That time when the stubby reigned supreme

Ice cold beer: three words that can bring instant solace to a dry throat on a scorching hot summer’s day. But what about ice cold beer in a stubby bottle? The stubby was Canada’s preferred suds delivery system, up until the buzz killers at Carling O’Keefe launched that Yankee swill Miller in a long neck bottle, thereby triggering the demise of our once-trusted stout brown bottles. By 1986, they were all but a distant memory.

By 2002, stubby nostalgia brought a reprieve from craft brewers like Brick, and of course Red Stripe, who never abandoned their faith in the design. Here are a few of our favourite beer commercials starring the stubby bottle from the 1980s.

Labatt 50’s “Cutting Out” campaign was pure macho ’80s stuff, with its emphasis on workin’ boys getting together and the freeze frame on shades outros. Watch out for slap-head legend Don Lake in the first spot, a ubiquitous TV commercial actor in the ’80s who went on to star in Terminator 2, Super Mario Bros. and Best in Show.

Labatt Blue’s “Smiles Along With You” was a more inclusive campaign aimed at everyone, and of course anyone who saw these ads will doubtless recall the omniscient blue balloons, which one presumes are piloted by the Labatt Gods, smiling along with all of us as we down our Blue.

Finally we have Molson Light’s touching “You Gotta Have Heart” series, which ran through the 1970s and early ’80s, only disappearing when mid-decade Molson pitched their Export brand to blue collar workers (“Ex Says It All” ) and their Canadian brand to yuppie assholes (“This Magic Moment”).

So, the next time you’re enjoying a cool malt pop on a molten hot day, raise a toast to the fallen wee stubbies, a true icon of Canadiana brew lore.


Writing by Ed Conroy

Retrontario plumbs the seedy depths of Toronto flea markets, flooded basements, thrift shops and garage sales, mining old VHS and Betamax tapes that less than often contain incredible moments of history that were accidentally recorded but somehow survived the ravages of time. You can find more amazing discoveries at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts