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February 25, 2021

West End Man salutes 162 boozy years of SA-brewed beer

Dust off your Red Tin bucket hat and stubby-holder for this hour-long Adelaide Fringe comedy show, hosted by fervid fans of Adelaide-made West End Draught.

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  • Words and pictures: Angela Skujins

Every South Australian who’s ever cracked a Red Tin can pinpoint that exact memory.


West End Friends
Wed, 25 February 7:30pm
Fri, 26 February 7:30pm
Sat, 27 February 7:30pm

Mercure Grosvenor, Hotel Adelaide
125 North Terrace, Adelaide 5000

Click here for tix or more info.

This journalist was 20 years old in West End’s heartland, Torrensville, and only a stones-throw from the iconic brewery. This was admittedly late in life to be introduced to one of Adelaide’s most iconic drops.

Zack Southern, by comparison, was incredibly early. He was eight.

“When I was younger I had a heart condition,” the now-adult comedian and bartender tells CityMag, while nursing a pint of West End Draught at the Strathmore Hotel on North Terrace.

“I couldn’t do any physical activity and loved sport, and remember seeing all the West End advertising during cricket games. I would always think to myself, ‘If I drank that, I might become a cricketer.’

“So, I actually stole my pappou’s longneck, and drank a little bit. It was delicious.”

Zack is a comedian who infuses his weekly sets at the Rhino Room and Crown & Anchor with cultural observations accumulated from growing up Greek and the “only non-Anglo person” in the northern suburbs.

His latest persona, West End Man, is inspired by news that Lion will mot its West End production interstate and away from the historic Port Road brewery, which will close.

The last West End beer brewed in SA under the conglomerate Lion brand will be in the middle of the year.

When Zack found West End would no longer be made in the West End of Adelaide, he cried.

“It was horrible,” he says, “and I was at work. When I told one of the lads that I know – he and his parents own a pub in Kadina – he just said that beer meant so much to the area.”

For Zack, the beer meant he could dream. That’s why he had that first sip.

West End Friends is a 60-minute Fringe show dedicated to the golden brew, and includes sets from Zack’s comedy friends before concluding with a half hour of stand-up from West End Man.

The fictional West End Man is the physical embodiment of Zack’s personal love for the beer, and draws on information he’s collected from his other career – pulling pints as a bartender.

“I worked at Adelaide Oval in the functions and worked in the West End tent at the Big Bash because they were a major sponsor,” he says.

“I got to know the winners of the competition, the drinkers, and there are so many stories. I think there’s more to the brand than the alcohol. They do the West End Community Fund and sponsor the SANFL and cricket.

“The thing is they say you’re losing the brewery, but what else are you losing as well? You’re also losing the community.”

Bright red branded trucker caps, cups, mousepads, collared shirts, bar mats and stubbie holders adorn Zack Southern’s Instagram page.

Some of these items are from the comedian’s personal collection, others were borrowed from friends.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Zack Southern Comedy (@zack.southern)

Zack says the character of West End Man exists in 2022 – where West End doesn’t exist anymore, and a sickness plagues SA. The only thing that can save us is an ingredient solely found in the once SA-made Red Tin.

The comedian wants people to laugh but also think about what the brand means to them, as it means a lot for him.

“I did a charity once… for Tickled Pink; they raise money for prostate and breast cancer,” he says.

“That was a time I got to perform in front 200, 300 people that don’t usually watch comedy. That was a really cool opportunity. What if more than the beer goes down the drain with this?”

West End Friends is showing until this Saturday during the Adelaide Fringe. Browse the full program here.

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