Ukrainians know how to wine down

23 August, 2007

While UK health officials busy themselves devising ever more complex ways to get us to lay off the booze, the Ukrainians think alcohol is just the tonic for good health.

A spa there is prescribing wine for a range of ailments. But we're not talking Merlot massages or Sangiovese scrubs - it's about actually drinking the stuff.

The Crimean Stars Sanatorium in Alushta notes down the specific complaints of each "patient" before prescribing one of seven herb-laden wine blends, to be taken three times a day.

OLN can think of a few bureaucrats who could learn a lot from a week or two there ...

Globetrotting lager

Sleuths from Budweiser Budvar found a well-travelled bottle of the Czech lager in a bar in Barnsley.

Spokesman Denis Cox picks up the tale: "The front label was in English and the back label in German. As most grey stock here is from the French market we were naturally curious, especially as Budvar UK's sister company in Germany is, like us, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the brewery.

"We supplied the code number on the front label to the brewery and from it they were able to identify it as a sample supplied to Supreme Foodservice, Kabul, Afghanistan.

"This outfit is a caterer with European headquarters in ­Switzerland, specialising in supplying the military in warzones. Currently Budvar is sending them 12,000 cases a year - but how many of those get to Barnsley we don't know. What a carbon footprint though."

Explosive brew

Any beer lover will tell you that the perfect combination of malt, hops, yeast and water can make your tastebuds explode. But that's not all.

Keswick beer retailer Alan Dunn had a bombshell of an awakening the other day - when an exploding beer bottle set his alarm off at 5am.

The crown cap and two inches of bottleneck shot up to the ceiling, jettisoning Alan from his sleep when the shop's alarms went off. "It was a bottle-conditioned beer, but I wouldn't say who it was from," he told OLN, once he'd recovered his speech.

From a Wispa to a roar

It's not just a careless whisper - Cadbury's Wispa is back, and it's all thanks to a growing movement of 25 to 30-year-olds who want to see the sweets they loved as children back on shelves. Groups on networking websites Bebo, Myspace and Facebook demanded the return of the bubbly chocolate bar, described by one fan as "a technological and chocological marvel". Frustrated fans even invaded the stage at Glastonbury during a performance by Iggy Pop, bearing a Bring Back Wispa banner. It's great to see people power succeed in getting the brands we used to love back. So who wants to start the campaign for Hirondelle, MD20/20, Mirage, Stylophone, Texan - and am I really the only person who remembers Maverick?

Blue sky out of the box

One of the odder PR missives to hit the OLN newsdesk this week came from a certain top lager brand, which claims it is "well suited to the 'with food' occasion".

Sitting here in the "at computer" location, we're wondering if we need to take an "on the phone" moment to find out more about this particular occasion. Is it the sort which could be followed by the "in front of the TV" hour and then maybe an "in bed" event? And should we drink a different beer for those "without food" occasions?

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