Mike Usinger: An Avalon Dairy Egg Nog addict rages sadly out of control

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      When you’ve got a serious addiction, it helps to know that there are plenty of others in the same boat. A boat afloat in a sea of Avalon Dairy Egg Nog.

      I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve got a problem. We’re 16 days into December, with another 15 to go, and I’ve already ripped through 16 bottles of Avalon Dairy Egg Nog.

      We’re talking two eggnog lattes in the morning, two Big Gulp–sized Mount Gay Rum and eggnogs at night, and a serious 20-minute toothbrushing right before bed. With Avalon Dairy Egg Nog.

      Christmas decorations around the house consist largely of strings of lights carefully arranged in empty one-litre glass bottles that once contained Avalon Dairy Egg Nog.

      If I had kids, I’d not only bathe them and wash their clothes in Avalon Dairy Egg Nog, but do my best to make sure they ended up with a dream job when they got older. Like working at Avalon Dairy headquarters in Burnaby, making eggnog.

      My biggest fear this time of year isn’t that Santa didn’t get my list or that my Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-brand defibrillator won't work when I have my inevitable heart attack; it’s that the local co-op will run out of Avalon Dairy Egg Nog.

      As obsessions go, I’m hardly alone.

      “I have people contacting me in September wanting to know when it’s out,” says Avalon Dairy office manager Ken Ross, interviewed by phone. “Then of course as soon as Thanksgiving comes around and the other eggnogs go on the market, everyone just gets frantic. They’re like ‘When is Avalon’s coming out?—we can’t wait, we can’t wait.’ I got an email from a guy who went ‘There must be something wrong with your eggnog, because the five litres I just bought are all gone.’”

      Sometimes those emails take on a more desperate tone.

      “I had one a couple of weeks ago from somebody who’d moved to Ottawa from Vancouver, and they wanted to know how they could possibly get Avalon Egg Nog in Ottawa,” Ross says with a laugh. “My answer was ‘Well, it’s going to be awfully expensive by the time you get it flown out there.'”

      Avalon isn’t the only dairy making eggnog during the holiday season. It is, however, the only dairy making an eggnog that doesn’t taste better suited to affixing punk rock posters to street-lamp poles in downtown Vancouver.

      While Ross will suggest that it goes great with Captain Morgan spiced rum, getting him to rattle off the ingredients that go into Avalon Dairy Egg Nog isn’t easy.

      “It’s made from homogenized 3.25 percent milk rather than a two percent milk,” he carefully allows. “That adds the extra richness, the extra creaminess to it. And the extra calories and so on.”


      “There are flavourings and so on that come from different companies,” he says somewhat evasively, as if he knows divulging secrets will have eggnog addicts hitting the kitchen Walter White-style trying to recreate the magic. “Most of them are in the United States.”


      “Um, it’s a far superior product to anyone else’s,” he says. “In my humble opinion and many others.”

      That's created the kind of demand where, even though Avalon Dairy Egg Nog typically hits the market in mid-to-late November, preparation for the season starts early.

      “The production manager starts looking at it in June,” Ross notes. “You’ve got to get your ingredients in, and know what your projections are for the coming season. You look at your last year’s production figures and sales, and then add a percentage on top of that.”

      That production has climbed every year as new people join the Avalon Dairy Egg Nog cult.

      “We’ll do a ballpark figure of about 30,000 [litres] this year,” Ross reveals. “And that’s up about 20 percent over last year.”

      I’ll be drinking at least 30 of those 30,000 litres because, as every addict will confirm, Avalon Dairy Egg Nog is basically liquid Christmas gold.

      That endorsement isn’t just because last year I found myself in a multi-person horse-race to be Avalon Dairy’s 2014 Egg Nog Ambassador. It was a unpaid position, and sadly I lost, possibly to Vancouver Is Awesome’s Bob Kronbauer, whose existence I’ve refused to acknowledge ever since.

      To drown my sorrows, I chugged three bottles of Avalon Dairy Egg Nog.


      And if that’s sounds like I’ve got a problem, it’s because I do.