Sometimes, right out of the blue, somebody comes up with a great yet simple idea that could upend an entire industry. A real game changer that makes you ask, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ That happened to us during our trek across southern Saskatchewan following a stop at a liquor store in Regina. Now we’ve travelled around the world, drinking beer in countless countries, but until this point, had never encountered this surprising innovation.
Here’s what happened. It was a hot and humid day, just before the August long weekend, so we made a quick dash into a large liquor store on the outskirts of Regina for beer. We usually try to sample local varieties along our journey so we always search out different labels. Partially because it was on sale, we selected a case of AGD Alberta Genuine Draft – Big Rock Brewery. A case of 15 cans went for a reasonable $24 (tax included).
Then, upon arriving at Moose Mountain Provincial Park in 31c sweltering heat (with a humidex of 42), we grabbed a can of AGD out of the fridge, went to open it, and literally jumped back in disbelief. What was this? An entire top-of-can pop top! Amazing. We weren’t sure if this was a defect having never seen a whole top-of-can removal system before. With some initial hesitation, Papa Bear opened the can, which ripped open with a sharp crack. Wow. This otherwise innocuous can was suddenly transformed into an attractive mug of beer. Ingenious.
Just to make sure that first can wasn’t an aberration or a production glitch, we popped open a few more with the same splendid result. It drank easily, with no spillage or drooling, and suddenly drinking beer from a can seemed far more sophisticated – almost patrician.
So after processing what we had just discovered, we carefully inspected both can and case for any information on this unique design, whether it was patented, whether it had a name (like ‘wide mouth’ or ‘gaping hole’ or ‘bazooka barrel’), whether there were any warnings… Nothing. This was incredible! AGD, why aren’t you trumpeting your breakthrough? No other brewing company seems to be using this novel beer delivery method.
Then, a few days later, we wondered, ‘Are we the only ones who don’t know about this? Is this something that all the young people know about and we’re just oblivious to (kind of like Pokemon Go)? So having now arrived at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, we invited a youthful professional couple (science teacher and nursing student) over from a neighboring campsite, showed them the can, and offered a sample. They too were both surprised and impressed.
So there you have it, this is a new concept, a paradigm shift of sorts.
Luckily now, having read this post, you’re duly informed on the ‘big top’ (our phrase) beer can so if someone hands you one someday, you can look mildly amused and say ‘Oh yes, I’m familiar.’ And then perhaps offer, ‘I imagine it’s had a revolutionary impact on drinking games worldwide.’ You’ll look pretty astute.
[Editor’s note: having had a few more of these beers around the campfire, we’ve discovered one major shortcoming. Soot, ash and the occasional dead mosquito seem to find their way into the wide mouth with a lot more regularity than ordinary beer cans, and perhaps more disconcerting, you can see it all floating around in there. Maybe the old can isn’t so bad. Sometimes ignorance is bliss…]