I find it hard to believe, but I think that maybe the marketing people at Carlton & United Breweries are being a bit disingenuous when it comes to their increasingly popular Great Northern Lager brand.
Let’s have a look at the packaging, for starters.
Well that seems quite nice. A SUPER CRISP REFRESHING, LAGER brewed in tribute to a local Cairns brewery. This Great Northern Brewing Company is doing a great job brewing local beer for the good people of Far North Queensland. However, I’m not sure that I recognise the suburb of Yatala from the Cairns region. Maybe it’s up near Kuranda or something?
Now let’s have a look at the advertising.
Shit yeah! The great outdoors of north Queensland. Just 3 boys (because this isn't a Pure Blonde ad) gazing wistfully out into the vast north Queensland wilderness. There's even a 10 part video series on their website featuring Aussie legends Jase and Simon fishing, camping, driving, fishing, catching crocs, fishing, smashing beers and fishing.The only thing missing is pig hunting. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the latest edition of Bacon Busters had someone smashing a Great Northern on the cover. Truly, the Beer from Up Here!
Except it’s all complete horseshit.
The Great Northern Brewing Company as perfectly described by Dr Brett J. Stubbs here was acquired by CUB in 1931 after an increasingly hostile price war waged by the vastly bigger Victorian enterprise. The point being made is that the local, independently run brewery was swallowed up by CUB through predatory business practices and it’s name is now being used by that same company to give the impression that there is a beer being made locally for the locals.
But of course all of CUB’s brewing in Queensland is now being done at their massive Yatala facility, a mere 1500km south of Cairns and 60km from the NSW border. The Beer from Up Here is actually twice as close to Sydney as it is to Cairns. The Beer from Up Here is also brewed closer to Jindabyne than it is to Cairns. And the last time I was in Jindabyne there was a distinct lack of reef fishing and wallowing in rainforest streams.
In fact, it’s only a couple of hundred kilometres shy of brewing a beer in Port Arthur and saying that it’s a beer designed for the Invercargill way of life.
Now I’m not saying that this multinational beverage behemoth is an arch scum demon that deliberately mislead their customers by repeatedly suggesting that this beer’s provenance is somewhere completely at odds with reality in order to develop a false brand loyalty by uninformed people with good intentions of drinking locally. The labelling complies with all the requirements of Australian law and is therefore COMPLETELY FINE. I’m just a bit upset they haven’t used the most iconic Yatala location in their advertising.