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ILLfarmboy
01-17-2008, 12:45
While I won't defend the the proliferation of froo froo, fruity "malternatives" I did notice something at a social gathering this past Saturday, something called California Coolers.

I picked up the bottle and examined it, figuring it was the latest de-flavored and "fruit" re-flavored beer. but surprisingly, it boasted it was made from real fruit wine. I didn't taste it, but at least its a step in the right direction.

It would be nice to see all these malt RTD's give way to spirit based RTD's. It has long been a pet peeve of mine that those beverages don't contain the spirits for which they are named. It has always struck me as being very disingenuous, sort of like buying something in a clear bottle in the refrigerated section next to the soda, a brown liquid with the Lipton name prominently displayed, only to find out that the word tea is oddly missing from the label because its not actually made from tea leaves.

cowdery
01-17-2008, 17:15
Oh, you kids.

Back in the 70s and early 80s, there was this big craze for something called wine coolers and the product that stated it all was California Cooler. They had this great, partially true mythology about a recipe developed over the course of many, many beach parties, a refreshing combination of white wine, fruit juice, and other favors. California Cooler was the first, got huge fast, and spawned imitations, most notably Gallo's entry, Bartles and Jaymes (which is still around as a malternative but was originally a wine cooler).

In I think it was 1984, Brown-Forman created a sensation by buying the independent California Cooler Company for $80 million, which is probably like three gazillion in today's dollars. The wine cooler craze immediately collapsed.

One justifies the fact that there is no Jack Daniel's in Jack Daniel's Black Jack Hard Cola with the same logic as one explains why there is no actual Jack Daniel's in a Jack Daniel's tee shirt. I don't buy that either, since a tee shirt is not a beverage, but even many of the licensed food items don't contain whiskey as an ingredient. To the consumer, it says Jack Daniel's, it tastes good, and it gets me buzzed; end of discussion. So, yeah, it's very caveat emptor.

ThomasH
01-17-2008, 18:05
What a blast from the past. The thing I remember most about California coolers is the thing I should probably have tried to remember the least: the after taste of the orange flavored version. It reminded me specifically of drinking kerosene. I don't think I have every had anything since with that rotten of an after taste. You could easily become nauseated from the aftertaste long before the buzz from drinking it set in!

Thomas

ThomasH
01-17-2008, 22:19
After thinking back about all the coolers that came out in the 1980's, another bottom of the barrel brand was the White Mountain cooler, which was actually malt based. We could drink these along with beer legally when we were 19 instead of having to be 21 for wine coolers. I was never big on coolers to begin with and it might have even been the White Mountain orange cooler that was bad tasting, I can't really remember. All I know is, the orange flavored cooler was never on the top of my taste chart!

Thomas

ACDetroit
01-17-2008, 22:33
How about the Aussie Version that was a flash in the pan "Matilda Bay" it came in a 4 pack bottle or a 2 liter box! Oh the days of high school!

Tony

mier
01-18-2008, 02:17
Sounds like the highschool "wines" we had in Europe in the 80s too,populair cos it was cheap but not really tasty.Some shops still have it and a few years ago i bought a bottle out of curiosity and nostalgia and i can`t understand we liked it so much in those days.Luckily your taste gets better when you grow up.
Eric.

ILLfarmboy
01-18-2008, 05:30
How about the Aussie Version that was a flash in the pan "Matilda Bay" it came in a 4 pack bottle or a 2 liter box! Oh the days of high school!

Tony

I guess I was walking around with blinders on. I remember the Bartles and Jaymes version. It was hard to miss their advertising campaign. I remember also, as someone else mentioned, that they had a tendency to bother my stomach after just a couple. They were back then, in the late 80's, made with, I think, apple wine. Sometime after that they must have switched to a "malt beverage".

smokinjoe
01-18-2008, 10:16
If the wine cooler craze had one very redeeming quality back in the day, it was that you could get the girls to drink them. :cool:

JOE

cowdery
01-19-2008, 03:18
If the wine cooler craze had one very redeeming quality back in the day, it was that you could get the girls to drink them. :cool:

JOE

As I have read this thread, I have remembered California Cooler fondly. Maybe that's why.

CrispyCritter
01-19-2008, 20:37
It would be nice to see all these malt RTD's give way to spirit based RTD's. It has long been a pet peeve of mine that those beverages don't contain the spirits for which they are named. It has always struck me as being very disingenuous, sort of like buying something in a clear bottle in the refrigerated section next to the soda, a brown liquid with the Lipton name prominently displayed, only to find out that the word tea is oddly missing from the label because its not actually made from tea leaves.

no tea: Taken.

"Advanced Tea Substitute" anyone? :slappin:

I think a lot of the blame for the not-quite-beers with spirit names can be laid upon our goofy alcohol regulations. IIRC, if it contains spirits, the retailer needs to be licensed to sell spirits, even if the overall ABV is less than what one would find in a glass of wine. The "malternatives" don't fall under this restriction.

jowilker
01-20-2008, 08:54
Funny no one has named Boones Farm an early entry to the cooler market, not that I ever drank any of it.

John

cowdery
01-20-2008, 10:56
Boones Farm definitely appears on my drinking CV. I came from a beer culture, but while still underage there was experimentation with fortified wines of the Mad Dog and Thunderbird varieties, evolving into Boones Farm, then on to Lancers and Mateus. I could legally buy 3.2% beer at 18 but wine was still out of bounds so, naturally, that's what we wanted.

As someone else mentioned about coolers, the appeal of wine was that girls would drink it.

I associate Boones Farm with my Freshman year in college, 1969-70. I don't know what kind of "wine" it was, but it wasn't a wine cooler and the wine coolers were like a decade later.

ACDetroit
01-20-2008, 19:06
That's funny Chuck! I worked with a guy years ago and he always said this phase!

"What's the word? "Thunderbird"! What's the price? "fitty twice"! I'll asume that's the Thunderbird!

Tony

shyster512
01-20-2008, 19:38
Mad Dog and Thunderbird. Now that's a hangover from the past. Threw up my first time on Thunderbird. Our area was dry so we got it from the bootlegger who also ran the taxi stand. Thanks for the memory.

cowdery
01-21-2008, 10:05
Speaking of memories and the obliteration of same, I think my first experience with fortified wines was with Ripple.

OscarV
01-21-2008, 16:14
Mine was Boone's Farm Apple Wine, I heard that if you pinched your nose while you drank it you would not taste it, they were wrong.:puke:

spun_cookie
01-21-2008, 17:20
Now don't forget Cisco... apple and other fruit wines mixed... :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:

cowdery
01-22-2008, 07:54
I have a vivid memory of one time, drinking Boones Farm at the apartment of a friend, and listening to another friend, who was working at a pizza joint, describe how he was managing to eat every meal at the pizza joint (for free, being an impoverished college student) and some of the novel dishes he was creating from pizza joint ingredients. He wasn't from a poor family, he was just trying to save money on food so he had more to spend on drugs.

Ah, childhood.

TBoner
01-22-2008, 15:53
smokinjoe, you may be right. But after a few years of homebrewing and whiskey obsession, I can't get my wife to drink anything but good stuff:

baby Saz
Willett rye
Knob Creek
Dalmore 12
Dalmore 21
Guinness
Murphy's
Chimay Cinq Cents
any Belgian saison

You get the idea. Around Christmas, I got her to try Dickel. "It's okay," she said. "But it doesn't have nearly as much flavor as a good bourbon. Don't we have any Baker's?"

That said, if anyone wants some very dusty wine coolers from the 1980s, I happened on a country store in my dusty hunting with multiple cases of most every brand listed here, some of them clouded with infection or lees or caramel coloring or all of the above. All I ask for a case is that you pay for shipping and throw in a bottle of WT rye.:grin:

smokinjoe
01-22-2008, 18:06
smokinjoe, you may be right. But after a few years of homebrewing and whiskey obsession, I can't get my wife to drink anything but good stuff:

baby Saz
Willett rye
Knob Creek
Dalmore 12
Dalmore 21
Guinness
Murphy's
Chimay Cinq Cents
any Belgian saison

You get the idea. Around Christmas, I got her to try Dickel. "It's okay," she said. "But it doesn't have nearly as much flavor as a good bourbon. Don't we have any Baker's?"

That said, if anyone wants some very dusty wine coolers from the 1980s, I happened on a country store in my dusty hunting with multiple cases of most every brand listed here, some of them clouded with infection or lees or caramel coloring or all of the above. All I ask for a case is that you pay for shipping and throw in a bottle of WT rye.:grin:

A sure sign that angels do walk amongst us. And, you have one right there! Good for you, T. :bowdown:

:toast:

JOE

TBoner
01-23-2008, 15:51
Joe,

Right you are. She's great. And yet, she still sticks with my sorry ass. More evidence of her greatness (or her bad judgment...or both).

craigthom
01-23-2008, 19:14
I had completely forgotten about California Cooler. I'm pretty sure that's what gave "wine coolers" their name. I also remember that the White Mountain was a flavored malt beverage, which means it beat Zima to the market by a few years. I was working at a liquor store at the time.

Wine coolers came out around the same time Sutter Home struck gold with their white zinfandel.

I still think Champale and Malt Duck were the original "malternatives". They just hadn't stumbled upon the liquor name marketing.

Every time I see a commercial for Arbor Mist I am reminded of Boone's Farm and Annie Green Springs.

Caradog
01-24-2008, 11:35
I vaguely remember seeing something about a year ago about California Coolers being relaunched in any attempt to capitalize on the wine uptick, and appealing to the young'uns with a retro-8o's vibe. It was greeted with great public silence, I think.

In terms of fortified wines: anyone ever drank Buckfast? Famous for its effects in the UK - mythically crafted by monks or some such. Hell of a name - keep expecting to see it on these shores...

OscarV
01-24-2008, 11:55
In terms of fortified wines: anyone ever drank Buckfast? Famous for its effects in the UK



Famous for its effects?
Please elaborate, I'd love to hear about this.

Caradog
01-24-2008, 19:05
Well, I first heard about it from a Galway lass who believed the Hibernians were a separate race, able to withstand far more in the way of abv and physicality than other mortals. This counts in the sack.

The best was when some poor sap in a Yankee cap would sidle up to her at a 2nd Ave bar and say, "I heard your accent - are you Irish? I'm Irish, too!" and she would wheel at him, eyes blazing, and spit, "YOU'RE feckin Irish are you, Yank?!!" She swore by Buckfast.