Goon: A Popular Libation for Aussie Students

by • March 30, 2012 • Featured, FoodComments (3)2012

Since the drinking age in Australia is 18, I wasn’t really expecting strict policies with regards to alcohol consumption here in Melbourne. I also wasn’t expecting the school to hold functions where alcohol is not only allowed, but paid for and provided to students. So that was a pleasant surprise to say the least.

What wasn’t pleasant was the high cost of alcohol. Australia has one of the highest alcohol taxes in the world and a twenty-four pack of beer here typically costs around forty dollars. I’ve yet to see a thirty pack of canned beer, but there is an iced beer that looks about as good as Keystone Ice or Natty Ice. While I can’t say that I miss Natty light, I do miss having the option for cheap beer. Since beer is so expensive, many Australians turn to other options.

I haven’t had much experience with cask wine in America, but I’ve never seen it at a party where there wasn’t at least one joke made about its presence. But it’s practically a mainstay here in Australia. Cask wine is almost always referred to as goon, regardless of the brand.

I found Goon’s consistent presence puzzling at first, but it’s really not that bad considering beer and vodka are so expensive. Goon doesn’t exactly taste very good and it’s usually found in its white wine form, but the Australians get creative with how they drink it. Goon is almost always mixed with juice, which makes it taste all right. I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw it, but Goon is hardly fine wine.

I can’t say I’m not excited for a good glass of wine when I get home, but Goon has been good to me so far this trip. I doubt I’ll become a big Franzia drinker when I go home, but I won’t hate on those who choose to consume it. It’s certainly been a nice alternative to Natty Light.

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3 Responses to Goon: A Popular Libation for Aussie Students

  1. The Colonel says:

    It’s amazing what people will drink. As usual, world-traveler Mr Malone gives a clear and succinct explanation for the popularity of goon in Oz: it’s cheap. But years ago I was exposed to something I found even more amazing than goon. Back when expenses were larger and income was smaller, my wife used to sign me up for ‘focus groups’ at a local outfit which conducted consumer research. Most of the time my ignorance of whatever was under focus was near to cosmic, but for sitting with some other people (often equally uninformed – – the crisp definition of a discussion group is ‘pooled ignorance’) while the product sponsors lurked behind a mirror, I got either $50 or sometimes $100 cash for an hour or two of tedium.

    Back to drink: the last focus group I attended was for an alcoholic beverage. After a fair amount of blah-blah-blah, samples were distributed. I tasted it, tasted it again, and pronounced my consumer’s verdict that it would be a marketing disaster because the only people who would drink this ghastly swill were those high school kids who both [1] bought it illegally and [2] couldn’t get dates on weekend nights. The product: Bartle & James Wine Coolers, shortly to achieve stratospheric success. The result: I was never allowed into another focus group.

  2. Coleman Delapaz says:

    Traditionally home-made, wine coolers have been bottled and sold by commercial distributors since the early 1980s, especially in areas where their lower alcohol content causes them to come under less restrictive laws than wine itself. Because most of the flavor in the wine is obscured by the fruit and sugar, the wine used in wine coolers tends to be of the cheapest available grade. `

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    http://www.caramoan.ph/caramoan-minalahos-island/

  3. […] This piece was published in Farrago, Edition 2, March 2012. Image from The Rock @ Boston College.  […]

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