Liquor Barons Turns 26

This week, LB celebrates its 26th spin around the sun, having provided Western Australia with expert advice, industry insight and quality booze since a time when alcohol advertising in Perth seemed a little bit more simple...

 

Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for. You can't tell me it's not worth dyin' for...

 

Close your eyes and remember a time when Australian ground forces enter Iraq for the first time and the Iron Curtain finally drops ending the USSR. Bob Hawke skulls another yard of ale as PM while his epic political battle with Paul Keating continues for the Leadership of the nation. Bryan Adams is sitting at number one in the charts with Cher, Roxette and Daryl Braithwait nipping closely at his heels.

 
Bob Hawke celebrating the America Cup Victory at Royal Perth Yahct Club 1983.

Bob Hawke celebrating the America Cup Victory at Royal Perth Yahct Club 1983.

 

Carmen Lawrence is our WA Premier and first female Premier of any state. Our mighty West Coast Eagles are sadly defeated by Hawthorn in the 95th AFL Grand Final and the hottest day in Perth ever recorded was also taken with the mercury soaring to 46.2 °C!

Our Brand is born

The year was 1991 in WA and when a few local liquor retailers dusted off the cobwebs on a couple bottles of old port and sat down to have a meaningful discussion on selling booze, a brilliant idea was hatched while quaffing the rich burgundy nectar. 

 
The Red Baron: An Early Liquor Barons Logo.

The Red Baron: An Early Liquor Barons Logo.

 

The result of that gathering was the birth of Liquor Barons, WA's first independently-owned and operated retail liquor co-operative made up of four stores in Claremont, South Perth, Wembley and Subiaco with a mission to use combined buying power and offer a wider range of competitively-priced goods to our local customers.

26 years later, our philosophy remains the same as our collective has expanded to now cover over a whopping 60 stores in WA, selling a huge range of liquor, with probably a few less port labels than were seen in the early nineties.

60+ in WA: A Map of Liquor Barons stores in the Perth Metro area.

60+ in WA: A Map of Liquor Barons stores in the Perth Metro area.

Bondy's Beers: Picks of Perth in 91

Yep, the Australian liquor industry definitely looked a whole lot different in the eighties and nineties as we were still getting to know ourselves as a nation and coming to terms with our identity on an international stage.

This was a golden era when both local beers - Swan and Emu were both brewed fresh, here in Perth.

 
Alan Bond enjoying a can of Swan in 1984. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

Alan Bond enjoying a can of Swan in 1984. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald

 

By the 80’s, local business mogul Alan Bond had bought up virtually half of Australia’s market and had a stranglehold monopoly over WA beer.

For Perth punters during this era, Swan, and Emu where the only picks down at the pub with other choices and a broader selection of beer rarely entertained. 

Beer was closely linked to our national identity and fit perfectly with the values of mateship, larrikinism, the underdog and the hard-working battler spirit we hold so close. 

 
A still from an old Emu Export TV advert showing mates enjoying a bottle after a hard day fishing.

A still from an old Emu Export TV advert showing mates enjoying a bottle after a hard day fishing.

 

Beer commercials, still allowed to be broadcast on TV frequently at this time, capitalised off the connection, as ads from this era heavily featured these kinds of themes.

Swan Brewery was continuing a highly successful string of TV ad campaigns centred around our battler spirit and featuring that famous “They say we’d never make it…This one’s made for you,” jingle.

 
 

After featuring true blue highlights from our Aussie narrative in the initial advert, the campaign developed in later years to showcase a number of classic individual battler stories.

From Daryl Summers' rise to fame on television, Greg Norman killing it on the golf course, Brad Hardy’s journey to winning the Brownlow in 1985, and our unbelievable 1983 victory in the America’s Cup by Royal Perth Sailing Club and Bondy’s Australia II racing yacht.  

 
 

But not everyone was on Team Swan. During the early nineties. Emu Export was still hot favourite around WA with locals loving the beer's sessionability and refreshing light taste which was perfect after a hard days work in the Aussie sun. This was brought to life during the "Would you go an export mate?" Emu Export TV campaign.

But by 1991, Emu Export still wasn't recognised as the infamous 'Red Can' we know it as today. 

 
An old image of Emu brewery on Spring St and Mounts Bay Rd. Photo: The West

An old image of Emu brewery on Spring St and Mounts Bay Rd. Photo: The West

 

The original  Emu Export labels weren't predominantly red and featured the iconic Emu Brewery which was located just passed the Old Swan Brewery on Mounts Bay Rd. just before the city.

These iconic cans went on to become inseparable from our identity as West Aussies.

This week and in time with our Birthday celebrations, Emu Export is finally bringing back these hallowed 'Classic Edition' cans in limited supply for the next two months.

Collect a piece of Australiana and WA folklore by grabbing some classic Emu Export cans today from your nearest Liquor Barons store today and raise one to us, Perth and the year 1991.