While shopping at Total Wine and More, a giant liquor store in Tampa a couple of days ago, I went to the “imported beer” aisle. While checking out their fine selection of trappist monk-made Belgian beers, I glanced over to the “Canada” section. This is what I found:
For those of you unfamiliar with these particular beers, they’re hardly the best Canada has to offer. It would be like having American beer represented by Miller, Coors and Budweiser products.
Once again, I remind you that I wasn’t in a tiny little store with a small selection, but a great liquor warehouse whose selections ran the gamut from the regrettable…
…to the sublime:
Even worse is what’s acting as our representative whiskys. Consider “American Pride Canadian Whisky”:
If you need a primer on Canadian whisky, Houston-based Hank on Food’s review of Crown Royal Maple has an excellent one. One fact I didn’t know is that Canadian whisky is a big seller in the U.S. liquor market, making up almost 12% of all booze sold, and second only to vodka. I hope that Crown Royal makes up a fair chunk of those sales, but I can see these cheesier, cheaper, nowhere-to-be-seen (at least in my neck of the woods in Canada) whiskys serving the “I don’t care what it tastes like, I just want to get hammered” demographic very well.
By far the saddest thing is “Canadian Mist”, whose producers are under no illusions about who makes up their market. Check out the ergonomic thumb indentation on the front of the bottle:
…and on the back, a groove for your fingers:
They only way they could improve on this design is by adding some kind of clip to keep in place the paper bag that conceals the bottle while you take a swig in your cardboard box under a highway overpass.
From an alcohol standpoint, we’re not putting our best foot forward. Canada needs a booze ambassador.