Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

It was all going so well.

Despite the technical faults which pepper some of their batches – and a more-than-occasional dip into the Brand Wank jar (cap-tip to Phil Cook) – I had started to buy-into the fact that maybe, just maybe, Boundary Road Brewery were on their way to becoming a bona fide hub of craft brewing. Beers like American Double-IPA Stolen Base proved that one of the Big Three really could produce a delicious beer – and given the size of their operation, they could produce a squillion litres of it and sell it at a sharp price.

To quote myself from a few months back, How is that a bad thing?”


Well, here’s how.

8Wired’s Legend-in-Residence Søren Eriksen (who is worth following on Twitter, if you’re not already doing so) has drawn my attention to a new product from BRB – a product which, by the looks of it, sees BRB whipping-off their mask and reminding us all who they really are: ‘Independent’ Liquor, a.k.a. Baron von Alco-Pop. The company that gave us 12% cans of Cody’s Bourbon and Cola – a liquid so dangerous it’s used to discredit witnesses at murder trials – look set to give us John Lemon, an alcoholic lemonade.

Photo courtesy of Søren Eriksen (@8wiredbrewing)

Photo courtesy of Søren Eriksen (@8wiredbrewing)

And by my reckoning, John Lemon is a dangerous drop that we should all be rather worried about.

It’s not that I don’t like the stuff: I’ve never tried it. If it wasn’t for Søren’s tweet, I wouldn’t even know it existed (since it’s yet to leave any discernible footprint on the Googly InterWeb). It’s probably quite a refreshing drop, in a (and I’m guessing now) sickly-sweet kind of way.

It’s not even the likelihood that this 5% Lolly-Water is probably going to appeal the most to pubescent teenagers – who really don’t need another Wow-This-Is-Far-Too-Easy-To-Drink option up their sleeves.

Nope. You know what makes John Lemon dangerous?

It’s the fact that it comes in a bog-standard Boundary Road Brewery bottle.

I truly believe that we’re on the cusp of a Great Leap Forward in our evolution as beer drinkers – to the point where I write about it often, in a willing-it-to-happen kinda-way. In fact, it’s already happening: we’re shaking off the noose left hanging around our necks by the Swill Generation, and have collectively made the ‘craft’ corner of the beer market the only one which isn’t either a) festeringly stagnant or b) in rapid decline. In short, we’re buying more of the good stuff – and are increasingly prepared to hand over more cash for the privilege.

In terms of our progression away from using beer as an intoxicant towards appreciating it for its flavour, putting Alco-Pop in what is clearly a beer bottle isn’t constructive; on the contrary, it’s destructive. For those who are new to the beer-can-actually-taste-good fraternity – like me, Circa 2011 – it’s confusing when a gateway brand such as Boundary Road bung a RTD in a beer bottle. It gives beer a bad name; and we’ve already had enough of that practice from the Big Three, Thank You Very Much. It’s called New Zealand Draught.

I’m so mad about John Lemon that I’m on the point of my first Brewery Boycott – and that’s a shame, since I’m an open-minded Beer Geek who is utterly committed to (and preoccupied with) not becoming a Beer Snob. Snobbery is as counter-productive to our fragile evolution as corporate dickheaded-ness.

So I won’t say “Boycott!!”…but I will say this:

Dick Move, Boundary Road. And you were so close to Being Cool.


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