I read a pretty upsetting news story this morning on the net about the proposed Australian Government plan to increase the price of cheap alcohol such as cask wine & cleanskins, pushing the minimum spend for a bottle of wine to around $10 per 750ml bottle. This means no more $3 ‘white wine’ cleanskins that completely wipe your memory from the night before like your brain is a hard drive that’s just been formatted, giving you no explanation as to why you’ve woken up on top of your bed, fully clothed and covered in sticks with a street sign complete with attached metal pole and concrete anchor point lying on the floor of your college room next to you.

Actually, the only part of that evening I remember is lugging the incredibly heavy pole up the hill to my residential college at 4am with it draped over my back like Jesus dragging his crucifix up the hill to the north of Mount Zion. Actually, I would have rather had nails driven into my extremities like big J than suffer the resultant hangover…

By the way, you know you’re probably not drinking the most sophisticated tipple when there is no varietal on the bottle other than a differentiator based on colour.

“Red wine”

“White wine”

Ahh… memories!

Apparently the proposed changes will increase the price of a 4 litre carton of ‘goon’ from the current price mark (sometimes as low as $10 for a cask of Sunnyvale on special, or as I like to call it “The people’s goon” to approximately $47.40. That’s more expensive than a carton of Boags Premium Lager (if you buy it from Dan Murphy’s…)

The Australian National Preventative Health Agency (what a bunch of wowsers these guys would be, identifying anything fun and figuring out a way to stop people from doing it) states that pricing is “recognised as one of the most effective measures to reducing alcohol-related harm”.

Yeah, right.

All this price hike is set to do is change the habits of the people that the ANPHA is trying to target – binge drinkers. For every over-priced carton of cask wine no longer being sold, there will be 100 times more cheap industrial-sized bottles of drinking sherry going out the door. Why? Because people, especially young people, like getting pissed… cheaply. Fuck, you haven’t lived unless you’ve played ‘Goon of Fortune’ in a stranger’s backyard (which incidentally utilizes a fantastic Australian invention, the Hills Hoist).

For those of us who drink cask wine legitimately in a socially acceptable setting, like the large number (purportedly the majority of purchasers, if industry lobby groups are telling the truth) of pensioners who purchase the product to enjoy with friends, this price hike will only to serve to diminish their standard of living, which has already been heavily impacted by significant increases to household expenditure in the last several years.

Let grandma have her glass of Stanley Riesling on a sunny Sunday afternoon with her bowls gals, you heartless fucking bastards.

/end communication