Finally snagged me some of the ol’ Saskie swill…

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Old Style Pilsner, aka Vitamin P, aka the Saskatoon Sombrero, has been available in Ontario for a couple months now, after being introduced at The Beer Store with little fanfare.  At least I never heard any fanfare about it–but then again, I’m not from Saskatchewan.

Of course, they don’t carry it at every Beer Store.  My regular spot didn’t have any, so I had to make the trek to Gerrard and that street east of Sherbourne.  But hey, it gave me the opportunity to return some empties, too.

Alas, with six tallboys setting you back $11.25 (if you don’t return any empties), it’s not exactly a budget beer out here.  But with the Stamps and Riders kicking off right about now, I knew I had to drink the Lifeblood of Regina while Calgary runs roughshod over the Roughies.  That being said, I haven’t had this stuff in about eight years, so I don’t even remember what it tastes like.  I hope it’s better than Lakeport…

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This just in: You CAN buy Old Style Pilsner in Ontario!

One of the most-read posts on this blog is an ode to Old Style Pilsner I composed some 14 months ago.  Granted, it’s not in the top 10 or top 20–but rather near the bottom of the top 40.  Even still, some 265 people (and counting) have come to this site trying to find out where to buy Old Style Pilsner in Ontario.  And until very recently, the answer was nowhere.

But that all changed sometime earlier this month.  Though I can’t find an announcement anywhere, The Beer Store now lists Pil amongst its products, with 15 cans currently on sale for 21 bucks.  They also sell bottles, albeit only in 24s.  You do not wanna drink 24 of those beers, though, trust me!

Now, I’m not sure whether demand was driven by a recent influx of Saskies to The Centre of the Known Universe, or perhaps a resurgence in popularity of the Canadian cult classic FUBAR and its sequel, FUBAR II.  Hey, maybe all those hits on my blog had something to do with it.  In any case, I’ll no longer hafta drink the bitter Czech semi-doppleganger whenever the Riders penetrate the Stampeder defence this summer–though it seems I’ll need to schlep down to Gerard and Seaton to get it. :(

Do you want a breathalyzer with that case of Old Style Pilsner?

Not only does Saskatchewan have the highest rate of drunk driving in the country, according to Statistics Canada, it blows the rest of us away.  As CTV News reports, “In 2011, the province had 683 incidents per 100,000 people – which is more than doubled (sic) the national average.”  That’s right, folks.  For every beer you’ve drunken, a Saskie has had two—before getting behind the wheel of his tractor…

“I’d like to think attitudes have changed, and in fact I’m sure they have,” Saskatoon Staff Sergeant Grant Obst told CTV, adding that his city’s youngsters are aware that consequences will never be the same.  Mind you, if they really wanted to crack down on drunk driving, they could remove repeat offenders from the Riders’ season’s ticket list, or fit them with an ankle bracelet that goes off whenever its wearer attempts to make a hat out of a box of Pilsner.

On that note, Ontario doesn’t drink and drive nearly as much as Saskatchewan, with Ottawa and Toronto reporting the lowest rates in the country.  It’s also worth noting that you can’t buy Old Style Pilsner, that evil elixir, anywhere in this province.  Coincidence?  I think not!

Party at Queen’s Park—Tim Hudak’s bringing the (privatized) booze!

The Ontario legislature may be prorogued until Dalton McGuinty’s replacement is appointed, but that hasn’t stopped Tory leader Tim Hudak from making policy proposals, which don’t necessarily reflect the views of his party, mind you.  The latest?  Put booze in convenience stores—and sell off the LCBO while we’re at it.

“You could drive out of this province in any direction you wanted to go to, and you’d find more choice and more competition in privately run stores,” he said, according to the National Post.  Amen, brother.  When you can’t buy Old Style Pilsner anywhere in Ontario, you’ve virtually eliminated any possibility of Fubar III being shot in this province.  (Although, to be honest, that would be kinda weird if it was…)

And while he may lead a party that courts upper-income voters, Timmy Hu can still savour the taste of cheap beer.  As he told reporters last winter, “There are many folks, and myself included, who look forward to the $24 two-four on the May 24 weekend, that is now something in the past.”  But, as the CBC noted at the time, “Hudak would not commit to making cheaper beer part of the Tories’ platform in the provincial election set for Oct. 6.”  Here’s hoping this latest announcement signifies a change of policy for the next election… Beer & Spirits 2013!

A tale of two brews: The reason why you can’t buy Old Style Pilsner in Ontario–and Calgary Beer finally comes back to Calgary!

In a recent conversation I had pertaining to the corporate/government duopoly that reigns over liquor sales in this province, I brought up the case of Pilsner beer (officially known as Old Style Pilsner, but to anyone who grew up out west, it’s Pilsner, or just Pil) not being available anywhere in Ontario.  Which is somewhat puzzling, really, since it’s been a Molson product ever since they bought out Sick’s Brewery in 1958.  In fact, just about half of the wall posts on the beer’s Facebook page are from people asking where they can get it over here.  Sorry folks, but you can’t.

As the brand explains on its website, Molson launched Pilsner in Ontario back in ’92.  But, and this is a direct quote, “Luckily for us, and unluckily for the soon-to-be-unemployed marketing manager, Pil fails to catch on and quickly returns home where it belongs.”  And they say Torontonians are snobs!

Alas, it seems that with everybody chugging OV while watching the Jays win the World Series, Molson was unable to convince Toronto that the beer from the West was the best.  And so, the only way to get Pil in Ontario would be to take a time machine back to 1992, and purchase so much of it that Molson changes its mind–and its marketing strategy.  And while you’re at it, d’ya think you could sign Robbie Alomar to a contract extension? ;)

Speaking of Molson’s marketing, when was the last time you saw anyone drinking Old Vagina, anyways?

Mind you, while the 20th anniversary of Pilsner’s short-lived Ontario run is a cause for mourning for a few Saskies who took a wrong right turn in Moose Jaw and ended up out East, that hardly compares to an even larger alcoholic injustice perpetuated by Molson that has just recently been rectified–albeit for a limited time only.  Did you know that for the better part of three decades, you couldn’t buy Calgary Beer in Calgary!?  In fact, the only place you could find the historic taste of Cowtown for many years was Saskatchewan.  How does that work!?

Well, as The Anchor Weekly explains, the brewery founded by Stampede honcho A.E. Cross in 1892 was sold to Carling O’Keefe in the 60’s, who stopped selling their product to Alberta in 1985.  When Molson bought Carling, they moved production of Calgary Beer to Vancouver (go fucking figure!), and have really only sold it in Saskatchewan since, aside from a couple appearances at the ’88 Olympics and in 1992 to mark its 100th anniversary.

But much like Michael Jordan, Calgary Beer is coming back for a third time, to commemorate the 100th edition of the Calgary Stampede this summer.  They started selling it at Sobey’s and Co-Op last winter, while Original Joe’s is serving it at its Calgary locations–but only until they take down the rides at the Stampede grounds.  Come August, Calgary Beer will once again be exclusive to Saskatchewan.

Man, how many cases do I hafta fly out there and buy to make them rethink that decision? ;)