AMONG Australia’s “big” icons, the Big Banana, the Big Barra, the Big Pineapple, the Big Mudcrab and the like - the only one that is actually a commercial reality is Folster’s 2L Darwin Stubby, the biggest commercial bottle of beer in the world, which turned 50 in April this year.
According to Douglas Barrie, author of The Darwin Stubby Story, it was originally a marketing ploy to compete with Swan Larger in the NT.
The Western Australian brewer had established a brewery in Darwin and was selling tallies into what Carlton & United considered its market.
So to the delight of NT residents Fosters began selling its beer in a 2.25L bottle, at less than it cost for three bottles of Swan Larger.
Mr Barrie is the owner and publican of the Seymour Hotel, Bemerside, at the base of the Cardwell Range, 15km north of Ingham, a hotel that began trading 105 years ago.
After spending 17 years at Batchelor in the Northern Territory, where he became acquainted with the Darwin Stubby, in 1987 he moved his family to Queensland, purchased the Hotel and discovered his collection of empty Darwin Stubby bottles had arrived with them.
“Eighteen years later I realised I had four of the five Darwin Stubby permanent printed designs in my collection, so I set out to find the production date of each of them as at the time of buying them, my priority had been drinking the contents, not their place in history,” he said.
“In 2005 when I called the Foster's Group, I discovered there was very little information available, so I began researching the history of the Carlton & United Darwin Stubby.”
*Full story in this week’s North Queensland Register, out now.