If you're planning on visiting Australia you've probably already read or heard about the crazy Australian slang, the strange Aussie foods and of course, the hysterical Aussie stereotypes - but if there's one thing you've REALLY got to experience in Australia - it's the Goon Bag!
AAhhh, yes we have all experienced in Australia the wonderful tastings of Boxed Wine. Coming in many different grape varieties and blends not to mention prices, but they all have one thing in common, the well known silver pillow or goon bag. So as you try ever so hard to squeeze the last drops of classy wine from your bag do you ever think to yourself where the hell did these come from?
Well they were invented back in 1965 in South Australia by a Thomas Angove who passed away recently at the ripe old age of 92 (R.I.P you legend), they were originally made out of Polyethelene and held 4.5 litres.
With the first design you had to cut the corner off your bag to pour the contents of wine out and then seal it back with a special peg.
It wasn't until 1967 that the guy from Penfolds Wine decided this was a crappy idea and came up with a plastic, airtight tap welded onto a metallised bladder, this has now been modernised with the goon bags now having some sort of plastic tap for easy pouring.
So why a goon bag instead of a bottle?
- It's easier to carry around and you don't risk dropping and smashing it when you start to lose your balance towards the end of the cask, plus you can take it swimming and won't lose it as it floats.
- It fits way more in it than a bottle, could you imagine carrying around a 4 litre bottle of wine?
- After a night of consuming the wine you can always blow it up and crash anywhere you want as you have a nice silver pillow for the night.
But one of the main and smart reasons for the Goon Bag is the fact that the wine won't become oxidized like a bottle of wine will when you open it. The bag will actually keep the wine fresh inside for a longer amount of time, this does not mean that you can store it and it will become better with age, they do have a best before date and are best drunk straight away.
Another reason a Goon bag is better than a bottle is that they are cheaper to produce, so they can be sold at a cheaper price starting from $9.95 on sale ranging up to $25.00 for the posh stuff. Bear in mind peoples you will not find a full bodied 1989 Penfolds Grange in a bag as it really is only for cheaper grapes. Also according to the ingredients you will find that you can get a dose of protein as it says it 'may contain traces of Fish, Eggs and Milk.' WTF??!! At least it has something healthy in it hey!
All across Australia, the goon sack is well known to budget travelers or college students who can't afford to drink anything else. Across the Nomads network you will quite often see backpackers carrying a cardboard box around with their luggage. This is usually a key sign that an individual is strapped for cash.
However, with all the stigma that comes with the goon sack, I have listed 5 things that you can do with it. Starting with the obvious use!
1. Use it as a pillow. If you're a seasoned goon drinker then you probably would've used this trick once or twice. Once you have finished drinking your goon then pull out the silver lining and blow it up! Makes for a perfect pillow that you can take with you everywhere!
2. Drink it. Another obvious one. Enjoy your goon in a plastic cup, a wine glass, or just straight from the Silver Bag. Pick your occasion, and drink accordingly. The beauty of goon is that it comes in red and white, sweet and dry so you'll always be able to buy it for any occasion. It makes a great (and cheap) punch mixture as well!! A little hint for those who are new to drinking goon - it always tastes better if you can afford some fruit juice to mix with it, don't drink it too quickly because you will feel it come back up quite quickly, and if you blow into the sack when you think you've got your last glass, it will magically produce more.
3. Do goon laybacks. This is a move most commonly used by college students. To participate in a goon layback you will need 2 people or more (the more people the better the layback). The first person holds the goon sack, while the others lay on the ground with feet up against a wall (best done in a corridor/hallway/somewhere with a long area). If you only have one person laying down then you can just switch spots, but if you have more than one person laying down you will have a designated pourer. So, while you are laying on the ground with your feet against the wall, the pourer will trickle the goon into your mouth while you're laying down until you give the signal to stop. The pourer will then move on to the next person who is laying next to you, and you will run to the end of the layback line to have another turn once everyone is done. This continues until you've run out of space.
4. Goon-a-Fortune. This is a very Australian game and the rules can be simple or complex depending on the level of expertise of the players. 1 or more goon sacks will be pegged to a hills hoist clothes line, and players sit underneath it while the clothes line spins. When the clothes line comes to rest the player under where the goon bag has stopped must drink the goon. Players are prohibited to interfere with the natural spinning of the hills hoist. Penalties may occur if cheating of any kind takes place. Finally, a mixture of red and white wines can be used, however only one type i'd recommended for amateurs.
5. Make new friends. Ok, so I couldn't think of a legitimate 5th one without encouraging a type of drinking that your parents would be ashamed of and would probably get you deported back to your home country. However, after my many years of drinking from the goon sack, I have met a number of people who I will forever cherish. There's nothing more Australian than making friends over an alcoholic beverage, and what better way to do it than over a goon sack! Make some memories with your new friends and enjoy your time travelling, because the cheap prices of the goon sack sure as hell aren't going to last!!
Finally, ALWAYS drink responsibly and NEVER drink and drive. Enjoy!
DON'T FORGET HAPPY DRINKERS IF YOU'RE IN CAIRNS YOU CAN'T BUY GOON BEFORE 4PM, WHY? ASK A LOCAL!