The Goon Bag: A Brief History into an Australia Wine Staple

The Goon Bag: A Brief History into an Australia Wine Staple

Ah, the goon bag. From those Summer night parties that consisted of a Hills Hoist and some plastic garden chairs (you know the ones) as a young adult to a more sensible gathering in the park with friends as an adult. How did the ‘goon bag’ (AKA boxed/bagged wine for those who haven’t played ‘Goon of Fortune’ at their mates share house) become one of Australia’s most iconic party staples? This my friends, is a brief history into the rise and fall…and rise…of the goon bag.

The humble good bag was invented in South Australia and patented by winemaker Thomas Angove in the 1960s, referring to them as flagons. And in true Australian style, flagon was shortened to goon. Shortly after its creation, wine sales basically doubled in Australia and reached its peak in the 1980s/90s. Many other beverages also started to come packaged in bladder and box such as water and juices.

Although bagged/boxed wine is inherently known for being mass-produced and low quality, times are changing! Due to a massive shift and changing perspectives around the sustainability and practicality benefits of boxed wine, goon bags are quickly becoming a no-brainer for venues and bottle shops around the country to stock up. It is also worth noting that boxed wine is not made for ageing, which is why you usually get fruitier, easy drinking styles. It’s made for consuming in the present!

Did you know boxed wine most likely got its bad reputation from the low costs of its own packaging per unit compared to glass bottles? So, really, it was a “victim of its own success” (Shane Barrett, 2023). So, naturally, cheap wine made its way into goon bag. In Australia, only around 70% of glass actually gets recycled correctly, the rest doesn’t get recycled at all. There are also huge carbon emissions produced when you make glass bottles, compared to boxed wine that consist of a recyclable cardboard box and a wine bladder. Wineries are also starting to accept the bladders for refilling purposes, and there are even companies that dispose of them.

Other eco-friendly and practicality benefits include:

  1. Less wasted space on pallets for distribution = more goon bags to distribute
  2. No accidental breakage when carting them around, so chuck em in your bag and go!
  3. Great for venues and individuals who don’t want to drink the whole thing as they don’t allow air inside = no oxidisation.

The list goes on!

So, where will you be taking your goon bag? A picnic in the park, cinema under the stars, the beach…this list goes on! Keep em’ spinning!


E. Clarke

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