Is it time to say goodbye to the goon bag? 123



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The goon bag turns 50 this year and according to some reports that’s enough; it’s time to lay the cask to rest. Will you be sad to see it go?

Developed in 1965, the wine cask has become part of our Australian identity. Though, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) reported that cask wine is consumed the most among the younger and older age cohorts, as well as, in less affluent neighbourhoods, which has prompted questions and concerns about why this is occurring and what can be done. A staggering one-third of cask drinkers consume it daily compared to only eight percent of bottled wine drinkers. These numbers are considered quite alarming, which is why there has been a suggestion to phase out the goon bag in order to protect the younger drinkers.

The appeal of the goon bag is that you can store it without having to worry about the bottle breaking or being open too long and it is cheap, cheap, cheap. It’s the most affordable way for these young drinkers to get drunk and the price does play a prominent role in their purchasing decision. Prices are usually around A$2 a litre and major retailers often offer even greater discounts.

In fact, our alcohol tax system seems to encourage cheap wine sales. For instance, according to the Wine Equalisation Tax, wine is taxed on its wholesale value rather than alcohol content. This means the cheaper the wine, the less it is taxed. There is a bias towards cheap and cask wine. So as long as the product is available and remains cheap the market will continue to be dominated by the big producers and consumers will keep on drinking it.

However, it seems like a no brainer for our government to reform the tax system. If they were to implement a volumetric tax system they could raise upwards of $3 billion over four year, and this doesn’t include the savings from reduced alcohol-related problems. With so much evidence to suggest the damages caused by alcohol, such as drink-driving, violence, cancer or children’s development, the taxation system seems dangerous to our safety and well-being. Instead, the tax system appears to be promoting the sale of goon bags, rather than trying to stop it. More to the point, there has been varying studies that demonstrate alcohol prices and taxes do impact drinking habits. So could raising the price of alcohol reduce drinking? Do you think the bag in the box will stick around?


Feature Image Source: Johnsyweb/Flickr


Tell us, what do you think can be done about it? Do you drink cask wine?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. ‘Goon’ bag? It’s cask wine! Some things just need to be left alone, this being one of them. People need to learn self-discipline and take responsibility for their actions and outcomes without government intervention.

    3 REPLY
    • Totally agree Irene! Young people eventually become adults and get over the “party” phase of their lives!
      Adults need to take responsibility for their own behaviour!
      There are people who buy cask wine because it is wasteful to buy bottles and then throw out what the don’t drink within a few days.
      Personally, I prefer bottled wine (less preservatives) – but on occasion, the budget doesn’t stretch that far!
      So tired of being “dumbed down” by a nanny state!

  2. Never heard it called “Goon Bag”. We called it “Around the world for 99 cents” !!

    3 REPLY
    • here you go –

      tonight I browsed the local bottle shops and saw many young 20s males and females buying six-packs of fancy beers for $24 – I was wha? (I home brew for 20c a stubbie so I totally balk at paying $4 for the same thing) – so I guess that’s why box wine is out of fashion – today’s youth have gone upmarket – to craft brews.

  3. So who researched and wrote this article? I have never heard the Wine Cask referred to as a Goon Bag in the entire 50 years it has been on earth, and I have two sons who have grown up with them around! It is an Australian invention, and a really wonderful one – it is my experience that Wine is NOT the drink of choice for young people to get drunk, for some reason it appeals to the more mature palate, they find other alternatives, usually mixed with soft drink to mask the taste.

  4. Havent drank that stuff for years but my husband does, he buy the red, bit like vinegar but what the hell, no taste buds left, lol

    1 REPLY
    • Disagree eith you there. Many many expensive wines etc taste like shit. With wines dearer is not necessarily better.

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