'Clean finish' but bitter taste from N.B. beer
Friday, March 13, 2009 | 12:58 PM ET
by Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca
The province of New Brunswick has decided to fight competition from cross-border shopping by selling its own brand of beer in liquor stores.
The beer comes complete with all the bland analysis typical of discount beer, including my personal favourite: "a clean, fresh finish." That assessment came from the NB Liquor CEO Dana Clendenning.
I always take that to mean, "No flavour at all to speak of really."
NB Liquor, responsible for selling alcohol in the province, is concerned that too many New Brunswickers are driving to Quebec for cheaper beer, and apparently the only sensible solution is for the government to have Moosehead brew government-branded beer under licence and sell it cheaply.
Never mind that the last thing North America needs on the beverage front is more cheap, tasteless beer. The beer doesn't even achieve its main goal, still being about 50 per cent more expensive than the cheapest beer in Quebec.
And then you have to wonder about NB Liquor's business model. What is their job anyway? Every brewer (except Moosehead) loses out as the government retailer undercuts them, selling year-round at prices lower than they are allowed to.
Way back in the dark ages, provincial liquor agencies were established as a sort of halfway house between prohibition and the free market for liquor. If NB Liquor is promoting cheap beer sales, what exactly is its role now?
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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