Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Elephant Ginger Beer

EGB - "Elephant Ginger Beer"

As far as I understand it, ginger originated in India. Here is a historical account from the Bagha Disaata Bahir:

...and for seven days did Baahir walk

along the dusty road towards the sea,

until he did come upon a large and ferocious head

buried partially in the roadbed.

"Oh grotesque head, how did you come to be

buried in this road that passes by the sea?

The head was that of a man, with

a fearsome brow and tremendous teeth

upon it's brow it bore a shining trapezohedron

knitted upon a band of gold flecked iron.

It's hair was snakes and the nose

was that of the small bears found in the hills

near Muldorre beyond the mountains.

When the head opened it's mouth to answer

Baahir was as quick as a snake -

he cut out the tongue which was rough

and dry like an undesirable root vegetable.

"Ha ha fearsome head, I have cut out

your tongue" crowed Baahir.

"And I don't even want it, observe as

I bury it here in the roadbed beside you.

Now watch as I shame you further."

Baahir squatted over the head

lying in the roadbed

and began bobbing up and down.

From the locked camera view of the head

on the roadbed

it was quite degrading.

Thus was ginger brought onto the Earth.


Anyways, that tongue grew into the first ginger plant. It was promptly trampled by a passing ox cart because it had been planted in a roadbed but by that point everyone thought it was such a swell idea that Jesus made a new one and put it some place else and God made Moses get it and put it on the Arc because saltwater would ruin the plant and Jesus didn't want to have to go and evolve a new one again. It's a lot of work and Jesus just likes hanging around.

The moral of this story is that India loves ginger and wants to honor it as one of its most famous sons. Which is why I initially theorized that EGB - Elephant Ginger Beer - was created by Pakistan for Indian markets.

I found this bottle of EGB at one of those Indian groceries on the middle East side, in the 20s and 30s. The NYC indy comic thing was held at the armory there, and I'd loaded up on enough shit for my wife to kill me twice over. Barely able to move under the combined malefactions of a fortune in comic books and my awkward comic-girl-admiring erection, it truly shows my dedication to both of your readers that I stopped to snoop in an Indian market. After all, my wife couldn't kill me three times so more soda didn't really matter.

Truth be known, I'd already picked these places over pretty well. I was shocked to find three or four drinks previously unknown to the Western hemisphere - one of them being EGB. I bought 'em up and lugged all the crap home.

When I finally got around to trying the EGB I was shocked. SHOCKED I say. India, the first birthplace of ginger, had made an utterly unremarkable ginger drink. It had the most generic taste of any ginger beer or ale I've ever tasted. I'm thinking I would be unable to distinguish it from Tommy's in a blind taste test.

Now let's be clear: This crap was bottled in Tekkawatte, Biyagama on the island of Sri Lanka. This shit came from the OTHER SIDE OF THE FUCKING WORLD and pretty clearly uses "Generic Ginger flavoring no 3" as it's main ingredient. AND I PAID $5 for it! I think it's the most expensive drink I've ever bought over the counter, the most expensive period if you don't count shipping. And to think that other assholes thought this crap worth sending over here.

A quick aside: I have a theory on how most foreign grocery items wind up in the US. I believe that every country has its own version of the dollar stores that are ruining our cities. Poland, India, Canada, all of 'em. And when these dollar stores go out of business they have a fifty cent sale, and then when the doors actually close for good they are opened one more time and all the crap that no one would buy for fifty cents and no store employee would steal and no store owner would take home to store in his basement, all that remaining junk is put into a shipping container and sent to the United States to be sold in an ethnic market or whatever you'd call it. Because, seriously folks, why the fuck would anyone want a Polish made Brillo pad? Is grandma really so attached to that crap that she needs her Korean rubber bands enough that someone needs to import them? No. It's totally random crap. But anyways...

In the bottom middle of that there picture is a
bit of what us literary types call "foreshadowing",
just like on Lost.

India! You are magic! You are supposed to be bizarre and wonderful and a little uncomfortable to visit! How can you FUCK UP GINGER BEER!... Oh, wait, I see why, because it's bottled under the authority of Coca fucking Cola.

Coke, like religion, ruins everything.

I'm going to copy out the label for you completists out there:

Nutritional Facts
Ginger Beer Soda Soft Drink
Savings Per 100ml (3.5oz)
Energy 42 kcal
Fat 0g
Proteing 0g
Carbohydrates 11g

Containts: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Permited Flavours, Colours (110, 102, 122, 150d), Acidulant (330) & Preservative (2111)
Manufactured by:
Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd
Tekkawatte, Biyagama
Under the authority of
The Coca-Cola Company

There. My favorite bit is "Containts". It's a perfect amalgam of "Contents" and "Contains".

So here's what we need to do to wrap this up: Imagine me drinking some of the bottle, looking disgusted, a freeze frame and Animal House style text pops up saying

"Tim went on to get both diabetes AND pancreatic cancer from writing this soda blog".

Then we zoom into the bottle and the text reads

"The EGB bottle was left on a file cabinet corner, unfinished, for two weeks. At that point a cat knocked it off the cabinet and onto the floor, making a sticky mess all around Tim's desk. It looked liked he'd had one boss internet pornography session you bet. He walked in and got all pissed off and had to clean it up but did a bad job and still sometimes finds little bits of sticky here and there and put the bottle on the big table in the area that passes for a living room in his tiny apartment and the bottle sat there for like another three weeks before Tim realized that his wife hadn't yelled at his for leaving it there for so long which really WAS her way of yelling at him for leaving it there so he finally decided to write up the review. The bottle will eventually be emptied down the sink and recycled and Tim will wonder if the empty bottle itself should be sold on eBay but, man, that's a lot of work and probably no one would want it anyways."

This review is dedicated to the blog poster who posts actual comments on the blogs but still advertises Viagra in his little name tag thing. This is for you buddy.


  1. "Bagha Disaata Bahir" is an utterly unique phrase according to my Google search. Congrats!

  2. I pride myself on being a good liar.

  3. Toooooo looooong, moooooore picturessssss.

  4. so after all that said, are the bottles worth anything today?

  5. what? I guess they're worth $5, at least that's what the seller thinks.

  6. This reply goes to poor idiot Tim.

    First of all u shit guy should know that Sri Lanka is a small beautiful island and an independent country and not part of india (also very clean and beautiful compared to india). (btw i feel sorry about that 98 percent of western citizens have very poor general knowledge and common sense)

    EGB is not from coca cola company and it is from a local company. EGB is made from natural ginger extract and almost all Sri Lankans love to have it with meals rather than poisoned coca cola.

    Of course if u idiot having EGB unchilled give u a taste which is not that good when compared to chilled (feel really sorry about u fool guy not knowing how to consume EGB)

    According to the label info u idiot posted is from Lion ginger beer and not EGB. Lion ginger beer is from SL coca cola company and it is not natural (as always like coke shit)

  7. Whoah dude, don't spazz out! You're so upset you are writing "u" instead of "you". Slow down, take a breath.

    So if Sri Lanka isn't part of India, then why did I find this in an INDIAN market? Eh? Answer that.

    And second, the bottle I had WAS a Coca Cola product. It said so right on the bottle, "Under the authority of
    The Coca-Cola Company

    And the proof in the Coca-Cola-ness of this stuff is in the taste. It's thoroughly boring.

    1. "So if Sri Lanka isn't part of India, then why did I find this in an INDIAN market? Eh? Answer that" I guess this means China is part of the USA since everything here (US) is made in China lol. Listen dude, That ginger beer is awesome. Needs to be chilled though.

  8. Ok right! what i dont like to see that ppl think that SL is part of india. b'cos india is full of shit and big headed ass holes and i dont like other ppl think the same about Sri Lankans.

    If you take a western country, no. of indian people is very much higher than Sri Lankan ppl. so there are enough indians to start indian stoles. Sri Lankans also prefer rice, spices and other similar food items and indian stoles also have a market for Sri Lankans. Naturally indian sellers tend to keep Sri Lankan specific stuffs. (in NY i noticed several indian shops and found lot of SL stuffs there). and there is no hard and fast rule that indian shops should have indian stuffs only. Isn't it? lol

    EGB stands for Elephant Ginger Beer. "Lion Giger Beer" is the product that SL coke company produces. May be ppl there knows coke company rather than the local company here and i think they might changed the ribon (some what fake) due to that reason.

    Lot of tourists really love to have EGB for cocktails here. and may be EGB not matching the the food items you ppl have and the taste you prefer too.

    I really love to have EGB with pizzas (pizzas here are very spicy than in ur countries).

    SL is world famous for tea and hope at least you know that (lol). If not just try it and see (dont buy large amount and say what a shit SL tea is and wasted ur money, heh heh).

    suppose I have answered your questions

  9. refer below url for more about EGB

  10. No, I'm pretty sure that Indian shops only have Indian things in NYC. I think it's the law. Otherwise it would be false advertising.

  11. How innocent u are. lol

    1. This guy is naive. Give him a break lol

  12. I believe the burden of proof is on you. And please cite your sources.

  13. Nop!

    I meant that "Is laws defined are 100% practically executed?".

    May be US has strict and specific laws for businesses (like "indian shops should have indian stuffs only")

    here in SL limited specific laws as such (e.g. motor spare part shop may have indian, japanese, us spare pats and it is not against the law.

    So what my argument is selling place not matters. The product should have a brand and should have "made in XX country" and rest is buyers choice.

    In your case you bought a SL product from an indian shop. there if you not satisfied knowing (assume you've read the ribbon) that it is not an indian product, should questioned at buying time. So no point blame on the product and the sellers later on.

    quit from the thread.

    happy shopping

  14. I don't understand why South Louisiana has any bearing on this, do you live in New Orleans (NO) in South Louisiana (SL)? It's a big city, I hope you aren't being flooded.

    I don't think Louisiana laws have any bearing on shopkeepers in New York City, regardless.

    But I think you are missing the most important and obvious thing: Indian businessmen are the most honorably in the world, even if there was a South Louisiana law against dishonesty misrepresentation of the origins of product, no Indian businessman would ever do so.

    India as a country is one of the most forthright and noble countries in the world, if you simply look at the way they deal with their surrounding ring of small pseudo-Indian island countries you'd understand that. Without India, all those little mini-countries surrounding her borders would long ago have been swallowed up by godless Communists. I don't like reading your maligning Indian people.

  15. can't believe we have wannabe sarcastic and ignorant idiots like this in NYC. THAT, should be against the law

    1. Your wit, sir, is excellent. I am considering myself thoroughly burned. Observe as I apply a cooling balm.

  16. You fool white trash.

    This is one of the unnecessary conversation that I ve even seen.

    Sri Lanka is an independent country. Period.

    ECB stands for Elephant Ginger Beer, which Elephant brand belongs to CCS (Ceylon Cold Store) that is Sri Lankan company (70% owned by Sri Lankan conglomerates, John Keels.)

    Why dont you actually check some information or data in thier website and annual report.


  17. Came across this as looking for info on ginger beer in Sri Lanka...of course Sri Lanka is an independent country and not part of India...a simple google search will establish this fact.

  18. This is one of the most ridiculous blogs I have seen. Quit writing false things about Sri Lanka and get your facts checked, also,I cannot believe you have nothing better to do than taste soft drinks and write bad things about them. Honestly, think of the amount of people who don't get to drink these things and be grateful that you can.