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What's the Deal with 'Stronzo' Beer?


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#1 Mjx

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 12:14 PM

Yesterday, I saw a billboard that gave me pause for thought (meaning, I stopped dead, and goggled at it in momentary disbelief). It advertised the Stronzo brewing company (possibly not safe for work, if you live in a conservative country), of Copenhagen (I'm in Denmark, at the moment). The thing is, 'stronzo' is one of the Italian words for 'shit' (but is often used like the English 'arsehole'). The guys behind it are apparently Danish, but I have no idea of whether or not they know what 'stronzo' means (or whether they care), nor what (if they do know) they are thinking.

Statements like 'People with attitude' and 'Stronko.dk is in the air' are all over the site (and the billboard, which I didn't think to take a shot of), and their offerings include a 'Brown Stronzo', which does not exactly evoke a 'yum' response from me (it conjures up the liquid manure that's sprayed over fields as fertilizer), but then again, I'm not much of a beer drinker. They also describe themselves as an 'innovative microbrewery' brewing 'creative beer of the highest quality'.

So, naturally, since I'm supposed to be concentrating closely on my work, I cannot stop wondering what deal is: expensive joke/social experiment? wild marketing manoeuvre? Is it any good? Heck, is this even legit?

Any thoughts? or, even better, knowledge?

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#2 tanstaafl2

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 01:54 PM

Gotten pretty competitive out there in the micro brew world I suppose. And I suspect to make a splash in that competitive world, as the three world weary strippers from Gypsy noted, You Gotta Get a Gimmick!

That youtube link may also be on the edge in an excessively conservative country. Or any place where you value your hearing...

Not sure what it is with some Scandinavian folk. You kinda expect over the top "out there-ness" here in the States but they seem to be on the leading edge of "out there-ness" in Europe.

Not that there is anything wrong with that as far as I am concerned!
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#3 Florida

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 08:26 AM

The name of this brewery is essentially "Shit Brewing Company" What else more do you need to know? Maybe they're competing with Brewdog (http://www.brewdog.com/) for douchebag brewery of the year.

#4 Mjx

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 02:24 PM

The name of this brewery is essentially "Shit Brewing Company" What else more do you need to know? Maybe they're competing with Brewdog (http://www.brewdog.com/) for douchebag brewery of the year.


I know all that, but is there an inside joke or reference I'm missing, relating to certain kinds of beer? I mean, idiocy aside, there has to be some rationale to calling giving your beer such a ridiculous name.

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#5 Maureen B. Fant

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:52 AM

We got off the train from Malmø yesterday and nearly rolled off the platform in mirth and amazement. "The beer with attitude" indeed. My Roman husband is dying to buy a bottle to bring back to the university. Actually he wants to drink it and take the empty bottle -- hand luggage, you know. But so far we haven't seen it on sale. Somebody once sent a spoof scientific paper to a journal under the byline Stronzo Bestiale, and it was actually published. So we can assume there are nuances of the Italian language that remain terra incognita to many people, though you would think their business interests would lead them to ask. There is a coffee place in Manhattan, a Swedish-owned espresso bar, called Fika. I think that trumps stronzo, except that I'm sure STronzo beer is on purpose. I did take a photo but there's a big flash reflection in the middle.

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#6 Mjx

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 01:22 PM

. . . . There is a coffee place in Manhattan, a Swedish-owned espresso bar, called Fika. I think that trumps stronzo, except that I'm sure STronzo beer is on purpose. I did take a photo but there's a big flash reflection in the middle.

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'Fika', hm? Well, I'm in Manhattan at this very moment, so you can imagine that I'm going to check and see whether this place is still around (both Scandinavians and Scandinavian languages tend to lend themselves to linguistic oddities, however: 'Svedka', as in the vodka brand, conveys something along the lines of 'sweaty' in Danish wherein 'sved' means 'sweat', I've no idea what's going on with that, either).

I can't help wondering whether that brewery grasps the full implications of 'stronzo', but now that I think of it, I haven't noticed it for sale. Given that I only buy beer when I'm using it in cooking or baking, this isn't surprising, but I really do need to see whether this stuff actually exists.

If you do get your hands on some, please let me know whether the flavour lives up to its name :wink:

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#7 Maureen B. Fant

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:35 PM

Fika is at 28th and Park Avenue South and was still there a few months ago. It's apparently Swedish for relax with a cup of coffee or something, but still. I'll report if we have any luck finding the beer here in Copenhagen.
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#8 teonzo

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 03:03 PM

I don't know the owners of this brewery, but I can try to explain the "reasoning" behind giving that name.
Some Italians, not all but a good amount of us, like cursing and have fun doing so. It's quite difficult to explain why it's funny, because it's something you are immersed since you are born. Here in Veneto we say a lot of "bestemmie" (insults to divinities) and feel they are funny, not because they are blasphemies and we are evil bastards that hate religion with full force, but because they became part of our culture in the past centuries and now they are just seen as a simple interpose, like a "crap" or "damn it" in English. For people that are not used to this, it seems really weird and of bad taste, because they associate this kind of cursing to bad offenses, while we just look at these light-hearted. Truth be told, I heard even some priests saying bestemmie, just to point out how much common they are here, and how low importance we give to the literal meaning of them. Once you are raised with this way of thinking, you tend to look at words with bad meanings with a funny eye. This leads some people to think that it's funny to induce foreign people to say these cursings without knowing what they mean, or to hide some cursings in professional papers and so on. You can look at it as a strange case of goliardery. Just for example there is an Italian restaurant in Japan which name is a bestemmia. It's a weird, maybe wicked, sense of humor. So I suppose the owners just thought "let's call it Stronzo so Danish people will start cursing in Italian without knowing they are doing so". As I said, many Italians don't see dirty words, swears and cursings as bad things, but just only as a way to joke.

Personal example: my nickname is "teonzo", which comes from "Teo" (my real first name) + "stronzo" ("stronzo", as you pointed out, has various meanings, in this case it's like "asshole", my friends call me so because I always tell what I think directly and without diplomacy). They don't call me "stronzo" to offend me, just to make fun of me. And I find it funny too, at the point that I chose to keep this nickname and I'm using it from more than 15 years.



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#9 Mjx

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 04:48 PM

I know, I grew up in Italy :wink:

But from what I can make out from the website, Stronzo brewery is owned by Danes... so I'm not sure if they really do get it. Of course, this wouldn't make a difference to the quality of the beer.

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#10 teonzo

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:31 PM

I know, I grew up in Italy :wink:


I didn't know this, so I apologize if I seemed pedant.



But from what I can make out from the website, Stronzo brewery is owned by Danes...


Uhm, this fact changes many things... I assumed the owners were from Italy.



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#11 Sentiamo

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 01:30 AM

I lived in Italy for 10 years and nearly fell over seeing a huge billboard roadside advertising ' Ristorante Crap'. Said 'crap' is a word for natural stones/rocks from the area ( provincia di Sondrio) and I have to admit the actual Restaurant sure din not look like crap!! It was beautiful and the stonewalls etc testament to the fine stone masons of the area. But......pity about the name.... :rolleyes:

#12 LizD518

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 06:27 AM

Their website has a section that seems to show where it can be purchased, as well as the address of their brewery. Maybe you can check out one of those spots?

#13 Maureen B. Fant

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 11:35 AM

Sorry, but I don't buy all that about the Italian love of parolacce. Words like stronzo are certainly more common than their Anglo-Saxon equivalents, but you do not find such words on billboards in major railroad stations. (I have lived in Rome for more than 30 years.) In any case, it's a Danish beer. We have been looking all over Copenhagen but can't find it on sale and we are both (and my husband is Italian with as spicy a vocabulary as anyone) embarrassed to ask for it. Meanwhile, a Google search has turned up the priceless information that there is a Stronzo Red Frikken Ale. The ratebeer.com site attributes it to the Amager Bryghus, a Copenhagen microbrewery, but their site doesn’t claim parentage of the Stronzo line. Curiouser and curiouser.

Edited by Maureen B. Fant, 09 December 2011 - 11:40 AM.

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#14 ambra

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:41 PM

Honestly, I agree with Maureen. I don't see all that parolacce love either. (And I live in Italy too.)

And besides, the graphic meaning of the word is certainly not something I would like to associate with Food or Drink.

#15 teonzo

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:02 AM

I've never said you can found a lot of written parolacce here and there.
Besides that, it depends on the zone where you live, and the social extraction of the people you frequent. Living in Milano is quite different from living in Veneto. Frequenting religion professors is quite different than frequenting port workers, and so on. If you never ecountered people with love for parolacce and bestemmie, then simply it means you never frequented the zones where those people live, and not that those people do not exist. Try to come here in Veneto and conduct a normal life for a couple of weeks (living in a village and not a city full of tourists, going to stores, bars and so on), then tell me if you spent a hour without hearing people saying bestemmie. Or even other zones (Livorno, Maremma, Salento, some parts of Sicily, and so on).
The "tradition" is on spoken language, not written, and, honestly speaking, denying it seems really strange to my eyes. I know pretty well it's not common in every part of Italy, but if you travelled enough in this country meeting common people, then this should be a consolidated fact. Nothing to be ashamed or proud, just a fact. But as I said, I simply can't believe that if you've ever been in Veneto then you could not have noticed that half the people here say a bestemmia or more every 100 words. Living here I know it for a fact.



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#16 Maureen B. Fant

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:46 AM

I hear parolacce all the time. I'm just saying I would be very surprised to find one on a beverage label. And if your remarks were aimed at me, mi faccia il favore.

Now, back to beer. We happened onto a darling little shop today in Copenhagen called Barley Wine. It had every sort of beer and a nice lady playing great blues on an actual turntable. After building up to it with various kinds of chitchat, I finally asked her about STronzo beer. She said, yes it is serious, but she doesn’t carry it because she doesn’t like their whole attitude and ads. It is very new and made locally by two brothers. We never did find it on sale. I forgot to ask if it had anything to do with Amager, but it sounds like it doesn’t. We combed the airport as a last resort, but no luck.
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#17 ambra

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 01:01 PM

Sorry to have stricken a nerve, Teonzo, but I didn't mean that I never hear them either.

#18 Mjx

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 07:37 PM

Well, if luck is with me, I'll be back in DK soon, and hunting about for this beer, simply because it is such a trivial matter, too trivial to be permitted to continue to pique my curiosity. Since I'm no judge of beer, if I find it, I'll be trying it on my boyfriend's father, without addressing the language back of the name.

@Maureen B. Fant: Fika is still there. And, they're producing chocolate bars under the same name, saw them in the Union square Christmas market just yesterday.

@Teonzo: No worries about seeming pedantic, it would be hard to top me on that score, unfortunately.

ETA My boyfriend's father tried this beer, and loathed it. Described it as tasting like weak, beer-flavoured water mixed with orange juice from a carton; a sourish aftertaste like you find in your mouth when you wake up from sleeping with your mouth open. He'll finish most beers, but this went down the sink.

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#19 tanstaafl2

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 06:27 AM

Not surprisingly this kind of company naming and advertising is not limited to Denmark or to beer. A recent radio ad for a new "energy" product called a "sheet" seems to be playing off the tendency to make sheet for some accents sound the way people here say something else.

Click on the commercial link for an example.
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...
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#20 Kevin Bouck

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

> Is it any good?

Actually, yes! Very Good. I happen to be drinking the blond ale from stronzo right now. Fresh and hoppy with a bit of a citrus kick (due to citra hops). Purchased at a local supermarket in Helsinki, Finland. If you can get past the name, I definitely recommend it.

And as far nasty-sounding beer names go, this one is pretty mild. On the more extreme end , you have names like the following from Evil Twin (also from Denmark):
- Soft Dookie: http://www.ratebeer....-dookie/127182/
- Liquid Dookie: http://www.ratebeer....-dookie/127183/
- Cat's Piss: http://www.ratebeer....ts-piss/123377/

Enjoy!

-k