Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey
Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey

XXXX faces extinction from Great Northern

XXXX Gold drinkers are facing extinction.

Like T-Rex and the woolly mammoth, the beer drinking "Goldasaurians" are being buried alive, not by the advance of a new ice age, but by the Age of Great Northern.

As far as Gold drinkers are concerned, this is the winter of their discontent.

Great Northern is smashing XXXX Gold. It's a beer war slaughter, the likes of which have never been seen before. It makes the German retreat over the freezing Russian Steppe look like a walk in the park.

For the uninitiated, Carlton United Breweries makes a heavy and mid-strength Great Northern beer.

The 4.2 per cent "heavy" which has a white marlin logo is known colloquially as the "white fish".

The 3.5 per cent Great Northern mid-strength Super Crisp with a black marlin logo is called the "black fish".

Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey
Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey

Deb Healey, venue manager at Palmer Street's Shamrock Hotel cuts to the chase. She said Gold was now seen as the beer for old fogeys.

"It really started about three years ago. Each year it increases 10-fold in sales. Even the Great Northern Crisp, which is 3.5 per cent, the same as Gold, is outdoing Gold 100 per cent," Ms Healey said.

"XXXX Gold has had its day. It's seen now as a beer for old fogeys. The 18 to 30-year-olds now will hardly have anything to do with Gold," she said.

XXXX, owned by Lion, is fighting back. Queensland sales director Pat Donohue said that on average, 480,000 Queenslanders still drink a XXXX beer once a month.

Mr Donohue drowns out what publicans say with a blizzard of statistics.

Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey
Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey

He said that 29 per cent of Queensland beer drinkers aged 18-65 drank XXXX Gold every month. He said Gold was still the country's number one beer and was growing 9.1 per cent every year. He said Gold even beats VB in sales.

Ms Healey has 14 beers on tap at the Shamrock. Eleven deliver CUB including Great Northern beers and three dispense Lion products. The three Lion beers are XXXX Gold (two taps) and Tooheys New. She will have Great Northern Super Crisp on tap in time for Wednesday night's State of Origin.

"For every one keg of Gold I go through, I go through four Great Northern kegs," she said.

Robyn Sexton at South Townsville's Victoria "Vic" Park Hotel said Great Northern wasn't "taking over" from XXXX Gold. She said it had already taken over.

"It has taken over. Everyone is changing from Gold to Great Northern. And it's not just the younger drinkers. It's all age groups," she said.

Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey
Beer Wars. Great Northern is quickly taking over XXXX Gold for popularity. Shamrock Hotel Bartender Jade McPhee and Publican Deb Healey

"On a Friday afternoon here now we could have two taps of Great Northern going non-stop.

"It would be nothing but Great Northern schooners. Even the VB drinkers are changing to Great Northern."

Ms Sexton said the rise and rise of Great Northern and the rise and fall of XXXX Gold was more to do with changing fashions and tastes.

"I don't think it's got anything to do with what the makers of XXXX Gold have done. It's the way things go," she said.

Duty manager at the inner city Herbert Hotel Hayden Wyld said XXXX Gold was holding its own up until Great Northern put out its "black fish" mid-strength beer.

"And then having it come out in 30 cartons, that was when it overtook Gold."

He said the Herbert had one tap for Gold and three for Great Northern.

Spokespeople at the Breakfast Creek and the Caxton Hotel, both owned by XXXX's Lion, said Gold was outselling Great Northern. Figures were not provided.

The Purple Pub in Normanton is one of the state's most iconic hotels. This is hardcore XXXX and VB country. Liz Rose, manager at the pub, said Gold was still outselling Great Northern in the 30 packs.

"But, when it comes to the tap, they are on a par. It depends really who is at the bar. The young ones will all drink Great Northern and the older ones will drink Gold," Ms Rose said.

The future looks bleak for the last remaining herds of Goldasaurians. They can run, but there is nowhere to hide from the Age of Great Northern.



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