Oh, Canada Day: Friends, Neighbours, Partners, Allies

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This is somewhat of an inside joke. When I was in D.C. earlier this year for the Craft Brewers Conference, I went for a long walk around the city, a little sightseeing. I made my way past the Canadian Embassy, in part because I had been invited to an event there later that same night by my good friend Stephen Beaumont, and I wanted to know where I would be going so as not to get lost. As I ambled past the embassy, I noticed four sleeves on four columns, part of a circular ring of columns, in front of the building. On each, was a word expressing the nature of Canada’s special relationship with America: Friends, Neighbours, Partners, Allies.

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I chuckled to myself, but for some reason it stuck in my mind and when I saw Stephen later that day, I badgered him incessantly, repeating to him — in a low, serious voice — Friends … Neighbours … Partners … Allies. I changed the delivery, the emphasis and inflection, each time, like an actor trying out different versions searching for just the right one. If it was funny the first time (and I say charitably it was), by the fiftieth, Stephen’s patience was wearing understandably thin. But I was too far gone, it was an earworm caught in my head like an annoying song that you can’t stop from replaying over and over again until you want to scream. To his credit, he suffered through it for the next few days until the conference was over. But seeing that today is Canada Day, it brought back those four little words and so I’d like to say to everyone I know in Canada: “Happy Canada Day to my Friends … Neighbours … Partners … Allies!”

Beer In Ads #902: Molson’s Completes The Picture


Tuesday’s ad is for Molson, from 1957. The Canadian ad shows two couples watching sports on television — because it’s Canada they’re watching hockey, of course. With the “complete’s the picture” tagline, part of the ad is framed, so that one of the men can reach his long arm through that frame to reach for another bottle of Molson.

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North American Guild of Beer Writers Membership Drive

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For the last few years, I’ve been pestering some of my colleagues that we needed to revive the long dormant Beer Writers Guild that folded a decade or so ago. Happily, people less lazy than me then took up the cause and led the charge, especially Lucy Saunders, who did much of the heavy lifting. Little by little, we’ve gotten the band back together, and have been quietly rebuilding a trade group for those of us trying to make a living writing about beer. Just by word of mouth, we’ve rounded up forty members and are hoping to increase that. Dues for the new North American Guild of Beer Writers are $45 a year for a full membership, $25 for an associate membership and we also have $100 industry memberships for “those employed by breweries, allied industries or agencies, interested in supporting the Guild and outreach to beer writers.” Full details on membership can be found on the “Join Us” page. Here’s the basic information:

We are beer writers.

Sometimes we act as evangelists, advocates and celebrators. Other times we are antagonists, agitators and truth-seekers. We are authors, writers, publicists, bloggers and columnists. We tirelessly cover the brewing industry — and those who appreciate beer — across North America.

Many of us are self-employed or do this as a side “gig” in addition to our “real jobs.” Some of us are employed by breweries, beer distributors, beer stores and restaurants. Still others are publishers and event organizers, while some work for newspapers, websites, magazines and other media outlets.

We are an all-volunteer group dedicated to elevating the level of our craft as we cover the art of brewing.

We are beer writers. We strive to promote better beer.

Won’t you please join us in bringing better beer writing to North America?

We are inspired by learning from shared experiences, and believe that an annual writers’ competition will foster awareness and appreciation of beer and brewing in North America.

If you’re trying to make a living writing about beer, or even doing it as a side gig, please consider joining us at the NAGBW. Things are just getting started, but plans are afoot to have regional get-togethers, meetings at prominent national events, like GABF and the Craft Brewers Conference, and a competition for excellence in beer writing.

Join us to share in beer education, travel, guided tastings, conferences and more. We organize an annual writers contest to encourage public appreciation of beer and brewing. In addition, we organize events to increase members’ knowledge of beer and brewing, and to sharpen their writing, reporting, design and broadcast skills. The group also supports professional standards among its members and other members of the media.

We’re looking for people who take the craft of writing seriously, and who specialize in beer, and want to learn how to be a better writer, how to get more work and also have some fun with colleagues. I’m pretty sure our get-togethers will have better beer than the average trade guild.

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Beer In Ads #788: Cool Off!


Wednesday’s ad is for Old Vienna, the Canadian O’Keefe’s brand, from 1953. While painting the floor red — why?, only heaven knows — the family dog knocks over both the painter and the can of paint. What to do next? The ad suggests that you “cool off” and “open a bottle of sparkling, light-bodied Old Vienna Beer. Is that before or after you smack the dog with a rolled-up newspaper?

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Beer In Ads #710: The Up-To-Date Ale For Up-To-Date People


Monday’s ad is for Dow Breweries, from — I assume — the 1950s, when bowling was king. Plus that was when ad copy was obsessed with the idea of modernity. Dow’s slogan, “The up-to-date ale for up-to-date people” is quite a mouthful, but it’s meant for modern people, since the beer is also “brewed to the modern taste,” whatever that means. How did they do that? Simple, it was “cool control” brewed, of course.

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