I have only read two books by Douglas Coupland, Generation X (1991) and Souvenir of Canada (2002), the cover of the latter shown, and only read them in the last couple of years. I am more impressed by his observation than his storytelling which makes Souvenir of Canada perfect as it is a personal encyclopedia of things noticed about our mutual homeland. Under the entry "Stubbies" he writes
In order to get stubbies to photograph, I put an ad in the local community paper and was besieged by calls from fiftysomething men with a nostalgic lilt in their voices. They all wish that stubbies would return, but young people would probably look at a stubbie and say, "What's that thing supposed to hold - molasses?" So I think the stubbie's fate is sealed.Today, in the bewilderingly diverse selection at the amazingly well named The Beer Store, I picked up a 12 of Waterloo Dark. It came in stubbies - despite the web image. While it was not the useful 6x2 packaging of yore, cracking open the corrugated cardboard box to see 12 cheery stout little pints was an undeniably happy moment. Holding one immediately reminded me of the feeling of holding a beer in a mitten, something you would likely have only done if you were underage in winter in Canada.
Coupland also tells the story of how he went some way to reinstating the brand Extra Old Stock during a grade 12 work experience day spent at an ad agency. The role of beer in being Canadian is particular. In his 1977 edition of The World Guide to Beer, Micahel Jackson (the other one) spends four pages describing product lines which largely no longer exists. Unlike the UK, brands do not necessarily survive (think James Ready or the elaborately but pointlessly marketed Labatt Copper). Unlike the US, what ever the label, our beers are stronger, bigger and a bit sweeter - something of more sustenance than a cause for unzipping and unwrapping the layers under the ski-doo suit while doing the gotta pee dance at 15 below. Whatever the label, it is that generic taste that maybe we collectively recall. And the feel of the stubby in your mitt.