Sydney Royal’s Grape, Grain & Graze Festival to ignite wine-lovers’ taste buds

People can keep warm in this winter with the Grape, Grain and Graze wine festival in Sydney.

The festival, formerly known as the Sydney Royal Wine Experience, will showcase hundreds of wines.

But it’s not only for wine lovers. There will be Sydney Royal award-winning beers and ciders as well.

Experts will be on site to explain why these beverages are considered the cream of the crop.

READ: First sweet wine symposium held at Margaret River, Australia

All this with Sydney Royal award–winning food and music to match.

Each of the 2300 wines are judged in the annual KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show just days earlier. Ticketholders can then make their own judgements.

Industry judges will be on hand to answer questions and guide people’s palates around the stunning array of drinks on offer.

Sydney Royal Wine committee chairwoman Sally Evans said nowhere else in Australia would people be given this sort of opportunity to taste a vast array of award-winning wines, beers, ciders and produce.

“This is a once a year experience, offering extraordinary value for money, which brings the public into direct contact with the very best Australia has to offer from the land. These producers take extreme pride in what they create, and for the public to be able to enjoy these offerings on such a grand scale and all in the one location is a real treat,” said Evans.

“Whether you are seeking a fun afternoon out with your girlfriends, your partner or a group of mates, our team at Sydney Royal has every base covered for you,” she said.

The event will be held on the 11th of August at Sydney Olympic Park.


Owning vs renting – which is best?

The past five years have seen an explosion of new and innovative models and products to fund food processing facilities. While once the landscape was dominated by the traditional finance options (major banks), businesses can now access capital through a variety of new options. New funding sources include internet-based, peer-to-peer lending platforms, community ownership models, BOO (build, own, operate), BOOT (build, own, operate, transfer) and crowd-sourced campaigns for funding and equity. Crowd sourcing in particular has been an enabler to the recent explosion of small breweries in Australia. A new brewery is currently opening on average every six days in Australia and rapidly the industry has transformed from one dominated by a few multinational brands to one far more local and innovative.

Beyond these more novel approaches, the past few years have also seen the extension of equipment and process specialist providers “bundling” service solutions on a financed basis. These solutions may be constructed on-site via more traditional lease-type arrangements (such as rentals, lease-back, and rent-to-buy) with managed service agreements also becoming popular (particularly in the deployment of energy, refrigeration, logistics and water treatment).

These agreements tend to be characterised by zero up-front payments, with the value recouped by either regular  payments or through some form of operational driver. Facilities are often offered on an off-balance sheet basis, reflecting the operational nature of the agreement.

The question often asked by Wiley clients is whether they should own their facility, or if it makes more sense to utilise these “off-balance sheet” solutions.

Bundled value solutions can offer financial value, however the growth in these products often blurs the ownership and operational control within processing facilities. When does outright ownership make sense and what do businesses need to consider when entering into an “off-balance sheet” solution?

Wiley has observed that, although there are many potential solutions, ultimately the decision is linked to the strategy of the business, operational requirements, financial objectives and the nature and importance of specific value adding activities within the facility. The main drivers for businesses opting for “off-balance sheet” solutions are:

  • capital efficiency ­– utilising third party capital frees up internal capital for investment in activities that provide a better return and in some cases, provide capital that would otherwise be unavailable;
  • balance sheet metrics – managed service agreements are traditionally performed on an “off-balance” basis, meaning  they do not impact debt covenants and other financing products;
  • leveraging economies of scale and expertise – bundling managed service agreements can provide access to specialty operators and expertise that would be otherwise difficult to maintain internally;
  • obtaining accelerated tax benefits – it can be advantageous to utilise “off-balance sheet” solutions due to the different deductibility available; and
  • focussing the business on “value-adding” activities – a facility often requires the provision of many ancillary services that, although important, are not central to value adding activities. This could include the provision of energy, water, waste processing or logistics services and infrastructure.

Where the main driver is to maintain balance sheet metrics (i.e. to keep agreements “off-balance sheet”), it is important to also understand that Australian Accounting standards are in the process of changing. Currently, operating leases are considered an “off-balance” sheet item the key change is to bring many of those agreements onto the balance sheet. Managed service agreements are an important exception, however it is important that whatever agreement entered into is “future-proofed” for the pending changes. There is no easy solution and no one-size-fits-all-solution.

Each facility and business is unique and it is important that businesses seek advice from a professional to understand the best solution for them. Wiley provides business model consultation services, as well as a number of in-house finance solutions.

Budget sees craft beer tax cut

Craft brewers and distillers will no longer pay additional tax, allowing them to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

May’s Federal Budget saw the Government increase the amount beverage companies can claim back on their excise and extend the concessional draught beer excise rate to smaller kegs, typically used by craft brewers.

The alcohol excise refund scheme cap will increase from $30,000 a year to $100,000, from 1 July 2019 for all brewers and distillers.

This additional tax relief, on top of the Government’s legislated tax cuts for small and medium businesses, will allow craft brewers and distillers to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

Currently, draught beer sold in kegs exceeding 48 litres is taxed at lower rates compared with beer sold in smaller kegs. This is unfair for smaller brewery businesses. Extending the concessional draught beer excise rates to kegs of 8 litres or more will level the playing field for craft brewers, which typically use smaller sized kegs, to distribute their beer to pubs, clubs and restaurants.

There are around 380 craft brewers in Australia located across each State and Territory, employing the equivalent of almost 2,400 people. These brewers are predominantly small businesses and could benefit both from the increase to the excise refund cap and extended access to the concessional draught beer excise rate.

There are also over 100 domestic distillers, supporting around 1,600 jobs that could benefit from the changes.

Philter snags two awards at the AIBAs

Sydney craft beer makers Philter Brewing entered the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBAs) for the first time this year and won two awards in Melbourne, last week. The night started with a bang for the young team when Philter XPA, the brand’s crowd-pleasing first release to market, won Best Australian Pale Ale. Head Brewer Samara Füss and Team Philter expressed their delight at winning the Australian Gypsy Brewer Award.

Füss is no stranger to winning awards, having collected national and international trophies during her many years in the industry, but according to her, these two mean a lot. “The XPA was our baby from the start and I am really proud of it so I’m stoked with the recognition it’s getting, especially on the back of winning the Champion Pale Ale at last year’s CBIAs.”

As for winning the Australian Gypsy Brewer Award,Füss said, “It’s huge! Such a big thing to be recognised like that. I am thrilled. I can’t remember what I said during my speech but I meant every word.”

“These awards are a massive testament to our team. There aren’t many of us, but we’re so dedicated to this little company. We just want to share the love by getting the XPA and the rest of our beers out to as many people as possible,” said co-founder and sales and marketing director Stefan Constantoulas.

Philter Brewing sets itself apart with what it describes as its “late 1980’s Australiana aesthetic and distinctive” can design. As her first beer for the brand,Füss crafted the XPA as a naturally cloudy ale with tropical fruit aromas and a refreshing hop flavour. It’s an easy-drinking hit on tap and in tins. The Philter line-up also includes the Red Session Ale, Lager and the latest limited-release Caribbean Stout.

Budget to see craft beer tax cut

Craft brewers and distillers will no longer pay additional tax, allowing them to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

Treasure Scott Morrison said in a statement that the Turnbull Government will increase the amount beverage companies can claim back on their excise and extend the concessional draught beer excise rate to smaller kegs, typically used by craft brewers.

The alcohol excise refund scheme cap will increase from $30,000 a year to $100,000, from 1 July 2019 for all brewers and distillers.

This additional tax relief, on top of the Government’s legislated tax cuts for small and medium businesses, will allow craft brewers and distillers to compete on fairer terms with large beverage companies.

Currently, draught beer sold in kegs exceeding 48 litres is taxed at lower rates compared with beer sold in smaller kegs. This is unfair for smaller brewery businesses. Extending the concessional draught beer excise rates to kegs of 8 litres or more will level the playing field for craft brewers, which typically use smaller sized kegs, to distribute their beer to pubs, clubs and restaurants.

There are around 380 craft brewers in Australia located across each State and Territory, employing the equivalent of almost 2,400 people. These brewers are predominantly small businesses and could benefit both from the increase to the excise refund cap and extended access to the concessional draught beer excise rate.

There are also over 100 domestic distillers, supporting around 1,600 jobs that could benefit from the changes.

Tribal Breweries growing with Thai joint venture and local craft beer acquitsion

Tribe Breweries has announced a marked growth in its branded portfolio. Expanding into the international craft beer market, a joint venture has been established with local Thai partners BB&B, to create a new beer brand – Chao Siam, whilst locally, the company has acquired leading gluten free craft beer brand Wilde Gluten Free.

Through Tribe’s partnership with BB&B, the company has created a nationally distributed Thai beer with a range that has been specifically developed for the local Thai market, including a Wit Bier and an IPA. BB&B are one of the oldest and largest Thai premium alcohol importers and distributors.  Tribe has been able to tap into their market expertise and vast distribution channels.

Stefan Szpitalak, Head of International Markets and Co-Founder of Tribe Breweries says, “Working with local artisans to create great brews that speak directly to their audience is what Tribe is all about. Branching out of the Australian market with new brands and sharing our craft beer journey throughout South East Asia is an exciting milestone for us.”

Of the creation of Chao Siam, Tribe and BB&B engaged with local Thai University students to help create the brand, making Chao Siam a truly unique Thai-Australian collaboration.

Pongchalem of BB&B says, “Chao Siam means ‘Thai People’, and with so many foreign brands in our market place, we are so proud to work on a project that has been created for and with our people.”

Thai drinkers in many ways are just beginning their craft beer journey, and Tribe’s partnership will enable them to shape the Thai craft beer market.

Stefan continues, “I grew up in Thailand and then went on to spread my time equally there and in Australia. I spent years exploring the vast culture, even becoming a monk as a rite of passage. My personal connection to Thailand is very meaningful to me and our company. Seeing this project come to fruition has been a dream of mine ever since we launched Tribe Breweries.”

With the founders of Tribe Breweries having a deep history and personal association with Asia, the team are looking to increase their footprint in key Asian markets and help forge craft beer penetration in the region. Tribe are already achieving their international expansion plans, with a strong export presence that has grown 500% in 1 year. They currently export to Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and South Korea, with Vietnam and half a dozen additional markets to be online by the end of CY18.

Expanding their branded portfolio and building upon their current success, Tribe Breweries has also announced their acquisition of nationally distributed Wilde Gluten Free. Over 5 years ago, founders of Wilde, Chris and Narelle Gordon, developed a gluten free recipe with Tribe’s team. Since then, Tribe has helped them grow exponentially to become one of the top gluten free beers in Australia.

Tribe has acquired Wilde to elevate the brand’s positioning and presence in the market. They will continue to make Wilde at the Smeaton Grange facility and hope to grow the distribution of the brand both nationally, through their strong relationships with independents and other retailers, and internationally through its channels and export track to the Asian market.


Creso to launch global beer and tonic products

Creso Pharma has announced that CLV Frontier Brands, its equal one-third joint venture with UK-based Baltic Beer Company Ltd and Canadian TSX Venture incorporated LGC Capital, is planning to have its first beers and tonics on sale in Europe and Canada during the summer, with global sales to follow thereafter.

CLV is developing a bespoke and unique range of beers and tonics at its newly-built facilities in Europe, with test brewing well advanced.

Creso is also pleased to announce that the TSX Venture Exchange has conditionally accepted LGC’s joint venture investment in CLV, subject to LGC filing standard documentation with the Exchange.

“We see CLV as an exciting business partnership that we believe can add significant sales revenues to Creso Pharma over the coming years. Full details of the beer and tonic ranges will be released when CLV debuts its products and branding at a world-wide product launch. Europe will be the initial focus for sales, as Europe is the home market for the Baltic Beer Company’s multi award winning Viru beer. The company also plans to launch in Canada this summer,” said Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli, Co-Founder and CEO of Creso Pharma.

CLV’s beers contain terpenes, which carry the flavour and aroma of cannabis, but which do not contain THC or CBD or any other cannabinoids. The terpenes are extracted from various plant sources, all of which are food-grade, 100% natural and non-genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. The terpenes are pure, not contaminated with any other ingredient, and safe for human consumption as flavouring and food additive ingredients, meeting the criteria of FDA/FEMA GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for human consumption. The terpenes are introduced to the beer at the post-fermentation stage in much the same manner as hop extracts are added.

CLV will have vast commercialisation reach spanning various continents leveraging the networks of all three companies.

Wine most popular, but beer most drunk by Australians

The Roy Morgan Alcohol Currency Report has found that 69.3 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over drink alcohol in an average four-week period.

According to the report, of all Australians 18+ years old, 44.5 per cent consume wine, 39.1 per cent consume beer, 27.5 per cent consume spirits, and 13.6 per cent consume cider.

When looking at drinkers by gender, men are the predominant consumers of alcohol, with 74 per cent consuming alcohol in an average four- week period, compared to 65 per cent of women.

Women had the highest incidence of wine consumption, with nearly 50 per cent of all women drinking wine in an average 4 weeks compared to 39 per cent of men. Wine skews to older drinkers, with the highest incidence among 50+ and 35-49 year olds.

In contrast, beer is consumed by 59 per cent of men in an average 4 weeks, compared to only 20 per cent of women. Beer is fairly constant across age, increasing slightly from 18-49, but declines for the 50+ age group.

Cider is fairly evenly split between the genders with a slight skew towards women, but it is heavily skewed to younger Australians compared to old, with 27 per cent of 18-24 year olds consuming cider in an average four weeks compared to 7.8 per cent of 50+.

Alcohol Consumption Incidence – % and estimated number of Australians who have consumed each type of alcohol in an average 4 week period.

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Alcohol Consumption Incidence –  per cent and estimated number of Australians who have consumed each type of alcohol in an average 4 week period.

Beer maintains largest share of throat

In Australia, 128.8 million glasses of alcohol were consumed by 11.6 million drinkers in an average seven-day period in 2017.

Beer has the highest Share of Throat across Australia, accounting for 44 per cent of all alcohol volume consumed by drinkers, compared to wine at 32 per cent. And while cider has experienced an increase in popularity over the last decade, it still represents only 3.3 per cent of all alcoholic volume.

“While wine is the most popular choice of alcoholic drink among Australians, it’s interesting to note the largest volume of alcohol is beer, representing 44 per cent of all alcohol in a 12 month period. There has been a decline in alcohol consumption among men, who in the last five years have gone from 76.5 per cent consuming alcohol to 73.9 per cent in an average four week period,” said Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan.

“This is contrasted by the rise of women consuming alcohol, which has increased from 64.1 per cent to 64.8 per cent. Young people have also declined in alcohol consumption, with 18-24 year olds decreasing from 71.8 per cent alcohol consumption to 68.1 per cent in an average four weeks. This is compared to 50+, who have increased from 69.4 per cent to 70.2 per cent.”

Alcohol Share of Throat

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Craft brewer Brewpack rebrands, plans $35m facility

Brewpack and Stockade Brew are restructuring under the newly formed Tribe Breweries umbrella and will expand into a new facility in Goulburn.

The $35 million project will see Tribe increase production capacity to over 30 million litres p.a. (approximately 3.5m cartons annual production) with eventual potential for over 70 million litres p.a. (approximately 9m cartons annual capacity). The new state-of-the-art craft beverage production facility is slated to be the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in Australia, and will be completed in September of 2018. The facility will boast best in class brewing and packaging technology in cans, bottles and kegs.

While Stockade will continue to operate under its own brand and label, the Brewpack business will now be rolled under the Tribe Corporate umbrella.

Founded in 2012, Brewpack focused heavily on innovative and high-quality craft brewing of its own proprietary brands, as well as sharing its platform with contract brewing partners to further grow the craft industry.

Under the new umbrella, Tribe will also continue to grow its portfolio of craft products through its newly expanded production into premium cider, RTD’s and boutique non-alcoholic beverages as well as enhancing the breadth of offering through its Marrickville barrel room, launching in late April. This site will become the face and destination for Stockade customers to enjoy the distinctive range of craft beers, as well as experience tours and tastings. This site will focus on next generation beer styles, such as oak aged beers and fermented sours, making them the largest brewer of these beer styles in Australia.

Since its launch over five years ago, Tribe’s current manufacturing facility at Smeaton Grange has grown to well over 1 million cartons of production annually, undergone constant upgrades and modernisation programs and offers superior quality, flexibility and innovation. Furthermore, over the last three years the business has grown its production volumes on average by over 50 per cent a year.

Glass bottle redesigned with confidence using clear SLA 3D printing

Orora earns client buy-in on new beer bottle design using colour-matched 3D printed appearance models with identical heft and hue of glass.

Packaging redesigns are a serious undertaking. On the marketing side, changes are visual and emotional; on the manufacturing side, changes cost money. Before making the investment to overhaul its glass bottle tooling systems, the maker of Australia’s James Boag’s Premium Lager needed to know an update to its bottle would not be change for change’s sake. It needed to be sure the new bottle would look good and be well received by customers. Ideally, this confidence would come before spending major time and capital on the project.

As the supplier of Boag’s bottles, Orora had skin in the game to validate the design quickly and accurately. Orora’s Innovation & Design team put wheels into motion by contacting 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing, a long-time partner, to develop a state-of-the-art 3D printed prototype. Keeping Boag’s existing supply chain processes top of mind, a new-look bottle was designed to comply with the manufacturing infrastructure already in place to help avoid expensive and time-consuming changes.

3D printing a lookalike for glass

To get Boag’s buy-in on the new design, a credible appearance model was needed for evaluation. To be convincing, the 3D printed models needed to have the same clarity and hue as glass as well as the same in-hand heft. 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing experts accounted for weight disparities by adjusting the interior wall thickness of the design file based on the density of the selected stereolithography (SLA) resin, and then got to work on color-matching to achieve the iconic green of the classic Boag bottle.

Using 3D Systems’ leading SLA 3D printing technology and VisiJet® SL Clear resin, 3D Systems’ On Demand Manufacturing experts printed four SLA prototypes. “Successful lab testing of 3D Systems’ clear materials verify they are the best solution for transparent 3D prints,” said Dr. Don Titterington, Vice President of Materials R&D, 3D Systems. “Used in a variety of demanding applications, clear materials deliver high-performing, cost-effective choices for functional, transparent prototypes.”

Once printed, the bottles were put through an in-house finishing protocol to bring them to final product quality. This included wet and dry sanding, applying a surface tint, and a final clear coat to deliver a glass-like sheen. With just a few simple steps, clear SLA prints can be transformed with incredible results. According to 3D Systems’ Tracy Beard, general manager for On Demand Manufacturing’s facility in Lawrenceburg, TN, thousands of clear parts are produced each week in the Lawrenceburg facility alone. “The materials are versatile enough to be quickly finished and tinted for perfect prototypes,” Beard says.

Fast feedback for fast progress

The appearance models were ready within a week, allowing Orora and Boag to quickly transition the new design to customer trials and gauge the public’s reaction. They filled the 3D printed bottles with liquid, outfitted them with a label and cap, and put them in a shop for monitoring. Feedback from these in-store trials indicated that the new design was a hit, clearing the new design for production.

“The new James Boag’s Lager bottle has set a standard within Orora for the way packaging design and 3D prototyping can come together seamlessly with short notice,” said Orora’s Innovation & Design team. “It’s the sort of technology innovation that’s giving us a critical edge when it comes to developing best-practice bottling design and manufacturing solutions for our customers.”

Goose Island set for live beer auction

Goose Island will put its last dozen bottles of Bourbon County Stout in Australia under the hammer in a world first Facebook Live beer auction.

Broadcast live from Melbourne’s Beermash on Wednesday 21st March, craft beer lovers across the country, aged over eighteen, are invited to bid on the widely popular and legendary stout in real time, through Goose Island’s Facebook page. All proceeds raised on the night will go to the Pink Boots Society, an organisation empowering women in the beer industry.

With 20 years of rich history, starting from the brewery sourcing Bourbon barrels from Kentucky to age their stout beer in, the experiment has affirmed Goose Island’s reputation as innovators in the craft category.

“Our Bourbon County Brand Stout, first brewed in 1992, is the original and class defining barrel aged Russian imperial stout. Today, while it now seems every craft brewery has adopted a barrel program, the legendary status of the Bourbon County Stout ensures its enduring appeal and place within the beer world,” said Mick O’Rance, Brew Master Goose Island Australia.

The sought after bourbon barrel aged beer coveted in the US, and known to make Americans line the ice cold streets in the snow to get their hands on a bottle, will be auctioned off one by one with the exclusive bottles each having their own one minute auction.

Hosted by Ale of a Time’s, Luke Robertson and Goose Island’s Tiffany Waldron, the night will not only consist of the twelve auctions, but will also feature commentary on the legendary craft beer. Users will also be able to submit questions online for the host’s responses intermittently between auctions.

WA tourism push needs more beer

The Western Australian Government’s goal to raise the value of tourism to $12 billion by 2020 could be boosted by more attention to ales, pilsners and lagers, Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers suggest.

Tourism WA’s Taste 2020 quite rightly focuses on the South West region’s premium food and wines as a way to increase the 400,000 ‘gourmet travellers’ who currently grace our state annually.

However, the recent boom in craft breweries indicates wine’s less revered younger brother has earned a seat at the table.

“Judging from the awards brewers in WA are getting, it’s fair to say they’re producing really good beers,” said Nevil Alexander from ECU’s School of Business and Law.

“Craft breweries work very well with wineries and food, as they fit the ‘premium’ reputation of the region, particularly the Margaret River brand.

“However, they need recognition and support to thrive.”

Currently there are approximately 66 craft breweries in WA, with the highest concentrations in Perth and the Swan Valley and between Dunsborough and Margaret River.

Since 2006, craft breweries in Australia have risen from 30 to 528; and an average of 68 new establishments per year have opened since 2014, with a closure rate of only 4 per cent.

 Researching the way forward

In a recent publication from ongoing research, Mr Alexander and Dr Abel Duarte Alonso canvassed 57 craft brewery operators and 219 hobby craft brewers to identify challenges and opportunities related to tourism engagement.

In terms of barriers, commercial brewers pointed to the long distance between breweries, unfair competition from larger breweries and a lack of critical mass.

Hobbyists were most concerned with costs, particularly excise tax on craft beer, but also noted distance.

“Both groups indicated that the craft brew experience would work best in combination with other activities, whether that is gourmet food, wineries or things like festivals and sporting events,” Mr Alexander said.

“This would help overcome concerns about the distance between breweries and provide those taking tours with a more enhanced experience.”

Hobbyists also had a keen desire for behind-the-scene activities such as hop farm tours or opportunities to observe the malting process.

“There is clearly a desire for craft brewery experiences – the whole industry is evolving, and we need to recognise beer as a tourism asset,” Mr Alexander said.

Mr Alexander is also chief steward of the Perth Royal Beer Show.

‘Craft Beer Tourism Development “Down Under”: Perspectives of Two Stakeholder Groups’ was published in Tourism Planning & Development.

A beer lover’s guide to the High Country Hops Festival

Providing a great opportunity to check out all the brewers of the region within the one venue, the High Country Hops Festival is coming to Beechworth, Victoria on March 24-25.

Held at Bridge Road Brewery, this year the festival will be launching a range of unique products that are a must for any craft beer lover to try. To get the most out of the day, below are some of the highlights at The High Country Hops Festival that are sure to entice and surprise those familiar with the craft beer market in Victoria.

The Harvest by Bridge Road Brewers

Bridge Road Brewers will be bringing their wet hop beer ‘The Harvest’ to the festival this year. Harnessing the fact that wet hops bypass the usual drying and pelletizing processes, expect The Harvest to have a fuller flavour than a normal craft beer, with added citrus aromas for that summer touch.

Hop Trial Bar

Love to try something new? Then make sure to head to the Hop Trial Bar to taste four unique beers made exclusively for the festival. Each of the beers are made using the same recipe, and are identical except for the hop variety used. Guests have the chance to vote on their favourite hop variety and provide their own flavour descriptors and thoughts about each one.

Dry Hopped Gin

Dry hopped gin, a creative collaboration between Bridge Road Brewery and Reed & Co Distillery. Named ‘Lupugin,’ the product is juniper driven with a double serve of galaxy hops, dessert lime & Mt pepper distilled with Australian grain spirit. Expect to taste those hop notes familiar to the beer-know-it-all.

Who’s Ros & Trevor North East Ale

Though not quite ready for this year’s festival, Blizzard Brewing Co will be launching their new hop beer made exclusively with freshly harvested wet galaxy hops from the Rostrevor Hop Gardens in Ovens. The local provenance of these ingredients highlights the freshness of the hops and make it one of the company’s fastest selling brews.

King River Brewing Chinook Smash IPA

In celebration of the annual hop harvest, King River Brewing has collaborated with their local artisan hop farmer to release a very special wet hopped Chinook Smash IPA (Single Malt, Single Hop). This beer can only be made at this time of year, with the hops being picked in the morning of the brew day and used only an hour later.

$10.3m upgrade for iconic Cascade Brewery

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is making a $10.3 million capital investment to significantly increase Cascade’s brewing capability and launch Cascade as one of Australia’s leading craft breweries. The brewing upgrade will result in a 65 per cent increase in production at Cascade.

According to the company, the upgrade is intended to secure its future and realiseits for Cascade and Tasmania to become a craft brewing hub for the Asia Pacific region.

Cascade will expand its craft brewing options, including brewing experimental beers for our Australian and Asia Pacific region operations. It will also brew a number of beers from some of the world’s leading craft brands.

The beers brewed at Cascade will be distributed to all Australian states, with some exported to the Asia Pacific region. This is good news for Tasmania’s local economy and jobs.

The expansion will secure Cascade’s existing jobs, while also creating jobs in the construction phase and five new ongoing full-time jobs.

“We are thrilled that Cascade will become CUB’s craft brewing hub for the Asia Pacific region. It is testimony to our long-term confidence in Cascade, Hobart and Tasmania”, said Jan Craps, CEO of CUB.

CUB selected Cascade to lead our growth in craft beer for a number of reasons. “We love Tasmania’s vibrancy and confidence and its world renowned reputation for clean food and drink. We’re also backing our team of experienced brewers at Cascade to take us to the next level. We’re going to build on a heritage that commenced when Cascade first brewed for Tasmanians in 1832,”  Craps said.

Image: Will Hodgman, Premier of Tasmania at Cascade Brewery.

Brewers Association of New Zealand appoints new boss

The Brewers Association of New Zealand has appointed of Dylan Firth as its Executive Director, based in Wellington.

Rory Glass, Managing Director of Lion and Chairman of the Brewers Association, says Firth’s skills, strong networks and advocacy experience will deliver considerable value for the New Zealand brewing industry.

“We are delighted to welcome Dylan to the role. He is passionate about the brewing industry and brings significant experience and understanding of the beverage sector,” Glass says.

Firth says he is excited about the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the industry.

“The brewing industry has changed rapidly in the past decade. I’m committed to providing the Brewers Association members and wider industry with strategic support to help it grow and develop into the future,” Firth says.

Firth joins the Brewers Association after four years with Hospitality New Zealand, most recently as Advocacy and Policy Manager.

The Brewers Association of New Zealand was established in October 2017 as a stand-alone entity, having separated from the Australian Brewers Association. Glass said that the change reflects the unique characteristics of the New Zealand operating and regulatory environments.

Coopers Brewery continues strong growth

Coopers Brewery chalked up its 24th consecutive year of growth in beer volumes in 2016-17, with sales rising 2.9 per cent to a record 83.8 million litres.

In releasing the company’s annual results, Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper said Coopers now held almost 5 per cent market share in the national beer market where industry figures showed a decline in sales volume of 1.9 per cent during 2016-17.

“This marks 24 consecutive years of growth in beer volumes for a compound annual growth rate of 8.9 per cent,” he said.

“Turnover for 2016-17 rose to $252.4 million compared with $245.9 million from the previous year.

“Profit before tax of $33.4 million was down 3.5 per cent from $34.6 million in 2015-16, a result impacted by the final write-down of the goodwill and brand names of Mr Beer (USA), overhead costs associated with the construction of the new maltings plant and redundancy costs arising from a restructure as we reallocate resources to our growing interstate markets.”

Fully franked dividends totalling $12.50 a share were paid, steady from the previous year.

Dr Cooper said the new $65 million maltings plant, which will be officially opened at Regency Park on November 30, will immediately start to contribute to earnings, with a view to achieving full utilisation of the facility over the next two financial years.

“The maltings will be able to produce about 54,000 tonnes of malt a year, of which Coopers will use a little over 17,000 tonnes,” he said.

“The rest will be available for sale and Coopers already has signed contracts with customers in Australia and Asia.”

Dr Cooper said sales growth during the year had been built on improved packaged beer sales.

New South Wales led this growth with sales up 6.9 per cent, Queensland up 5.5 per cent, Victoria up 3.5 per cent and Western Australia up 1.8 per cent. Sales in South Australia fell slightly.

“NSW is our strongest market, representing 27 per cent of total sales, compared with 22.9 per cent for our home state of South Australia, 18.7 per cent for Victoria and 16.2 per cent for Queensland,” he said.


Tooheys New goes retro with classic beer can

Tooheys New has brought back its iconic 30-pack of classic cans for a limited time only.

Tooheys New has long been the chosen beer with mates and has shared some damn beautiful moments over the years with you all, from the footy sheds to fishing trips, buck nights to baby showers, and everything that’s good in between.

Tom Bills at Tooheys said the cans will only be available for a limited time and explains the idea behind the classic edition design.

“We reckon they’re a big old ‘cheers’ and a nod to the values of our drinkers back in the day, you know the kind – mateship, honesty and loyalty – cracking values that continue to remain important to Aussies today,” said Bills.

Available at all good beer retailers in NSW, these limited edition cans are sure to sell themselves and won’t be around for long.

Sunshine Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival to showcase regional brewers

The inaugural Sunshine Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival will debut on the 25th November at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, showcasing over 160 beers and ciders from  Australia and New Zealand.

The Sunshine Coast festival joins the likes of established regional beer festivals such as The Great Australia Beer Festival (Geelong & Albury) and Bitter & Twisted (Maitland) and will focus on celebrating independent beers from across Australia, with 26 passionate regional brewers – including nine local Sunshine Coast brewers – showcasing their beers and cider.

In recent years, the Sunshine Coast has developed a strong network of quality craft beer producers, with brewers such as Moffat Beach Brewery and Brouhaha winning national acclaim for their frothies.

Festival Director, Tanya Taber, said that the Sunshine Coast’s ‘naturally refreshing’ image and renowned agricultural produce were inspirations for staging the first craft beer and cider festival on the Sunshine Coast.

“Our local crafters in the Sunshine Coast are already attracting national attention, and we’re extremely excited to include them with other outstanding independent brewers from all over Australia,” said Mrs Taber.

“It makes it the perfect time to introduce a Craft Beer and Cider Festival to the region. We have had phenomenal interest from brewers to participate and I’m sure that both Sunshine Coast locals and those visiting the region for the event will be pleased to taste such a rich variety of quality brews on the day.”

The Festival will be a relaxed, family friendly event including live music all day, competitions, food pairing demonstrations, meet the brewer sessions, a roving circus, sideshow alley and plenty of activities to keep the children entertained.

Session Ale joins Coopers Beer Family

Coopers Session Ale is a refreshing summer style beer with tropical fruit notes and an aromatic hop character  from the Galaxy and Melba hop varieties used in this brew. It will be available in keg to the on-premise (hotel) trade around Australia from October 9.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said Session Ale had been developed to meet the growing demand for fruity, easy-drinking summer style beers and filled a niche in Coopers’ unique range of ales.

“Session Ale is brewed using Coopers’ traditional secondary fermentation process that eliminates the need for additives or preservatives,” he said.

“Being secondary fermented, the beer will also have the slightly cloudy appearance of our unique traditional ales.

“Our brewers have used pale and wheat malt and a combination of Galaxy and Melba hops along with a “secret ingredient” to brew Session Ale.

“The hops have been added late in the brewing process for bitterness and then dry hopped to extract flavour and aroma. This gives a moderate level of after-palate dry-hopped bitterness to balance the estery flavours produced by the famous Coopers Ale yeast.”

The beer has a golden straw colour and an alcohol level of 4.2 per cent.

The release of Session Ale follows earlier limited releases of Family Secrets Amber Ale and Brew A IPA to the on-premise market.

Mr Pearce said while Amber Ale and IPA had been released under the Thomas Cooper’s Selection label, Session Ale has been released under its own distinctive rondel (ale label) making it an obvious and distinct member of the family, alongside Sparkling Ale, Pale Ale, Stout, Dark Ale and Mild Ale.

“We believe Session Ale has the potential to become very popular among consumers looking for a premium quality, refreshing, summer-style beer,” he said.

 He said Session Ale’s distinctive blue Coopers rondel would be readily spotted in hotels stocking the beer.

Drinkers want to know who makes their beer – study

An Australian study of 17,000 craft beer drinkers has revealed that ownership matters when it comes to beer selection, with a strong preference for independently owned breweries.

Created by craft beer retailer Beer Cartel, the 2017 Australian Craft Beer Survey is the most comprehensive, publicly available, study ever undertaken with Australian craft beer drinkers.

According to the research, 64 per cent of respondents said they want to know who owns the beer they’re drinking and 99 per cent said they are happy to buy craft beer from an independent Australian owned brewery. In contrast, just 23 percent of respondents said they are happy to buy craft beer from a large multi-national company.

In addition, 82 per cent of respondents indicated that an independent brewers seal would have a medium to large impact on the craft beer they purchase.

Respondents voted Pirate Life Australia’s best craft brewery, ahead of Feral Brewing which took out the top position in last year’s study.

Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel said the findings were a reflection of the attitudes of those who purchase craft beer.

“Craft beer is an artisanal product that is produced by skilled workers using the best ingredients possible. There is a story behind the beers and the brewery that makes them. Independent ownership is a part of this story that drinkers buy into,” said Kelsey.

“We’re seeing consumer backlash when small breweries sell out to a large corporations worldwide. An Australian example was the displeasure voiced when Perth’s Little Creatures was bought by Lion in 2012. As a result these findings are not altogether surprising, but the difference in willingness to buy craft beer from an independent brewery compared to a large corporation is.”

Chris McNamara, Executive Officer at the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) of Australia said that the study was a great way to better understand consumer perceptions towards the Australian craft beer industry, particularly around the topic of ownership.

“Earlier in the year we made a change in our constitution to only allow breweries that were independently owned. This change was made to support our member base and the objectives of the association, but it is also refreshing to see that consumers share the same viewpoint”, said McNamara.