“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





10 June 2015


Morgan poll: marketing stuff
ripe for the kicking: what the 
team supporters prefer to drink

Having completely missed the last Australian Football League Grand Final, I promised myself a revisit to a Roy Morgan research poll once the footy started again. 

The drinking habits of AFL supporters was published in September. The footy seems to have recommenced. So here we go.

First, a disclaimer. I never played Aussie Rules as a kid. I mean, like every kid I had a few dobs of the old pill after school, or at recess time. But being a rebel from the start, I insisted on playing the round ball game, which was sheer insolence at Mount Barker High School in the 'sixties.

The enlightened Mr MacMillan saw there was a dissolute mob of European migrant kids who didn't fit the standard ocker country footy template. Then there were the mainly British inmates of the dreaded Salvos "Boy's Home", who were abused and whipped until any glimmer of competitive skill, other than vicious bullying and further abuse amongst some, was erased completely from their capacities. Mr MacMillan helped us start a soccer team.

Thanks, Macca.

We were rough as guts. Our first game away was at Noarlunga. They beat us something like 23-1. But we persisted. I think we beat Oakbank Area School once.

Apart from watching the Grand Final on the odd year, the writer has spent a life bemused at the communal time and money this game absorbs. Now, finally, Roy Morgan has given us remarkable details of the booze absorbed by the supporters of the various teams.

Just personally, this is much more fascinating that your actual footy.

It may offer little surprise that fans of the Brisbane Lions are "a hefty one-and-a-half times more likely that the average Aussie to drink rum in an average four weeks." Or even that they're 45% more likely to drink non-premium imported beer in the same period. What raised my eyebrow - just one of the two - was the thought that these northern folks are 31% more likely to drink premium imported beer.

Lions fans, overall, drink more beer than any other lot.

This must be of deep irritation to Carlton Draught, the club's sponsor. I suppose they're a huge importer of foreign beer, and make fake foreign beer under license, so they cover their arse. Even then, the figure must still make them worry about their own brands.

Also prominent amongst the spirit drinkers are the supporters of the local Port Power. This mob drinks whisky. Their allegiance to scotch is second only to the intensity of thirst the Queenslanders show their locally-produced rum. This would indicate to me a good reason for governments to make whisky distillation easier, as we just happen to grow vast amounts of barley, the essential ingredient.

Apart from drinking amost as much beer as the Lions, supporters of the Sydney Swans drink gin (also made from grain). Given Sydney's sub-tropical tendencies, this makes some sense. But compare the even more tropical climate of Brisbane and you might wonder why the Lions mob drinks rum, reliable fighting oil in the coldest of climes. Therein, I suppose, lies the answer: the Deep North likes its fighting oil, even in that sweltering heat. No, especially in that sweltering heat. It's locally-made fighting oil.

Sydney Swans supporters also drink more liqueurs than any other tribe. As my access to this Morgan research is limited to ordinary citizen level, I have no breakdown of exactly which liqueurs the Swans mob guzzles, but I suspect it would be more Baileys than Green Chartreuse. This of course favours the dairy farmers of Ireland, who sell 270 million litres of milk annually to Diageo, manufacturer of Bailey's.

Which must encourage the dairy farming co-op in northern Tasmania, who've patiently developed their Hellyer's Road whisky business over many years, hoping eventually to develop their own version of a cream liqueur. Dairy cream liqueurs are powered with neutral whisky, or whiskey, also made from barley.

Take note, Mr Bignell, local Minister for Agriculture. And Sport. Think whisky with no E. Or, dammit, put an E in if you wish. But let's get on with it.

The North Melbourne Kangaroos drink bourbon whiskey. South Australia should regard these enthusiasts as a likely market for its premium whisky once we get that happening on a scale equal to our output in the 'fifties and 'sixties, when Hamiltons and Milnes were serious local producers.

This was before successive - or excessive, really - Federal governments taxed Australia's whisky and brandy industries into oblivion. Thanks Gough and Malcolm. Sort it out, you two.

The Mighty Bombers' fans, the Essendon gang, drink kiddylikker: the sweet canned muck the trade calls RTDs, or ready-to-drink drinks. I gotta be careful: my mischievous slydexia usually sees me type STDs here: that seems as crazy a notion as a drink that's ready to drink. 

I suppose great vintages of Grange might be not quite ready to drink in their infancy, but it'll take a little more general community prosperity before Mr Bignell can lever those Power supporters into the Grange league.

At least whisky is ready to drink.

The Wine State might also take note that the only AFL team with followers who drink mainly wine is the Melbourne Demons. So much for South Australian footy fiends supporting local industry. Make more whisky, Mr Minister.

As far as supporting local farmers goes, vodka can also be made from barley and wheat, more easily in fact, and more cheaply, than any form of the whiskies. Which leads us to the Western Bulldogs, who are vodka nuts. Mixed with soda or OJ, this suits their sunny clime. Smart Doggies.

Oops. Almost forgot: Since their inception, the Adelaide Crows were ridiculed by everyone else as 'Chardonnays.' I can find no poll which suggests that this derogatory moniker reflected any particular drink preference, but the fact is that this crew now prefers cider.

Cider. Dangerously close to kiddylikker. In fact, those sweet flavoured ciders perfectly fit the RTD mode.

Most of our cider is made from frozen apple juice concentrate imported from China. Which leaves a grand opportunity for local growers and makers of true cider, like Warren Billings' delicious Lobo in the Hills.

Call this a footy-based agriculture incentive, eh?  It'd be good for both primary and secondary production. 

But the Crows? Cider. Holy hell. Go Power.


Anonymous said...

I took more than a cup of inspiration from this piece. South Oz needs its Limeburner or Lark.

This Black thanks you, White.


Ian Hickman said...

One reason why red wine isn't consumed much at Adelaide Oval for AFL games is due to the dire, overpriced selection. The only 2-3 wines available to the average joe that typically sell for about $6-8/bottle retail are being sold for $6.50-$8 per glass, an obscene profit margin by anyones measure! Then again, the majority of the food is the same overpriced, unhealthy, deep-fried crap that was being pushed at Football Park before the move. Not a good look for what is supposed to the the sporting jewel of a state that prides itself on quality food & wine produce. :(

Philip White said...

My people won't let me land there Ian, so I'll take your word for it. I'm not surprised. The poll, however, is about general drinking habits and purchasing, not what happens at the arena.

blemisch said...

you should get Barossi into the Barons, whitey