I was paying $9.99 for an 18 pack in Michigan
I can say the same for liquor. 1.5 litres of rum is about $53.00 in Manitoba. It goes for about $13.00 in Michigan
We will not see any change in this in Manitoba because the government is now addicted to that profitability.

Gustav Nelson said...

With talk like what you posted, the Gestapo will be coming for you. You'd better pipe down and enjoy what they give you.

Anonymous said...

why does the mlcc advertise in the freep with full page ads when they are the only ones who can sell the stuffta

cherenkov said...

Anon1: Okay. I can't resist peer pressure

Bob: Yes, they like to tax the crap out of our vices up here.

Gustav: I'll watch out for them

Anon2: Good question. All of our crown corps seem to advertise.

unclebob said...

freep advertising and gov't dollars - it is an incestuous circle - why else do you think the freep does such a poor job reporting on their great benefactors. BTW do you ever see any crown corporations advertising on blogs?
I guess the peanut would not complain about his beer if MLLC would buy a little ad space. Now there is another question of whether or not he would take their money, honour of course being more important than mere coin.
What is that little voice I hear saying, "Try me, try me!"

Portage & Main said...

"For the life of me, I cannot imagine why independent beer boutiques should not be allowed to operate in Manitoba."

I'll venture a guess: Because the NDP hasn't figured out a way to force employees at such places to pay union dues.

cherenkov said...

Bob: This word "honour" ... I'm not familiar with it. What does it mean?

Anonymous said...

I gave up on the MLCC years ago and just brew my own.

I brew 55 L all grain batches about once a month and can make anything from a Pilsner to an Imperial Stout. depending on the grains and hop requirements, 55L of very good beer costs anywhere from $20 - $45.

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