The Beer Reviews: Stubby Holders Die

Mark Chipperfield

Is there anything more hideous than a stubby holder? Like most things invented in the 80s – shoulder pads, leggings, Duran Duran – they have no place in today’s eco-conscious world. My dream is to stage a mass incineration of stubby holders on Sydney Harbour – a suitably Wagnerian end to this awful Bogan accessory.

There are many Aussie icons of which we should be proud: the Hills Hoist, the bionic ear, the Black Box flight recorder, Speedos. The stubby holder is not one of them. Like the wine cask, the neoprene cooler (invented in the US, by the way) should be consigned to the dustbin of history as an embarrassing cultural artefact.

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Once the preserve of mine workers, fishermen and dirt-bike enthusiasts, the horrible rubber thing is now invading every aspect of our lives. There are corporate stubby holders, bad taste stubby holders (aren’t they all?) and the ones you bring back from Bali. One company even designs a range of “wedding stubby holders” emblazoned with the faces of the happy couple. Last year, a Townsville High School gave each of its Year 12 graduates a commemorative stubby holder – the perfect thing for Schoolies Week.

Apart from being an insult to good beer and totally superfluous, I just don’t understand why anyone would want to own anything as kitsch. So I consulted wine-writer, publicist and bon vivant Stuart Gregor. “There is nothing more sacred to the Australian way of life than a stubby holder,” Stuart tells me. “I have dozens; stubby holders from Bali, from Fiji, from the Gold Coast, Sunny Coast, Tanunda and a pub at Lennox Head. And I love them all equally -- because they are all bloody good at their job: keeping beer cold in summer.”

I take your point, Stuart, but I have a fridge and I like to drink my beer from a glass rather than a black plastic mitten. But it seems even questioning the existence of the stubby holder is close to blasphemy. “I have never, in my 41 years of life in this great country, ever heard anyone bag a stubby holder,” he writes. “Chipperfield you are wrong. And there’s not going to be a single reader across this wide brown land who doesn’t agree with me. Just you wait. If you attack our sacred cows, milk will be spilt and you’ll be the one crying.” Well the Catholic Church told Galileo much the same thing – and now who’s talking? The giant bonfire goes ahead as planned.

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Should we burn or canonise the stubby holder? Have your say below