Beer and the noble pursuit of nation-building

What does it take to make a country? Paul Martin might say gay marriage or, maybe, a fresh scandal every six or eight months. But I think Frank Zappa had it right. Of course, according to Frank, “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”

Well, let me see now, Canada certainly has an airline … at least this week. Is Air Canada still around, or has Robert Milton finished them off yet? You know, when you Google Robert Milton, you get Robert Milton Zollinger … you know, the guy who was partly responsible for naming the Strom-Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. This is a disease that includes recurrent peptic ulcers and hypesecretion of gastrin.

Now, I don’t know what any of that really is, but I would bet there are days when Robert Milton can relate.

And, then, beer … of course there is that fine tradition of brewing in Canada. There are two big brewers you might think of when you think of Canadian beer. One of those guys goes right back to 1786 … and ends right this month in 2005 when it merges with (gulp) the Americans. The other big guy started brewing in Canada in 1847, and is now part of a global empire based in Belgium. Oops, that’s old news … the Belgians merged with a company from Brazil (the whale eats the shark, da dum, da dum) who now boasts a 13% global market share. Trust me, that’s a lot of beer. Trouble is its website boasts seven flagship brands, definitely not including that Canadian one. When you delve further though, there you find the stalwart from Canada … amongst the 77 brands listed in their “local brands” section. How far we have come.

But this is a local magazine, about local things and local people and local issues. So let’s get back to Frank … who, were he alive today, I would love to tour around our brewery. Let’s get back to Frank because (frankly) the Yukon gets it … we have a beer and we have an airline (flying to Vegas, for the love of Pete … wouldn’t Frank have loved that one!). Okay, okay, we don’t have a football team or nuclear weapons (although if Frank had been a Yukoner, he might have said, “a hockey team who played for the Stanley Cup and …” sorry, we gotta leave that nuclear weapons one alone) but, at the very least, we got a beer.

We might not even be a province, but we think we would make a helluva country.

This story is provided by Yukon Brewing Company, an organization that truly appreciates the importance of beer.

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