Newtown’s publicans have scrapped their more ‘adult’ beverages in favour of extremely sweet microbrewed alcopops more palatable to fresh-faced first-year partiers.
Owner of Newtown Hotel, Sarah Dunver, sees the changes as the next step in the slow erosion of the cultural cachet that has traditionally made Newtown an interesting place. “It’s been a long time coming but King Street is getting closer to becoming the new King’s Cross and if that’s not exciting I don’t know what is.”
Brady O’Sullivan, the owner of Kelly’s on King, is less impressed by the antics of his new patrons. “This one bloke called our house Guinness ‘bitter shite’. It took every fibre of my body not to deck the git right then. These kids want to get the hipster vibe of Newtown without having to taste anything more complex than the Golden Circle juice boxes their mums packed them last year.”
However, O’Sullivan admits that he’s powerless to fight back because securing the uni pub crawl market is so critical for a business’ survival. “The fact is that our old customers don’t want to go out when these teens are getting themselves wankered and booting everywhere. This weekend, we’ll have stopped supplying beer entirely. I mean, except for VB. We’ll still be stocking that for the blokes who know their masculinity isn’t tough enough to withstand drinking something sweet.”
Most students approached by The Garter approved of the shift in drinks menus.
“To be honest, I hated never being able to have passionfruit UDLs without my mates calling me a limp-dick,” says Tom Sullivan, an 18-year-old who begins at the University of Sydney this year.
Jordan Burren, another future USyd student, disagrees. “It used to be about clean and malty, complex and heavy, mouthfeel, aromas, aftertastes. My generation just has no appreciation for a good brew.” Burren tried to describe the intricate homebrewing enterprise he operates out of his parents’ garage but bystanders begged him to shut up.
Atticus De Rossio is one of the few microbrewers actually enjoying the opportunity to craft alcopops. He began with avocado-infused fortified cruisers and says he’s never looked back.
In fact, De Rossio just signed a contract to be the sole cruiser brewer for the “Aussie Adventures” first year business camp. “The business executive must have been a few deep on my Vegemite-flavoured batch when they came up with the theme.”
“The best bit is being able to experiment, you know, not be beholden to the giants of the industry – the Smirnoffs, the Bacardis, the Midoris. And when I see people just out of highschool getting maggot on my handcrafted cruisers, it’s a joy I can’t explain.”