South Australia is home to some of Australia’s (nay, the world’s) best-known inventions – the Hills Hoist clothes-line, the stump-jump plough and, yes, we’ll even lay claim to founding pharmacological penicillin (Howard Florey was a South Australian).
It is a little known fact, but perhaps SA’s finest invention of all is the humble ‘goon bag’ – a wine-dispensing, inflatable foil bladder with an air-tight plastic valve, encased in a cardboard box, and often emblazoned with the brand name ‘Coolabah’.
A cheap alternative to traditional cork-sealed wine bottles, the goon bag, or ‘cask wine’ as it is sometimes called, was pioneered by Thomas Angove of Angove Family Winemakers at Renmark in the 1960s. The term ‘goon’ is a derivative of ‘flagon’, a similarly large wine vessel.
The goon bag carries a number of key advantages for the ‘goon’ imbiber:
a) A goon bag holds a hell of a lot more grog than a standard wine bottle – up to 4 times as much – which means fewer trips to the ‘bottlo’.
b) The goon bag’s opaque appearance ensures that onlookers cannot, at first glance, determine how much of the content has been imbibed, thus removing any potential for misconceptions about the carrier’s level of drunkenness.
c) When smashed over the head of another person in a dispute, a goon bag does little damage when compared to the damage caused by a glass wine bottle.
d) The goon bag is much more environmentally-friendly than glass bottles, and that’s fantastic because the typical inebriated goon bag swiller cares very much about the environment.
e) Once finished, a goon bag can be inflated and used as a pillow, in order to sleep off the effects of drinking four litres of shitty wine.
Not only is the goon bag perfect for dispensing cheap wine in large volumes, but it also has myriad other uses once its liquid content has been exhausted. Indeed, my first footy as a kid was a blown-up goon bag. A few quick puffs on the bladder made for hours of fun, just as long as you took care not to kick the hard plastic valve with your bare foot. It’s silvery exterior made it perfect for night footy, too.
Apparently, to this very day, one in every three glasses of wine drunk in Australia comes out of a cask…mmm, fruity lexia.
It’s truly one of SA’s most important contributions to mankind.
Image source: News Corp Australia