In Monday’s Globe and Mail came an article about a beer aimed at Quebec’s sovereignty, L’Indépendante – Vive la bière libre. The main angle here was seeing the release of a beer whose profits are donated to the separatist movement as frustration that sovereignty has taken a back seat in the provincial elections.
Although it was good of the national daily to pick up the story, there were a couple of areas where the writer, Ingrid Peritz, missed the point. For one, she risked editorializing by claiming that a new beer might now be the only shot Quebec sovereignty. “The light ale may be the best hope of putting independence in the grasp of Quebeckers in the short term,” she wrote.
For another, her research on other nationalist breweries pointed her to an ad campaign by Labatt, the InBev owned mega-brewery FROM ONTARIO. A corporation would feign support of a political cause to sell a product? Say it ain’t so. A better example might be the immensely popular beer whose label has a shining symbol of pride on it.
Last, a quote from a marketing prof at HEC-Montreal’s business school (and amateur beer socialogist) made news with the quote “Beer is practically Quebec’s identity. It’s really the national beverage of Quebeckers.” I would not disagree that this province loves the suds, but beer is far from embodying the Quebecois experience (unless you tack an asterisk next to “beer” that reads “Molson and Borèale”).
All this said, I think it is fantastic that a small Quebec brewery made national news. Thanks to Ms. Peritz for her work and to Mr. Cox for the link.