Barley Mowat 

Everything In This Blog Is A Lie… Including This

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I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes I go out to house parties. And sometimes, at these parties, my friends show up with mediocre beer. Not bad beer, mind you; they’ve all learnt not to poke the dragon. Regardless of their views on Molson, they’ve come to understand it’s just not worth the resulting lecture to drink it in my presence. Or really to even mention the brand name without an appropriate sneer.

Nah, we’re talking just “meh” beer here. Like Stanley Park Amber, for instance. It’s pretty insipid beer, but you know what? If you threw a dart in the LDB you’d likely come away with something worse (although that does raise an interesting trivia point… what IS the 50th percentile SKU in terms of quality at the LDB? I’ll look into it.)

As a milder form of my Molson/Stella/Heineken punishment, I am fond of playing a little game with the Stanley Park box that I like to call “Count the Implied Lies.” Why “Implied”? Because Mark Anthony Group (the fine folk behind this particular brew) are no dummies. They have lawyers, lots of lawyers. Heck, they might even be lawyers. In fact they have so many lawyers this article might be my last. And their lawyers have helped them craft what is just an absolutely fantastic piece of marketing that approaches, plays with–nay flirts with–nay spends all night buying drinks for, but never actually calls back the next day-with, but does not actually cross the line of false advertising. The package implies lots of facts, but never actually claims something outright that isn’t true.


Pictured: Exhibit “A”
Click to embiggen.

So let’s play a game, shall we? Count the number of implied lies on this great slice of packaging, and let’s compare notes. Please let me know if I’ve missed something.

  1. Brewery Location The brewery is, alas, not in Stanley Park… or close to it. The brewery is not even in Vancouver. It’s on Annacis Island. In Delta. You know, by the sewage treatment plant?
  2. Brewery Name Sadly, this beer is not brewed by Stanley Park Brewing. There is, in fact, no such brewery. Instead, we can thank Turning Point Brewing for this one. And Hell’s Gate Lager. Yum! At least they’ve taken the trouble to make a completely misleading website for us. Note the complete lack of references to any of: “Turning Point”, “Annacis Island” or even “Down by the sewage treatment plant.” But hey! Look at all these fancy pictures of the Sea Wall and nature!
  3. Brewery Founding Date Turning Point began operations in 2010 which a bit of research has informed me, occured sometime after the 1897 so proudly splashed out on their label. Oddly, the first Stanley Park Brewing actually started up in 1896, but perhaps that year didn’t test as well in marketing?
  4. Brewery History Turning Point has no relation whatsoever to the original Stanley Park Brewery. Why would they? That brewery folded over 100 years ago so there’s no trademark to acquire.
  5. Wind Powered Yup, they’ve got a wind turbine. “A” as in “one.” If you believe that’s running the boilers in a ~100 hectolitre brewery I’ve got a wind turbine to sell you. I’d be impressed if that thing powers the lights. As a side note, does anyone else find it odd that it rotates even when there’s no wind?
  6. Sustainable Brewery* Sorry, they’re not a sustainable brewery, in that they use more resources than they put back into the environment, in terms of electricty alone. They also order hops and malt from a catalogue, meaning that their supply chain is also almost certainly similarly un-sustainable. They’re better than most, but still not 100% sustainable.
  7. First Sustainable Brewery Ok, so they’re not perfect (and who is, right?) but at least they’re the first. Uh… nope. Other breweries have tried to be sustainable, most notably Crannog Brewing, who make a point of using solar power where possible, and growing their own hops & barley.
  8. Most Advanced Brewery Actually, I think they have this one. Every source I can find just completely raves about their awesome setup. “Most Advanced” is even less define-able than “sustainable” but at least there’s a few ways in which this one is demonstrably true.
  9. Belgian Amber This one is arguable, but I didn’t taste anything Belgian in terms of flavour. This is a straight up pale amber ale, nice n simple n bland. If there ever was any Belgian funk in that bottle, it was left behind in the filters.

* Sustainable is a very hard thing to define. Heck, the wiki entry on it starts with this notion. However, even the most liberal use of the word generally means a net-zero use of energy and resources, and they just aren’t there. This doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. My opinions on the quality of the end product aside, TP is doing lots of things right when it comes to reducing the environmental footprint of a product that is, afterall, very energy intensive to produce. Things like:
– Recycling spent grain (most places throw it out)
– Reducing water loss during brewing
– By reducing water loss, they also reduce energy costs (steam is lost heat)
– Hybrid delivery vehicles
– And yes, that damned windmill. Even though it doesn’t run the place, it does provide at least SOME engery, and that’s better than the magic electricity hole in the wall

However, despite all this, saying that they’re fully sustainable is misleading at best.

Written by chuck

March 5th, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Breweries

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9 Responses to 'Everything In This Blog Is A Lie… Including This'

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  1. It also states on the label: “Originally established in 1897 by Belgian brew master Frank Foubert.” I recently read a history of Stanley Park Brewing and not only was Foubert born in Ontario and of French descent, he was never even the brew master. The brew master of the original Stanley Park Brewing was an English brewer named John Dyke. I guess “Belgian brew master and owner” focus grouped a little better.

    Matt

    21 Mar 12 at 17:06

  2. […] tend to be in fairly boring places, places like industrial parks, or down by the sewage treatment plant. But why let the awful truth stop you from associating your brewery with a place that’s much […]

  3. The Stanley Park brewery’s est 1897 marketing is complete crap but as someone who grew up in Guelph Ontario and remember (vaguely) Sleeman’s brewing opening in 1988 I find their current ad campaign offensive. To try to claim the history of a past brewery would be like the PNE Colosseum claiming all the history of the great Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome. No gladiators ever fought at the PNE, no christians thrown to the lions, the current Sleemans never had anything to do with Al Capone or pirates and I doubt any of their recipes date back farther than 25 years.

    Edward

    17 Aug 13 at 22:13

  4. […] be full of fruity esters and lemon peel? Did I forget my long-standing feud and dislike of the most dishonest brewery in […]

  5. […] purpose again and thank goodness it was a single. This is my personal opinion of this beer and this breakdown of the brewery itself by Barley Mowat  is pretty […]

  6. Thank you for truthful facts

    Lubo

    24 Jan 15 at 19:14

  7. Hey Chuck, Just curious if you yourself have SEEN the brewery? the brewery which is in it’s entirety called “Turning Point” however with it’s distinct beer is referred to as “Stanley Pak Brewery” which has based its recipe on the original and bought the rights to the name. Thus becoming Stanley Park Brewery. Perhaps before you continue to slander a company which some people hold to a very high standard, you yourself may go the extra mile to research on your own. meaning drop the things other people have said in their “research” and see for yourself. This brewery facility is immaculate. very well established and VERY sustainable. What you claim to be lies or off from the truth should be further examined. On another note I do appreciate your writing style. however I full on disagree with your claims.

    Stef

    21 Jul 15 at 21:08

  8. @Stef – Well, first, if anything this article would be libel, not slander. Second, to be libel the contents would have to be demonstrably untrue. I am nothing if not well versed in the legal intricacies of defamation.

    Next up, I would severely question whomever supplied you with the stories behind the naming rights purchase and recipe. Let me elaborate:

    A quick CIPO search reveals that the trademark for “Stanley Park Brewing” was registered in 2008 for the first time by lawyers employed on behalf of Mark Anthony Group. It was briefly opposed by Granville Island Brewing, but opposition was dropped and the mark was registered.

    They didn’t buy the name from anyone, as the was no name to buy in the CIPO database. Even if the original brewery had bothered to register their trademark, it would have long since expired from the trademark database for disuse.

    So someone has asserted to you that Mark Anthony Group forced their lawyers (presumably against their advice) to undertake the long legal hunt to figure out who, if anyone, would have inherited the legal rights from the original brewery, found that person’s ancestors (wherever they might currently be), and then had them sign a document for an undisclosed consideration, to give up their rights to something they no longer had any defensible legal right to? Instead of just paying the CIPO fee to file a brand new mark, which the records indicate was exactly what they did?

    Next up is the recipe. Who had the recipe for the original LAGER brewed at Stanley Park? What type of LAGER was it? And the new recipe, a Belgian ALE, is “based on” it? In that it has barley, water, yeast and hops as they primary ingredients? Sure, the type of yeast, hops and barley wouldn’t be the same, but arguably the water would still be local, and beer is >90% water by volume after all.

    Next up: sustainable. I think I covered this one in the article, but please provide a better/alternate definition and we can discuss further.

    Lastly: Shiny. Yes, the brewery is shiny. Very much so. I’ve had people tell me that it looks like a spaceship in there. To answer your initial query, no I haven’t actually bothered to go out to the brewery. They’ve invited me, and we’ve tried to connect a few times, but frankly I’m only marginally interested in going to the source of Lululemon Lager, and even less interested in hitting up the sewage treatment plant

    chuck

    22 Jul 15 at 08:55

  9. […] only brewery-owned wind turbines in North America”. Their claims have drawn criticism from some of the craft beer blogging community. West Coast folks take greenspeak seriously, and if the talk is just for show, they’ll call […]

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