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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Beer for the White Trash Working Class Soul in All of Us (or at Least Me)

The enclosed box pictured above has a handle. It also has five Mexican beers and a 5-ounce glass bottle of Mexican-made tequila inside: Five beers and five shots. And it can be yours—or a pre-wrapped Christmas-colored gift for a friend?—at just $10.99.

Oh yes.

But these, my friends, are just three of roughly 13 reasons why I heart the new Blanco Basura 5-and-5 pack.

We might as well run through the others now.

• Its creator, Scott D. Gold, lives just across the bay in Santa Cruz. The Cruz's own W.T. Imports handles the importing side of the equation.

• There is also a whiskey edition.

• "Blanco Basura" is remedial Spanish for "White Trash." Beneath the emblem: "Welcome to the working class."

• The box also includes a shot glass (which, like the pudgy lil' tequila bottle, is also made of glass, not plastic).

• Gold has a mission statement of sorts printed on the side of the box.

"Blanco Basura is bad Spanish for 'White Trash' and we don't care," Gold writes. "We do care about giving you a quality drink at a blue collar price. I used to pick up a six-pack of beer and a pint of tequila, it pissed me off that it cost 20 bucks, that's why I developed the Blanco Basura five-pack. Five beers with a crisp, clean flavor. Five shots of premium* gold tequila or aged Kentucky bourbon. One commemorative shot glass. That's what I drink, and I'm proud to share it with you."

*Note: I don't know if I'd call the tequila "premium," but it's a close enough approximation to Jose Cuervo, probably a tick cleaner and lighter. You could say the same thing about the beer and Tecate—comparable, with BB's coming off a little more drinkable.

• Gold told me that the most he's taken down is three in a night. As in three boxes. "But that’s all night," he says. "Going out, strip clubs, starting at 7[pm] and going to 6 in the morning. You’d drink three too."

• The emblem on the box and the beers—and at the bottom of the shot glass—is of a three-legged dog. Turns out it's the silhouette of his late pal Isabel, a brindled pit bull who lost her leg chasing a van through unincorporated Live Oak and getting caught under the wheel.

• On the inside flaps is a picture of Gold and an invitation to party with him as part of the Blanco Basura Army. A 20 spot nets a T-shirt, a hat, stickers and VIP status at I'm not exactly sure what.

• Another part of the flap has a comic strip called "Las Aventuras de El G├╝ero Culero," which I'm not prepared to translate here, that steers people to the BB website.

Star Market (422-3961) in Salinas carries it, and Couch distributes it. According to Star manager/beer purchaser Chris Reyes, the cases are moving "OK" off of shelves, and the Blanco Basura six packs are a decent value by themselves at $5.99.

• Gold calls someone who can finish five beers and five shots in five minutes a five-star general. ("We can't promote that, though," he says.) I call him John Belushi.

• Lots of time spent at his grandparents' place in Baja inspired the Mexican heritage of his sauce. He says he had to buy a small fraction of the third biggest beer factory in Mexico to license what he calls it "the original beer of Mexico." Primary owner and partner Federico Cabo also distills the tequila. (Gold is proud to report that his is the only brewery of the top three, including Heineken's Tecate plant—which happens to set up shop in the same Tecate town as his—and Budweiser's Modelo, that is Mexican-owned.)

• Blanco Basura scored a victory in the courts over Budweiser to patent the "5-pack" idea so central to their atypical marketing. "We had to fight it out," Gold says. "It was a scary time. It would've been the end of the American Dream if Bud won."

• Gold is heavy into racing, and sponsorships are a big part of the nascent company. He and his race partners and friends do everything from off-road to NASCAR to 24-hour women's races. Next year BB plans to be all over the U.S. sponsoring tracks and racers.

• Gold previously worked as a contractor—and as a Capitola cop.