A Crown Lager used to be enough to make the bogan look sophisticated. The “golden microphone” was in the right hand whenever a birthday speech, awards speech, or other special occasion occurred. Crown was first released to the Australian public to commemorate the Queen’s visit in 1954, allowing the bogan’s ancestors to seem more classy for Her Highness. But globalisation (and, perhaps, republicanism) has meant that the new bogan needs more. It now wants to communicate its national sophistication by drinking beers from other countries.
Initially, the two main local brewers (Foster’s and Lion Nathan) were fearful. If the new bogan didn’t want to drink local beers as much, how would they make money? After much hand-wringing and whiteboard scribbling, an answer appeared. The approach was made: “Dear European brewery, can we please get permission to make beer in Australia, pay you so we can put your label on it, and sell it to our bogans?” If the price was right, the answer was often “Yes”. Or “Ja!”, as it were.
And so it happened. Soon the shelves of the local bottle shop were seeing more Carlsberg, Beck’s, Stella Artois, and Heineken than ever before. And cheaper than it previously was, too. Now the new bogan could get his hands on a slab of European beer for under $45, and gain all of the credibility that a slender green bottle could confer. New bogan males wanted to be him, bogan females wanted to be with him. One night he was trying to pick up at a backpackers bar, and his international style caught the eye of a German girl. He bought her a stylish beer, which she spat out on the first sip, exclaiming “Zis is not Beck’s!” Correct analysis, Gretchen, the primary thing it has in common with the original product is the logo. The bogan looked at Gretchen quizzically, wondering whether she was having trouble reading the English alphabet.
Meanwhile, Foster’s and Lion Nathan were laughing all the way to the bank. European beers were generally sold in 330ml bottles instead of the Aussie standard 375ml. This effectively meant that they’d moved from selling 375ml slabs of locally made beer for $35, to selling 330ml slabs of locally made beer for $45. The licence fees only took up a small slice of this massive bogan windfall. But the new bogan is blissfully happy. He is now a man of the world, even when not wearing his Bintang singlet.