Will 2017 be the year everyone finally stops drinking Red Stripe?
In sweaty clubs up and down the country, students differ across background, opinion, and occasionally dress sense. Amidst this display of diversity is one common denominator: the hand clutching a crumpled can of Red Stripe. It needs to stop.
What’s inside the can isn’t the problem. Jamaica’s finest isn’t a bad beer, and this isn’t a rant about beer snobbery. Yes, craft beer is in – Red Stripe isn’t some artisanal hoppy concoction and that’s fine. And at least a can is better than wincing through the dregs of Carling’s premier piss water. It’s just solid middle-of-the-road, two and a half out of five, bog standard beer. Despite no apparent stand out features, it’s there. Why is it so ubiquitous?
We all know the answer to this. It’s the same reason any self-respecting tech house night stocks it and the same reason gurning gremlins thrust it to the focal point of any photo they feature in. Red Stripe is the beer of the edgelord . A hip, Jamaican nod and wink to the fact that you’re a legend and nobody can tell you otherwise.
The thing is, this whole image cult is fraudulent. A quick visit to their website flashes up a home page screaming “WAH GWAAN? Enter the home of the world’s coolest beer.” Fuck me. Turns out it’s not just the people that drink it who are trying too hard.
For the record, the coolest beer in the world is the Kronenbourg can with Eric Cantona on it. Physically speaking, Red Stripe, which is only ever drunk lukewarm and shaken flat, is never cool. And wah gwaan? It’s brewed in England, so it’s essentially as cool and Jamaican as stoner kids who still seriously greet you with patois they picked up on the mean avenues of Berkshire.
Now obviously I’m a raging hypocrite. It’s a rare night out that I haven’t ended up getting in on a deal for four of the world’s coolest beer ™. But doesn’t that just prove my point? We’re all slaves to the inescapable lager, even if we’d rather not be.
In a decade or two, when people look through their old photos and stumble across their bug-eyed visage hiding behind this impostor lager, I want them to cringe. I want their children to ask them why everyone is holding the same thing and, as Mummy and Daddy stare confusedly at each other, have the illusion that parents know everything brutally shattered.
Because that’s what will happen if we don’t change our ways. If we fail to break the shackles of mediocrity and repetition, that is exactly what we will become.
It’s 2017. Drink other beer.