Microbrewery expansions increases citrus alcohol sales

Global demand for citrus alcohol market is set to hover at nearly 5 per cent growth rate, as growing preference for craft beer, and rising alcohol consumption create fertile ground. A recent study by ESOMAR certified market research and consulting firm, Market Research Insights, analysed citrus alcohol growth in over 20 countries, building a holistic and comprehensive analysis of the market.
Increasing inclination among consumers towards craft spirits, owing to their unique and subjective taste is another key factor driving sales. Study opines that proliferating number of breweries across the world will drive demand in the long run.
The COVID-19 impact on the market will create short-term challenges through 2021-end, with steady recovery expected from 2022.
Features include:

  • Spirit will remain the largest selling category, capturing over 50 per cent market share.
  • Glass bottles will hold nearly half of market value, owing to safety and minimal risk of leakage.
  • Based on sales channel, specialty stores accounted for over one-fourth of market value in 2020 and will remain the most lucrative channel.
  • Asia Pacific will remain the largest regional market for citrus alcohol, backed by the presence of a large young population base with high spending on alcoholic beverages.
  • Europe and North America will collectively account for nearly 50 per cent market share, being the largest producers and consumers of alcohol.

COVID-19 Impact
The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted operations in the food and beverage sector, thus creating a downfall in the volume produced in the first and second quarters of 2020. Moreover, supply-side difficulties such as hindered distribution network and closure of sales channels.
Furthermore, altered consumer priorities during the lockdown and high demand for essential products, while distribution and sales of non-essentials, including alcoholic beverages, have been deprioritized. On the back of these facets, the growth trajectory of the citrus alcohol market will experience fluctuations during the pandemic.

FREE Brewing releases Coast Series 20-21 organic beer

Australian organic beer company, FREE Brewing Co. has released its COAST SERIES 20-21 – four special-edition cans of their refreshing organic lager featuring iconic Australian places and their rugged coastlines.
This release is a first for the organic beer brand and is a collaboration with FREE Brewing Co. ambassador and surfer Brett Burcher.
FREE Brewing Co. and Burcher have chosen four beach locations to showcase through the series, and the release celebrates not only these stunning and wild coastlines, but the communities that make them what they are. The ambition of the campaign is to promote and celebrate local travel and adventures, there are so many places on our coast that are free to explore.
“Burcher’s lifestyle very much captures the essence of FREE Brewing Co. He is a free surfer, school teacher, writer and filmmaker who approaches everything he does with a fearless passion. There are so many incredible places to roam and discover on our vast coastline, but for this series, we’ve worked with Burcher to share some of his favourites – Shipstern Bluff in Tassie, the iconic Bells Beach on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Margaret River in
Western Australia and his home town of Mollymook on the beautiful NSW South Coast.” says FREE Brewing Co.
As an independent brewer, FREE Brewing Co.’s passion for free brewing flows through to everything they do. The organic lager is free from preservatives, embraces all-natural ingredients and traditional simple brewing method to deliver a beer that’s better for you and the planet. COAST SERIES 20-21 celebrates the beauty of being absolutely free in nature and on the road.

Beer consumption suffered during lockdown

Across the globe, beer consumption suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic in the early stages of 2020. In some countries – such as South Africa – alcohol consumption was restricted, while others – like Mexico – classified brewing as a non-essential activity and ceased beer production.
“In most countries, consumers faced a lockdown and the on-premise channel was closed, creating varying degrees of pain for nearly all brewers,” according to Francois Sonneville, Senior Analyst – Beverages at Rabobank .
“In North America, the overall market has held up relatively well, helped by its reliance on off-trade sales and stellar e-commerce growth. Brewers large and small have proved surprisingly nimble and adaptable – which may lead to notable changes to the on-premise moving forward,” says Sonneville. Craft brewers, who are more dependent on the on-trade, have so far avoided closures, although the winter might impact those dependent on outdoor seating.
Read More: Food fraud being uncovered
In Europe, on-trade markets have been hit hard, especially in tourist areas, and beer
going stale in kegs has caused additional problems. As new Covid cases are on the
rise and the risk of a second lockdown increases, chain integration might help to
lower costs.
Despite a sharp recovery in China, the loss of summer sales will hang over 2020
Asian beer volumes. As China comprises 70% of total Asian beer consumption, it is
critical to recovery. Thailand and Japan have shown smart recoveries in Q3 2020. For
the rest of Asia, specifically, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam, there are mixed

Beer company raises money for drought-affected farming community

A new Australian Beer has launched and $2.00 from every case will be donated to the charity ‘GIVIT’ to help raise much needed funds and equipment for those living in drought-affected communities.
Brewed in Goulburn, Southern NSW by award-wining Tribe Breweries, ‘Hughie’ is a light, refreshing lager made from 100 per cent Australian-grown hops and malt and makes a great, easy-drinking thirst-quencher at the end of a long hot day.
“The name ‘Hughie’ derives from the term “Send it down Hughie” which was a common Aussie bushman’s cry for rain at the turn of the 20th century, so it’s great to see that the money raised from the sale of Hughie can go towards helping those living in drought-affected communities today,” said Billy Ryan, category manager, craft beer, Dan Murphy’s.
Since late 2018, GIVIT has spent more than $600,000 in donated relief funds to co-ordinate over 140,000 items purchased in local communities to help 12,000 people across regional NSW affected by drought conditions.
“Being able to replace a water tank, mend a fence or purchase a week’s supply of groceries at the local store can make a significant positive contribution to a family dealing with drought,” said Scott Barrett, GIVIT’s NSW Manager. He said that last year was Australia’s driest on record and although some areas have received rainfall this year, it will take much more than a few showers to make any significant difference.
“Drought affects everyone in regional communities; farmers, their businesses and their families.  It affects lives, live-stock and livelihoods.  Whole communities are impacted: local businesses dry-up because of reduced spending and the effects run deep across generations, economically, socially and emotionally.  Many of these communities are now dealing with double-whammy of drought followed by bush-fires.  It doesn’t get any tougher than that.”
With its strong agricultural roots in wool production, Hughie’s birth-place and home in Goulburn, has also seen the far-reaching impact of drought:
“Drought really affected our local agricultural community over the last few years.  It’s fantastic to be producing a drop of great-tasting Goulburn beer that is 100 per cent Australian and gives back to the community it serves,” said Anton Szpitalak, Tribe Breweries, Goulburn.

Brewdog becomes carbon negative

Scottish craft brewer BrewDog has announced that it has taken the unprecedented step to become carbon negative, and that it will remove twice as much carbon from the air than it emits every single year. Making it the first carbon negative international beer brand in the world, as it sets out to fight climate change and have a positive impact on the planet.

The move is founded in its belief that carbon neutral is no longer enough, and that businesses should be having a positive impact on the planet. To this end, BrewDog is unveiling a climate action program with AUD $55m (£30m) of green investments across its business.

As part of these efforts, it has also purchased 2,050 acres of Scottish Highlands just north of Loch Lomond, to create the BrewDog Forest, and plans to plant one million trees over the next few years. Meanwhile, BrewDog Australia is introducing a host of green infrastructure projects and sustainability initiatives, including the introduction of solar-panels, a partnership Carbon Neutral’s Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Project to offset all excess C02 emissions, and the creation of a sustainable drive thru.

The news comes as BrewDog Australia launches its first Brisbane-brewed headliner beers.

Over the past few months BrewDog has been working closely with lead scientific advisor Professor Mike Berners-Lee and his team at Small World Consulting. Berners-Lee is one of the world’s leading experts in carbon foot-printing and sustainability and has led the process of calculating BrewDog’s carbon footprint and been pivotal in the design of its carbon removal plan. The partnership has helped to direct over AUD $55m (£30m) of investment into green infrastructure to support the business in reducing carbon emissions.

In order to double remove all of its carbon, until it is able to begin planting the BrewDog Forest, the brewer will be working with offset partners on a series of projects. Each organisation has the highest standard of accreditation and has been additionally vetted by Berners-Lee and his team with each project deemed beneficial to biodiversity and local communities.

“Our Carbon. Our Problem. So, we are going to fix it ourselves. Huge change is needed right now, and we want to be a catalyst for that change in our industry and beyond. We fully acknowledge that we are a long way from perfect. However, we are determined to rapidly and fundamentally change everything as we work hard to ensure we have a positive impact on the planet.” James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog commented,

Mike Berners Lee, Founder of Small World Consulting continued,

“After decades of inaction we have a full-on climate crisis on our hands. The scale and speed of the change we now need is enormous, and cuts right across politics, business and every corner of society. The good news is that if we are smart about our transition, we can make our lives better at the same time as making them more sustainable. With the actions laid out in this report, BrewDog is giving some of the leadership the world so badly needs. They are raising the bar for the business world, both in their strong carbon cutting action and their straight talking. BrewDog beer can represent another small nudge for a better world.”

BrewDog Australia will soon be adding solar-panels to supply a significant amount of the energy demand from the brewery, taproom and restaurant and is providing all spent grain to feed local cattle in Queensland. Excess CO2 emissions are offset through Carbon Neutral’s Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor, a multi-species native reforestation project located in Southwest Australia which is a global biodiversity hotspot. This Australian Native Reforestation Gold Standard certified project aims to remove existing carbon and improve the environment by planting native species of trees and shrubs to recreate a healthy, functioning landscape, restored after decades of habitat loss and degradation.

BrewDog Australia is also looking to work with green partners, all of which have the highest standard of accreditation, and has plans to launch a sustainable drive thru that will act as beer collection points, hubs for electronic vehicle deliveries and hubs for closed loop, zero waste packaging such as growlers, mini-kegs and returnable bottles. Further details on this will be announced in due course.

A spokesperson for Carbon Neutral said:

“Carbon Neutral is delighted to be working with BrewDog as part of its carbon offset strategy. BrewDog has done more than address our very real climate crisis; it has also acknowledged the need to halt biodiversity loss by funding native reforestation in the Outback of Australia. BrewDog’s approach shows a true awareness of our impact on the planet – by reducing its GHG emissions and supporting the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor, BrewDog is helping to bring life back to barren landscape.”

One of BrewDog’s primary reasons for investing in local brewing and opening a site in Brisbane is to significantly reduce the miles the beer travelled to reach the consumer. Having unveiled its state-of-the-art Australian Brewery and Taproom in Queensland’s capital city late last year, BrewDog can now offer fans across the country the opportunity to enjoy freshly-brewed BrewDog beer – dispatched the next working day.

The headliner range includes the beer that started BrewDog’s craft beer revolution, Punk IPA, alongside Hazy Jane New England IPA, Elvis Juice Grapefruit Infused IPA, and a West Coast classic Pale Ale.

Since opening in Brisbane last November, BrewDog has been working hard to establish strong Aussie roots – pouring the best craft beer from across the Sunshine State including Range Brewing, Black Hops, Brouhaha, Aether and Sea Legs at the taproom and restaurant. Having debuted its first Australian exclusive 3.5 per cent Easy Pale Ale back in January, the team is keen to create more small batch brews and show their commitment to supporting other Queensland businesses and collaborating with local distilleries like Beenleigh Rum to create exclusive Queensland-made products.

BrewDog’s expansion into Australia has been supported by the Queensland Government through the Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund and Brisbane City Council through Brisbane Economic Development Agency. The brewery is creating a breadth of new jobs for Queensland’s craft brewing industry, with a team of 50 and around a dozen more jobs expected before the end of the year, helping to boost economic growth in Brisbane. The team are also committed to making the business as environmentally sustainable as possible to help support Queensland’s unique environment.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner encouraged residents to get behind local producers, such as BrewDog.

“Brisbane is a clean, green city and council supports innovative businesses that take a proactive approach to environmental sustainability,” Cr Schrinner said.

“It is also great to see BrewDog beer being produced right here in our backyard for local and national distribution. This type of job-creating investment in key sectors such as food and beverage will help drive our city’s recovery and future growth as we climb out of the economic hole created by the global pandemic. It’s our civic duty; if we’re going to crack a brew on the weekend, make it local first.”

Global drinks industry M&A deals total $706.92m in Q2 2020

Total drinks industry M&A deals in Q2 2020 worth $706.92m were announced globally, according to GlobalData’s deals database.

The value marked a decrease of 86.9 per cent over the previous quarter and a drop of 85.8 per cent when compared with the last four-quarter average, which stood at $4.99bn.

Comparing deals value in different regions of the globe, North America held the top position, with total announced deals in the period worth $385.07m. At the country level, the US topped the list in terms of deal value at $385m.

In terms of volumes, North America emerged as the top region for drinks industry M&A deals globally, followed by Asia-Pacific and then Europe.

The top country in terms of M&A deals activity in Q2 2020 was the US with 12 deals, followed by the UK with four and China with four.

In 2020, as of the end of Q2 2020, drinks M&A deals worth $6.09bn were announced globally, marking an increase of 123.5% year on year.

Drinks industry M&A deals in Q2 2020: Top deals
The top five drinks industry M&A deals accounted for 100 per cent of the overall value during Q2 2020.

The combined value of the top five drinks M&A deals stood at $706.85m, against the overall value of $706.92m recorded for the month.

The top five drinks industry deals of Q2 2020 tracked by GlobalData were:

  • Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart’s $265.91m acquisition of Jinhui Liquor
  • The $255m asset transaction with Constellation Brands by SazeracInc
  • E. & J. Gallo Winery’s $130m asset transaction with Constellation Brands
  • The $46.82m acquisition of Tianjin Heavenly Palace Winery by Tianjin Food Group
  • PepsiCo’s acquisition of Rude Health Foods for $9.11

Coopers 2020 Vintage Ale a homage to brewery’s history

A special barley variety named after the original site of Coopers Brewery brings a historic touch to the 20th year celebration of Vintage Ale.

The Coopers 2020 Vintage Ale features Leabrook barley, named after the former site of the sixth generation Australian family-owned brewery. Coopers was located at Leabrook in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs from 1881 until 2001 when it moved to its current and expanded site at Regency Park.

The Leabrook barley variety, grown on the eastern slopes of the Adelaide Hills, has been crafted by the brewer’s maltster Dr Doug Stewart into pale malt, to which crystal and wheat malt is added to create an authentic Vintage Ale with a special twist.

Coopers 2020 Vintage Ale is the 20th in the series of Vintage Ales that commenced in 1998. Like all Coopers ales, the 2020 Vintage Ale undergoes secondary fermentation and natural
conditioning. It retains an alcohol level of 7.5 per cent ABV.

All Hands available in cans

All Hands Brewing House  has canned four of its award-winning brews, and will be available across 24 Dan Murphy’s stores in Sydney.

All Hands and Signature Hospitality Group CEO, James Sinclair, explains that the move has been an  exciting one for the brand.

“We had been toying with the idea of canning and selling our brews via retail for a while, but the current coronavirus pandemic gave us the nudge we needed. We’re starting locally with the tremendous support of Dan Murphy’s in Sydney, but there is potential to grow if this is successful in the future. We’re lucky to have an incredible and award-winning Head Brewer at All Hands, Sam Clayman, who has worked tirelessly to bring this idea to life in such a short amount of time,” said Sinclair.

Indie Beer Day set down for July 25

On Saturday, July 25, independent beer fans across the country are coming together to say, “Cheers to Indie Beer”.

Only the second of its kind, Indie Beer Day and the nationwide synchronised toast at 7 pm (AEST), is designed to celebrate resilience, survival, and easing (in some states) of restrictions. Most of all, it’s a toast to the great indie brewers and venues who have been doing it tough, many of which were dealing with fires and floods before this pandemic even began.

Breweries, pubs, and venues across the country are hosting celebrations (both physical and virtual), launching beers, and offering special deals to help us raise a glass to our favourite indie beer.

“With restrictions eased in most states, we need Indie Beer Day now more than ever. We need the people who love and support indie producers to give our industry a much-needed boost in every way,” explains Independent Brewers Association (IBA) General Manager Kylie Lethbridge. “Many indie breweries are located in regional areas, so the loss of regional tourism and pub closures has hit them hard.”

“Whether you’re buying takeaway beers, ordering your indie mixed pack online, having a small gathering with mates or heading to your favourite local for drinks, make sure you ask for indie beer and raise a drink with us at 7pm on the 25th,” says Lethbridge.

Sydney’s Northern beaches will hit party mode as Modus Operandi celebrates its 6th birthday with new brews, top food, and tunes. Traveling north to Queensland, newly established Straddie Brewing Co will be launching their Point Lookout Lager, and Bribie Island Brewing Company will be reopening its doors for the first time since lockdown. Over in South Australia Little Bang Brewing Company is showcasing 21 taps of indie beers from around the country. While Melbourne may be in lockdown, it doesn’t mean they’re not joining in the fun – Killer Sprocket is offering take away specials all day. From Margaret River to the Top End and all the way down south in New Norfolk, Tassie, you’ll be able to find indie beer and venues elebrating in style. In fact, some indie brewers have donned their dancing shoes to get people excited for the day.

NSW government provides relief to indie brewers

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, announced welcome support NSW independent brewers by providing financial assistance to the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) to implement a range of measures that aim to pave the way for recovery.

Barilaro revealed $135,000 would contribute to the cost of memberships for the 120 independent breweries in NSW for a year and $60,000 would go to a partnership associated with the IBA’s annual conference, BrewCon being held in November. These contributions ensure the industry body can continue to provide valuable assistance and resources for members during their recovery from the Coronavirus crisis.

The Independent Brewers Association represents over 600 small and medium business in every state and territory across Australia with a majority of members located in regional areas. We directly employ over 3,000 people and support the employment of more than 25,000 in related industries of agriculture, logistics, hospitality, manufacturing and services.

“Our region depends on tourism, so we’ve been struggling to hang on, especially after the fires and then Coronavirus. This support will allow us to keep staff onboard and focus on getting new beers ready for our local community and the next tourist season.” explains Jacob Newman from Eden Brewery.

The support follows on from the NSW Independent Brewers Action Plan launched by the Deputy Premier late last year which contained a broad range of initiatives to support growth in the sector. This new funding recognises that the industry has been devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic and that NSW breweries will struggle to recover without assistance.

“We’d like to thank Deputy Premier John Barilaro for being a champion of the independent brewing industry, his support has been essential in delivering policy and regulatory changes that will have long-term benefits for every NSW brewery. This strong partnership with the NSW Government is crucial for the health of our industry and it is the first step toward recovery for NSW breweries and their employees”, said Peter Philip, IBA Chair and founder of Wayward Brewing Company.

“Our industry has been doing it tough, especially small breweries based in regional areas that rely so heavily on tourism and taprooms for survival. A large percentage have lost nearly all their revenue since the pandemic started. This support will go a long way to alleviating some of the immediate pressures being faced these small, family owned and operated businesses.” explains Philip.

Furthermore, the NSW Government is lending its voice and asking the Federal Government to provide tailored responses for our industry, including modifying the small brewer excise refund scheme and developing a national strategy for the independent beer industry.

Keeping spirits high: brewing in a niche market

The 2019 Australian Craft Beer Survey results backed up what a lot of anecdotal evidence has shown over the past five years – Australian consumers like their craft beer. The survey showed that the attitude of 68 per cent of those surveyed towards the regular release of new/limited beers was ‘exciting and shows the creativity of breweries’, while only 5 per cent thought it ‘reduces the quality of beer’.

Craft brewing has been around since beer was invented, however as a brand becomes more popular and moves into the mainstream, it loses the moniker. In modern times, Western Australia’s Matilda Bay is considered the first in the renaissance of craft beer when it was launched in 1984.

The average craft beer drinker is aged between 30 and 49, while unsurprisingly the Eastern states make up 86 per cent of all craft beer drinkers. It is a business that is not only flourishing but attracting new start-ups at a fast rate.

Peter Philip is chairman of the Independent Brewing Association (IBA), and founder of the Wayward Brewing Co. The IBA has more than 500 members and is a fierce advocate of the industry, which is currently growing at the rate of one new brewery opening every six days.

“The craft movement started because people were looking for something different,” he said. “I don’t particularly think that is a new trend. It has been a trend for the past 50 years that craft brewers tapped into and that is what created the whole craft industry.

“It is a segment that is a major growth area and really resonates with rural and regional Australians. They are bringing a whole new beverage to country towns. Country towns are thirsty places so people are really getting behind those small breweries.”

Some have been so successful, they have been bought by some of the bigger players. Carlton & United Breweries’ (CUB) acquisitions over the past couple of years include 4 Pines, Pirate Life, the award-winning, Mick Fanning-backed Balter and its initial purchase of the aforementioned Matilda Bay Brewing in 1990, which has closed and opened on different sides of the continent.

“We opened the Matilda Bay microbrewery in Healesville, Victoria late last year, with the father of craft beer in Australia, Phil Sexton,” said Julian Sheezel, vice-president of corporate affairs for CUB.

Another major brewer, Lion bought Little Creatures but tends to start up its own craft beer brands from its Malt Shovel subsidiary, including its James Squire range.
For some younger consumers, they will be hard-pressed to know that such a well-known brand as Hahn’s started out a boutique beer. And while founder, Chuck Hahn might not be the father of craft beer, he could claim the title of grandfather. Approaching his 50th year in the business, starting out at Coors in the US, Hahn is now the Brew Master at Lion and shows no signs of slowing down. He has some nostalgic memories of those days gone by.

He even helped revive one of the original craft brands that was established on the east coast in the 1980s.

“We’ve been developing authentic brands rather than going out and buying,” he said. “The Hahn brewery was one of the first craft breweries on the east coast, along with Power Burning Company, which was born in 1988 along with the Eumundi Brewery started by John Lynch up on the Sunshine Coast.

“Ten years ago, Lion was able to buy the trademark for Eumundi and about a year ago we put a small brewery back in to the same motel – the Imperial Hotel just across the way from the Eumundi markets – and we rebirthed that brand. We eventually convinced our marketing department to develop the brand and that is what we have done.”

While some brewers are happy to rest on their laurels and find a niche in their local country town, shire or even city, a lot of companies – Balter being the latest example – are looking for the big pay day when one of the bigger brewers can no longer ignore their presence.

What does a multi-national brewer look for when buying up a smaller player?

“Businesses we’ve purchased have all had great people, great products and enormous potential,” said Sheezel. “We look for businesses whose owners are passionate about making great beverages and are committed to creating value not only for both parties but also for our customers across the country.”

There have been many ups and downs in the industry. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, data showed that just over 250,000 businesses were deregistered from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission between July 2017 and June 30 2018. In other words a lot of businesses fail. The specialty beverage space is no different. Many players believe that the state and federal governments could do more to help.

A taxing time
If you talk to Philip and Hahn, they believe that the craft brewers in particular have it a little harder as they are treated differently from the big players.

“Australia is one of the highest taxed countries for beer and alcohol,” said Philip. “We’re contributing more than our fair share to the tax coffers. Over half the production cost of the beer is tax – more than we are paying for the malt; more than we are paying for the hops; more than we are paying our staff. It is our single biggest ‘supplier’ that we are having to pay. We’re overweight in terms of what we are paying compared to other countries.”

Hahn concurs.

“Australian alcohol is taxed almost more than most other places in the world. Excise is based on your alcohol level,” he said. “We’re paying over $2 a litre in tax, even more so if it is more than 5 per cent alcohol. In the US it is a about one tenth of that – about $0.20 a litre. Excise tax is the biggest single cost to making beer. It’s crazy. You might use $1 a litre or $1.5 a litre for all your malted barley and hops and processing, but not $2 a litre. People don’t realise that and the excise just went up again. It goes up every six months.”

There has been some relief thanks to lobbying of the IBA and its predecessor the Craft Brewers Industry Association (CBIA), according to Hahn.

“This is something we fought for in the CBIA and finally got the government to allow the smaller breweries to claim back $30,000 a year on excise,” he said. “Further lobbying by the IBA got it up to $100,000. That has helped smaller brewers exist. It doesn’t hide the fact that Australia pays more money to the government than almost any other country in the world.”

CUB’s Sheezel also believes it is an issue that needs addressing.

“Australians now pays one of the highest beer taxes in the developed world, much higher than the UK, NZ, the US and Germany,” he said. “Beer should not be a luxury – it’s the drink for the everyday Australian. Given the sensible approach shown to alcohol consumption by the vast majority of Australians, the high tax slug on Australians is just not right.”

A matter of choice
One of the key issues that is always on the drawing board is how sustainable is the industry? With a brewery opening up every six days, won’t there become a saturation point somewhere? Depends on who you talk to. Under the right conditions, Sheezel believes it is sustainable.

“Australian beer lovers have more beers to choose from than ever before,” said Sheezel. “We believe any brewery that will brew consistently high-quality, small-batch beers in an environmentally sustainable way can expect to be sustainable.”

The IBA does see a bit of a David and Goliath situation playing out between its members and the bigger brewers. As well as the tax issue, he believes that the government should examine the tap contracts the bigger breweries have with hotels and bars, which he believes are not as fair as they could be towards the smaller brewers. He said that the craft brewers get on well together and back each other up – not just in trying to gain marketshare, but in the more practical aspects of making their favourite tipple.

“There’s an amazing camaraderie in the industry. Small, independent brewers help each other every day,” he said. “We don’t view each other so much as competitors, we view each other as co-partners in building an industry. Most days of the week I’ll get a call from somebody saying, ‘I’m short a bag of grain, can I borrow one off you?’ And they come on over and grab it. That is the kind of industry we are in.”

But with a lot of craft beers now becoming mainstream, isn’t it an industry that will slowly become the norm anyway? There are also aforementioned beers like Hahn and Balter that are now mainstream or about to become so. Philip pulls out an interesting statistics that shows that there is still a gulf – whether it gets bigger or not, only time will tell.

“Large brewers own 94 per cent of the market and have virtually unlimited access to capital and they can use that to automate their processes to a massive extent,” he said. “We are 6 per cent of volume but employ 47 per cent of all the people in the industry. It shows how automated they are, and how much of a craft industry we are. It truly is hand-crafted products and that has a cost implication. Our operating costs and production costs are massively higher than the multi-nationals.”

And it’s not just beer where boutique beverages are making a splash. The spirit space is also making waves and not just in Australia.

Mr Black is a high-end coffee liqueur that is distilled in New South Wales’ Central Coast. It was started by Thomas Baker and Phillip Moore and was borne out of a gap in the market that both men saw.

“Philip was so excited when he met Tom at the distillery. Together, they collaborated, started a company, and after two iterations, released Mr Black,” said the company’s operations manager Rick Roper.

In 2014, Mr Black went on to win a gold medal award at the London Spirit Show as the finest in its category and has consistently won international awards since that time.

“They launched the product in the UK not long after developing it, and in a relatively short period of time it has become the leading coffee liqueur in both of those markets,” said Roper. “In 2017, it was launched in the US and is now the biggest selling Australian spirit in the US. Although it is Australian based, it is expanding globally. It is continued to manufactured at Distillery Botanica. It is highly regarded. It’s blended with a high-quality grain spirit and is crafted into Mr Black. It is sold through on and off premises. It’s now also now being distributed through the Asia Pacific.”

Then there is Bryon Bay Slow Gin (see story page 36 of this issue), that uses the Davidson Plum as its main ingredient.

The plum is a native of Australia, and something that co-founder of the Cape Byron Distillery, Eddie Brook, sees as something that all spirit producers can embrace and make them a point of difference in the world market.

The company also produces a macadamia nut and roasted wattle seed liqueur.
“You get this rich butterscotch, toffee, toasted nut flavour, almost coffee and dark cacao notes coming through as well,” Brook said. “It has been a really great addition. Later this year we will be releasing a few other spirits around the native fruit-infused line in particular.”

The future
Overall the niche beverage industry is expanding and there are a slew of distilleries and breweries popping up all over the country. What is the advice from some of those who have already made the journey to those that are starting out?

“One thing I would say about brewing is that cleanliness is next to godliness,” said Hahn. “Any problems that are associated with brewing are usually housekeeping and in hygiene.
“The next is you have to deliver on consistent, quality favour. If the beer looks flat, then it doesn’t look appealing. If it doesn’t look appealing, then you need to work on presentation.

“Finally, you have to have the brewer out there talking about the beer. That is something that I have always done.

“I used to have three or four beer dinners a month at various hotels to get Australians to taste beer rather than just drink it. It’s more about tasting rather than slamming it down. I say slam it down slowly and savour the flavour, which leads to responsible drinking, which is what the craft element is about.”

Sheezel sees a few trends coming through that are not just about beverages themselves but where they come from.

“Over the past five years we have seen an increase in mid-strength beers sales, the demand for a greater variety of beers and more demand for beer in cans and we expect these trends to continue in coming years,” he said. “Consumers are increasingly consumption-conscious, and interested in what goes in to their products. Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability, a focus that will only intensify in coming years.

“We also believe drinkers will place a greater premium on convenience, so that they can enjoy drinks in much the same way beer has traditionally been enjoyed.”

The last word is left to Philip, who despite some of the challenges, loves the industry.
“It is enormously satisfying to deal with people who have fun and enjoy the product that they create,” he said.

“We are being creative in how we come up with new products and how we engage with customers. And this is why the public respond like they do to independent beers because we’re giving them an experience that they can’t get from some of the mainstream beers.”

Carlsberg moves to create paper beer bottle

Carlsberg Group is trying to  create the world’s first ‘paper’ beer bottle made from sustainably sourced wood fibres that is both 100 per cent bio-based and fully recyclable.

Carlsberg has unveiled two new research prototypes of its Green Fibre Bottle, which are the first ‘paper bottles’ to contain beer. Carlsberg also announced it has been joined by other leading global companies who are united in their vision of developing sustainable packaging through the advancement of paper bottle technology.

These developments are a continuation of Carlsberg’s sustainable packaging innovation journey and a key part of its sustainability programme, Together Towards Zero, including its commitment to Zero carbon emissions at its breweries and a 30 per cent reduction in its full value chain carbon footprint by 2030.

Two new prototypes
The two new research prototypes are made from sustainably-sourced wood fibre, are fully recyclable and have an inner barrier to allow the bottles to contain beer. One prototype uses a thin recycled PET polymer film barrier, and the other a 100 per cent bio-based PEF polymer film barrier. These prototypes will be used to test the barrier technology as Carlsberg seeks a solution to achieve their ultimate ambition of a 100 per cent bio-based bottle without polymers.

READ MORE: Kelloggs tap into craft market with cornflakes beer

Myriam Shingleton, Vice President Group Development at Carlsberg Group, said: “We continue to innovate across all our packaging formats, and we are pleased with the progress we’ve made on the Green Fibre Bottle so far. While we are not completely there yet, the two prototypes are an important step towards realising our ultimate ambition of bringing this breakthrough to market. Innovation takes time and we will continue to collaborate with leading experts in order to overcome remaining technical challenges, just as we did with our plastic-reducing Snap Pack.”

New partners onboard
Carlsberg kicked off the project to develop a bottle made from sustainably sourced wood fibres, the ‘Green Fibre Bottle,’ in 2015 alongside innovation experts ecoXpac, packaging company BillerudKorsnäs, and post-doctoral researchers from the Danish Technical University, supported by Innovation Fund Denmark. These combined efforts have resulted in the emergence of Paboco, the Paper Bottle Company – a joint venture between BillerudKorsnäs and bottle manufacturing specialist Alpla.

Carlsberg will now be joined by The Coca-Cola Company, The Absolut Company and L’Oréal in a paper bottle community – launched today by Paboco. The community unites leading global companies and experts with the vision of advancing sustainable packaging, offering high-quality products while reducing their environmental impact.

Myriam Shingleton continued: “The work with our partners since 2015 on the Green Fibre Bottle illustrates that this kind of innovation can happen when we work together. We’re delighted that other like-minded companies have now joined us as part of Paboco’s paper bottle community. Partnerships such as these, ones that are united by a desire to create sustainable innovations, are the best way to bring about real change.”

“We’re driven by our constant pursuit of better, to create more sustainable packaging solutions that help people to live more sustainable lives. Sometimes that means completely rethinking how things are done – pushing the boundaries of existing technologies and overcoming technical challenges as they present themselves.”

Gittan Schiöld, interim CEO of Paboco said: “It is all about the team! We are collaborating across the value chain, sharing the risks and are united in our vision that the paper bottle will become a reality and fundamentally change this industry for good.”

A constant pursuit of better
Carlsberg’s focus on sustainable packaging innovations is not new. In 2018, the Danish brewer launched a number of packaging innovations including recycled shrink film, greener label ink and the innovative ‘Snap Pack,’ which replaces the plastic wrapping around its six-packs with a solution that instead glues cans together.

Carlsberg’s packaging improvements are part of its long-standing progress of betterment and innovation, including developing scientific breakthroughs such as pure yeast and the pH scale.

Gas the key to fledging micro-brewing industry

Craft brewing has taken off in Australia over the past five years. Driven by consumer demand for something a little different outside the main brands. These usually one- or two-person bands are making inroads into traditional markets right across
the country.

From Perth to Sydney, Adelaide to Brisbane, micro-breweries aren’t just putting down roots in the main cities, regional Australia is getting its fair share of beer aficionados, too. Some craft breweries are driven by wanting to be in an industry they love, others believe their unique blend of hops, barley, yeast and malt offer an exquisite taste to a discerning public, while yet others are hoping one of the big breweries will buy them out.

According to a 2018 report by IBIS World, the craft brewery market in Australia is worth about $520 million and is growing at a rate of about six per cent a year. Not only are the brewers themselves excited about the market’s potential, but those providing products and services can also see that the sector offers lucrative opportunities.

As well as the four basic ingredients, there are peripheral – but just as important – constituents that need to be taken into consideration, such as packaging, distribution and gases.

READ MORE: Putting wine on ice – gas’s role in winemaking

Gases are the unseen heroes of a good brew, something that Air Liquide’s Western Australian sales representative, Gavin Lee, is all too aware of. Having a background working at brewing giant Lion, has helped Lee gain momentum in supplying a variety of gases to the large number of micro-breweries popping up on the west coast. And it’s only going to get bigger, according to Lee.

“The micro brewing industry in Western Australia is going gangbusters at the moment,” he said. “There are more than 60 micro-breweries in Western Australia – ranging from Exmouth down to Albany. The majority are in the Perth area.”

Like wine-making, gas plays an important role, from the brewing of the amber fluid, through to it being dispensed at the tap. Oxygen is both the friend and enemy of the brewer. The only time it is necessary is when there is the oxygenation of the wort, which is the liquid extracted from the mashing process that occurs during the brewing of beer. Wort contains the sugars that will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol.
“Oxygen and light are the two things brewers don’t like. Dissolved oxygen in beer ruins the taste and flavour,” said Lee.

If gas was a workhorse its name would be carbon dioxide (CO2). It is used extensively to move beer around from one vessel to another, as well as during the bottling process. It has a multitude of uses, and because it is an inert gas it has no effect on the end product. Nitrogen can also be used but CO2 is the preferred option among most brewmasters. CO2 is mainly used in the carbonation process, giving the beer its fizz at the point of bottling, canning or kegging.

“When using it in the bottling process there is tank inerting,” said Lee. “Currently, if the brewer has the brew in the tank and there is a bit of head space in that vessel, they can pump CO2 on top of that beer so it blankets the surface, and that provides a protective layer for the beer, or they can use nitrogen.”

And when it comes to setting up the delivery mechanisms for the gases, Air Liquide has that covered, too. There are two main options.

“Typically we like to use copper piping because it won’t leak and it won’t corrode and can last for a very long time,” said Lee. “Or you can use food-grade nylon, which is a cheaper option, but over time it does have a tendency to spring a leak because it is under pressure.
“We have engineers and an installation team that are very experienced. We swapped out a vessel, down at Little Creatures in Freemantle, which had been there for the past 18 years.
“We swapped out to a 10-tonne vessel and within a couple of hours they were back in full operation without any down time.”

Another growing part of the company’s business is providing mixed gases for the dispensing of beverages in hotels and pubs throughout the state.

“It is often a mixed combination of CO2 and nitrogen,” said Lee. “It is the gas that pumps the beer through to the glass. As with the brewing process, it is inert so doesn’t affect the quality or the taste of the beer.”

Another reason Lee believes Air Liquide is making inroads into the market is that it supports the industry in other ways other than just providing gases.

“Air Liquide supports WABA – the Western Australian Brewing Association,” he said. “We try and support a lot of the brewers who start a business. Although some would argue gas is a small part of the process, it is a very important part. We offer cost-effective safe solutions and are able to provide the right product, at the right time and the right price,” he said.

“We’ve got fantastic aftersales service and logistics solutions to provide any type of gas delivery – whether it be in cylinders, skid tanks, mini-bulk or bulk vessels. All ALIGAL products we supply to breweries and wineries are of food-grade quality and our CO2 is FSSC 22000-certified, guaranteeing maximum quality and food safety.”

Kelloggs taps into craft market with cornflake beer

There’s nothing better than two mates coming together over a cold one on a spring afternoon. Born out of Botany, NSW, two mates have done just that, developing a limited-edition craft beer.

In an Australian first, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes take centre stage in a craft beer collaboration with microbrewery One Drop Brewing Co. The two Botany-based businesses have come together to develop and produce the unique limited-edition Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Nitro Milkshake IPA.

Using famous Kellogg’s Corn Flakes in the beer, the Milkshake IPA is a creamy, full-bodied sweet beer with the right slice of hoppy bitterness.

Proudly brewed and canned at the Botany brewery and taproom, the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Nitro Milkshake IPA is the perfect blend of fruity and creamy. Craft beer aficionados will be able to detect how Sabro, Citra and Simcoe hops take the lead in bitterness, without distracting from the huge hits of ripe strawberry, passionfruit, coconut and mango.

Bruno Madonna, Director of Research and Technology at Kellogg said: “We’ve always had a love of combining innovation with great tasting product at Kellogg.

“Kellogg’s Corn Flakes has been a catalyst to many amazing creations over the years so partnering with local Botany brewery, One Drop, seemed like a no brainer. This beer is a fun way to remind Aussies of the versatility of cereal.”

Nick Calder, head brewer of One Drop Brewing Co. said: “We’ve seen the craft beer market grow exponentially the past few years and we wanted to bring a fresh take to the scene. Using one of Kellogg’s best-selling cereals to produce a trendy Nitro Milkshake IPA was an amazing opportunity to create something different.”

Husband and wife duo Clay Grant and Meg Barbic, who founded One Drop Brewing Co., added: “There really is nothing like getting together with your neighbours over a cold one, and that’s exactly what we did – collaborate with our Botany neighbour Kellogg to produce a great tasting craft beer.”

The Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Nitro Milkshake IPA is brewed and canned at the One Drop headquarters in Botany and available until stock runs out.

The right brew for beverage and distillery flooring

The craft beer and distillery market in Australia is worth in excess of $4 billion and growing. Although currently dominated by North American brands, more exciting new craft brewers and distilleries are setting up rapidly throughout the country, with up to 600 brands now being available.

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) estimates that there will be double-digit growth of 24.2 per cent for local craft beer through the liquor stores over the next 12 months, proving Australia has a growing appetite for quality beer and spirits. Wealthy investors and bankers also view the market as a key opportunity with the likes of Gerry Harvey recently investing $20 million to build Australia’s largest whisky company.

Similar to the building and construction of a winery, breweries and distilleries have parallel challenges in getting the floor coating just right.

The brewing process is subject to constant wear and tear and spills. This is driven by steam and boiling water creating a large swing in temperatures that the flooring needs to withstand. Following on from the production process, forklifts and pallet jacks are used to transport ingredients and finished brews to delivery trucks. This constant traffic movement can cause the floor to crack and peel and result in dangerous trip hazards, as well as a build-up in bacteria. A seamless heavy-duty, non-slip epoxy floor from a company like Roxset Health and Safety Flooring will protect from accidents and inhibit growth of bacteria and provide ease of cleaning.

READ MORE: Flooring meets strict food code requirements

Another key consideration with the final coating is erosion. Sugar solutions used in wine making and brewing rapidly erode concrete, which can leave the surface pitted and damaged resulting in expensive downtime and repairs. It also creates a hazardous working environment for workers.

Breweries, distilleries and wineries have a lot of rules and regulations they are required to follow, not just in terms of how they run overall, but their set-up, too.

Important requirements they must meet include:
• A brewery floor needs to be made of non-porous material, with no cracks and gaps.
• Flooring must have anti-microbial properties to prevent collection of bacteria and other harmful organisms and meet HACCP Compliance.
• Floor coating must be moisture and chemical resistant and not degrade quickly due to repeated exposure.
• Floor coating must work well in both wet and dry conditions.
• Floor coating should be non-slip and have low environmental impact.

The SE Floor Coating Solution from Roxset is a specialised tailored system to suit high impact wet areas for the food and beverage industry. Key clients over the past 30 years include, Ned’s Whisky, Capital Brewing, Vasse Felix Winery and Voyager Estate.

For consumers, breweries and distilleries are a cool place to hang out and see how the beverage is made and to sample offerings. But what they do not realise is the level of detail, which goes into every choice made. From the brewing of equipment to the flooring, everything needs careful consideration.

Roxset has the expertise and history to make sure all hygienic and safety concerns are met in distilleries, wineries and breweries. It works with clients so it can find a solution that will mean the floor surface meets strict Australian standards and makes for a safe and healthy workplace for employees.

From barley to beer – farmer takes up brewing

“We saw a lot of craft breweries popping up but what we could never get our heads around was why we weren’t getting into it as malt barley producers,” AG Schilling & Co’s Mark Schilling says.

“Why is this any different from the wine industry – they grow grapes and they turn them into wine so why don’t we make our own beer from the barley we grow?”

The family farming business grows grains and legumes across more than 2000ha on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, which is about 150km northwest of Adelaide in a region renowned for producing world-class barley.

Schilling grew Banks barley, which is still going through the accreditation process, in 2017 and had it malted at Voyager Craft Malt in New South Wales last year before sending it to Clare Valley Brewing Co. who made the Yorke Premium beer under contract.

The first 800-litre batch of Yorke Premium’s Malbro Mid was made in September while a second 1600-litre brew, which has gone into a mixture of kegs and stubbies was put down at the start of this year.

The Kolsch style session ale has an ABV of 4 per cent and uses Fuggles and Target hops to provide a subtle bitterness and spice.

The barley was grown in a single paddock at Agery on northern Yorke Peninsula on a share farm worked by AG Schilling & Co and owned by the Adelaide-based Hallo family trading under the name Malbro Pty Ltd.

Schilling says the first batch was mainly given away but Malbro Mid is now starting to be distributed to restaurants and community clubs mainly on Yorke Peninsula.

“We had something like 380 people come and visit us last year and it’s always nice at the end of the exercise to show people what you’re doing,” he says.

“It’s a bit hard to show people that you grow wheat and barley –it’s just wheat and barley – but when you pull out a beer they go ‘how good is that’?

“The Yorke Premium name was chosen so we could bring brand recognition back into play – we’re growing beautiful stuff here but we just never hero it.

“The Barossa Valley has been doing it for 30-odd years, the Coonawarra does it, McLaren Vale does it, so Yorke Premium aims to do the same thing.”

AG Schilling & Co grew 400 tonnes of Banks barley in 2018, which Schilling hopes to have malted at Coopers in Adelaide this year.

“Banks fitted a lot of our criteria, it’s a good variety and we felt it had the right attributes for the craft beer market so we used it.

“We’ve been talking to Coopers and we’re doing some malt trials with them so hopefully Yorke Premium will be able to supply them with barley to get malted and we’ll be able to buy back some of our barley to make beer to sell under our brand name.

“Everyone’s tastebuds are different but what we found with the Malbro Mid is it’s just a good drinkable beer that appeals to most people and the only way we’re going to survive is to have some volume go through.”

Schilling and his wife Merridee have just returned from the United States where they looked at a malting plant. They have also visited more than 30 breweries in South Australia where Schilling says they were disappointed to find the majority using malt sourced from overseas, particularly New Zealand.

Schilling is also a part-owner of private breeding company Grains Innovation Australia, which is developing a number of barley varieties specifically targeted at the craft beer industry.

“We’ve been growing varieties in Australia that are suited to the bulk beer market – not the craft beer market,” he says.

“A different type of malt barley is required and we are now starting to identify those varieties.

“I don’t want to do a brewery because everyone’s doing breweries but I want to help craft breweries take a better product to market.

“The main reason I did the beer was to gain credibility in the marketplace … our whole end game is supplying the breweries with malt.”

“I want the brewer to be able to have access to provenance barley so he knows where it’s coming from – traceability is key to any food in today’s world.”

Schilling is no stranger to value adding on the farm. AG Schilling Co also has its own grain storage, processing facilities, seed cleaning and packing plant and freight arm. It is also an importer of agricultural components and a manufacturer of “Last Supper” mouse bait. He has also partnered with celebrity chef Simon Bryant and Janette Schulz in consumer facing food company Dirty Inc, which features several legume products grown by AG Schilling & Co.

However, he says the beer was one way of engaging with “city folk” to get them interested in agriculture.

“That’s what we don’t do very well – explain what we do in agriculture but we think this is some way of doing it.

“My ultimate goal is to have farm tourism because when you have different products there is actually something for people to come and see now.

“We do all of these things currently but we just don’t showcase it and I think that’s one thing we’re striving towards.”

The recipe for a perfect brewery floor

With beer brewed in Australia accounting for 93 per cent of the nation’s beer consumption, the functionality and hygiene of brewing facilities are key factors to ensure consistent high standards and high turnovers.

The floor underfoot plays a crucial role to ensuring that a brewery can operate effectively, quickly and hygienically – as if the floor fails then the site could be at risk from slips, trips, bacteria build-up and unsightly blemishes.

All brewing, kegging and tourist routes need a floor that can provide protection against the challenging on-site conditions whilst complying with the sanitation regulations and surface characteristics of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Getting the flooring right is basically a matter of chemistry. The ingredients, cleaners, temperatures, impacts and workload inherent to beer production can all take a toll on the floor finish and the material underfoot needs to be made of stern stuff in order to shrug off these conditions.Polyurethane has good resistance to corrosion, organic and inorganic alkalis and solvents, and has a low porosity of 0.5 per cent. Epoxy systems on the other hand have a porosity that is dependent on the sealer used, and offer a limited resistance to the organic acids that are found in a large quantity of beers.

Chemical attack is typically described as the breaking down of a floor’s structure, such that it is no longer able to fulfil its function. It is not only the reduction in functionality of the floor that is a problem, but erosion can also lead to an unsanitary surface, where bacteria can hide and multiply, affecting the cleanliness of the facility.

There are many factors that will affect the chemical resistance profile of a resin flooring system, including its thickness, resin formulation and reactivity of the chemical agent. Certain systems will be able to withstand intermittent exposure to a chemical, but not prolonged exposure, therefore not only the type of chemical but also the amount on-site and the frequency with which it is likely to come into contact with the floor needs to be known.

During the mash process in beer production, long chains of carbohydrates (starch) are transformed into fermentable sugars using enzymes naturally found in the grain. The two most common types of enzymes (alpha-amylase and beta-amylase) are responsible for breaking the large starch molecules into small bits of sugar.

In addition to sugars, such as the fermentable maltose, or unfermentable maltodextrins, hops contain a range of chemical compounds that affect the flavour of the beer, such as the alpha and beta acids. Daily exposure to sugars and acids can lead to corrosion of the floor, especially if they are not cleaned away on a regular basis.

The high cross-linked density of polyurethane means that it can survive intense and sustained contact with the corrosive chemicals and damaging substances most often found in brewing areas. As well as the previously mentioned substances, this can also include:

  • Caustic CIP cleaners such as sodium hydroxide (30-60 per cent) used at a solution of 1-3 per cent strength at up to 85°C
  • Mixed acid detergents like phosphoric (10-30 per cent)/nitric acid (10-30 per cent) blend used as a solution of 0.5 per cent – 1 per cent strength at up to 85°C
  • Hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacetic acid (PAA) mix acid sanitisers
  • Hot water up to 95°C
  • High sugar concentrations
  • Residual beer and yeast at 0°C – 20°C with around pH 3.8 – 4.5

In addition to chemical resistance polyurethanes can be tailored to minimise slip and trip risks, improve cleanability and even actively attack bacteria. A positively textured finish can greatly reduce the chances of slips and trips, making the area safe for both staff and visitors alike. Thanks to the seamless nature of polyurethane, even textured surfaces can be cleaned quickly and easily, with germs and bacteria having no joints to hide in.

The HACCP Internationally certified polyurethane flooring range Flowfresh was developed by Flowcrete to meet the stringent hygiene needs of the food and beverage sector. This has led to Flowfresh becoming popular with Australia’s breweries thanks to the functional, clean and long-lasting surfaces that can be created.

Flowfresh was developed in an exclusive partnership with Polygiene. By incorporating the natural silver ion based Polygiene additive, Flowfresh is able to reduce the bacterial population on the surface of the floor by up to 99.9 per cent, and so, when teamed with a regular cleaning regime can help to keep the facility as sanitary as possible.

Research helps towards creating more stable brewing processes

New findings from University of Adelaide researchers, could help provide more stable brewing processes or new malts for craft brewers.

The researchers discovered a link between one of the key enzymes involved in malt production for brewing and a specific tissue layer within the barley grain.

The most important malting enzymes come from a layer of tissue in the barley grain called the aleurone, a health-promoting tissue full of minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre.

The research showed that the more aleurone present in the barley grain, the more enzyme activity the grain produced.

READ: Aussie blockchain startup BlockGrain to pilot barley-to-beer tracking

Barley is the second most important cereal crop for South Australia and contributes over $2.5 billion to the national economy. This is largely due to its use in beverage production.

University of Adelaide school of agriculture, food and wine associate professor and project leader, Matthew Tucker, said barley grains had impressive features ideal for creating the malt required by the brewing industry.

“During the malting process, complex sugars within the barley grain are broken down by enzymes to produce free sugars, which are then used by yeast for fermentation. The levels of these enzymes, how they function and where they are synthesised within the barley grain are therefore of significant interest for the brewing industry,” he said.

“Until now, it was not known that this key ingredient in the beer brewing process was influenced by the amount of aleurone within the grain, or that the aleurone was potentially a storage site for the enzyme,” said Tucker.

The researchers examined the aleurone in a range of barley cultivars used by growers and breeding programs in Australia and found remarkable variation in the aleurone layer between varieties.

Tucker said breeders and geneticists could make use of this natural variation to select for barley varieties with different amounts of aleurone and different malting characteristics.

“This will be of potential interest to large brewers who depend on stable and predictable production of malt, and also the craft brewers that seek different malts to produce beer with varying characteristics.”

PhD student Matthew Aubert used the variation to examine levels of enzymes involved in malt production.

He discovered that barley grains possessing more aleurone had noticeably more activity in one of the key enzymes that breaks down starch and determines malt quality of barley, an enzyme called free beta-amylase.

Aubert said grains with more aleurone could have an advantage that allowed them to break down complex sugars faster or more thoroughly than grains with less aleurone.

The researchers are now trying to find the genes that explain this natural variation.

Aubert’s research was supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in plant cell walls and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.