Monday, 2 February 2015

Is Do-Goodism Poised to Surmount the Final Frontier?

Forget the celebrity deaths, politicians arguing about who should and shouldn't be on the telly, FA Cup shock exits and uppity Greek voters, the real news in recent days has been the shock announcement that the institution that was and currently is still the 500ml 9.0% ABV can of Carlsberg Special Brew may very soon be a thing of the past.

First brewed by the Danes in 1950 in honour of Winston Churchill - ironically himself in the news this last week as a result of him having not been with us for a full half-century - this true King of Beers (and let's be honest, by comparison Budweiser is but a clown prince) has fallen foul, it would appear, of the government's new "responsibility deal" which pledges to stop selling any carbonated beverage containing more than four units of alcohol in one self-contained container.

A can of Carlsberg Special, in its present 500ml incarnation, boasts something between four and five units.

Assuming that decarbonating is not an option, this leaves Carlsberg, which is determined to play by the rules, with essentially two options. The first is that it could reduce the size of its can. The second option - and forgive me Lord for I know not what I say - would be to diminish the ABV of the product until it is compliant.

Sad though it undoubtedly is, Carlsberg SB has a special (npi) place in my heart. As a young man of, well, a certain age (and I'll not incriminate myself further), I developed a fondness for the "tinny" which, as befits my character, naturally led me to embrace the strongest, meanest and kick-assest beer on the planet. I gravitated to Carlsberg Special Brew like a bluebottle to flypaper. Conveniently after imbibing a couple of tinnies over the Old Deer Park the empty can, suitably crushed, doubled as a football, and by that time probably looked like one too. Many a great time was had by me and my mates courtesy of the 500ml, 9.0% deity in a tin.

Progress, of course, is not always to be frowned upon. Whether the park bench topers and folk who shout at passing buses will lack the wit or the determination to open an extra can or two to negate the impact of the government's benign wickedness remains to be seen. Turpentine remains a valid alternative - and a perfectly legal and respectable one too, uncarbonated as it is.

Me, I will mourn the passing of the half-litre tinny like a much loved aunt. It is a sign of our times that they could dare to interfere with something so fundamental to our society, our memories and everything we are.

Salut, fine friend. Sir Winston would never have approved.

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