Beer maker Stone & Wood may expand further

Byron Bay beer company Stone & Wood has been reported to be looking to further expand its largest brewery as sales jump by 60 per cent to more than $30 million as a response to rivals’ “corporate comb overs” – attempts by large global breweries to spur growth in the premium and craft beer segments by launching their own boutique brands or buying up smaller brewers to try to compensate in a small way for the declining growth in their core mainstream beer sales.

According to the Australian Financing Review, Stone & Wood has already invested $12 million on a second brewery at Murwillumbah which opened in 2014, but founder Jamie Cook described its production as reaching its “limit”.

This would point to Stone & Wood giving the green light on a further expansion as preparation to meet summer peak season demands and at the same time eye a bigger share of Australia’s $14 billion beer market.

“We’re looking at expansion in the next 12 months,” Cook told AFR.

Cook is adamant on maintaining Stone & Wood as a mainstream brewer and doesn’t classify itself as a “craft brewer”, of which there are 350 operators in Australia who have started out small, and niche.

“We’ve always had the strategy that we’re building a regional beer business,” he said.


Backburner IPA from the Lord Nelson Brewery

The Lord Nelson Brewery has released Backburner IPA, an experimental seasonal ale as it celebrate its 30th year of brewing and the 175th birthday of the pub whose name it bears.

Whilst history and tradition are very important to the brewer, convention is rare. It is in this spirit that it has entered the arena of current trend with its first can release. Then to really cement this modernity, The Lord Nelson has filled it with Australia’s current favourite craft style – an IPA.

This ‘out there’ style innovates while sticking to the brewer’s principles of no added sugar or preservatives. Using bold malts and intense hop flavours, they have injected the IPA with some real spice, using Belgian Wit yeast to ensure its sessionability and coriander and curacao orange to add to its depth of flavour.

Copper in colour with subtle fruit hop aromatics, subtle phenolic wit yeast characters and bitterness, Backburner IPA has fresh curacao orange peel and coriander added at the final turn for depth, intensity and flavour.


New packaging for Coopers Lagers

Coopers Brewery is repackaging and relaunching Coopers Premium Lager and Coopers Premium Light.

The two lagers, along with Coopers Original Pale Ale, will be the main beers sold at the Australian Open following Coopers’ success in winning the pourage rights for the tennis earlier this year.

Coopers Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said Coopers Premium Lager and Premium Light would be repackaged in 355 ml green glass bottles with clean, contemporary labels, cartons and cluster packs.

The new packaging is expected to be on shelves through most Australian liquor outlets this month.

“The green bottles and clean packaging underline the premium quality of Coopers Premium Lager and Coopers Premium Light and give the beers a distinctive contemporary look that stands out in the market,” Mr Pearce said.

“The new packaging will also differentiate the Coopers’ family of lagers from Coopers’ traditional ales, which retain the current brown glass bottles with roundel labels.”

It follows the revamp of Coopers Clear low carb dry beer last year which was relaunched in new blue and silver packaging, emphasising the beer’s freshness, sessionability and low carb credentials.

Mr Pearce said Coopers had been considering changing the packaging for its Premium Lager and Light beers before it won the pourage rights for the Australian Open.

“Winning the rights for the Australian Open helped accelerate this process,” he said.

“The Australian Open and its related tournaments provide us with a great opportunity to showcase our lagers which we believe will find strong acceptance among spectators and visitors from Australia and overseas.”

Coopers Premium Lager and Coopers Premium Light are both all malt beers. Premium Lager has an alcohol level of 4.8% while Premium Light is at 2.9%.

Coopers launches Legends Summer Lager

Coopers Brewery is launching a limited edition beer in a special commemorative can to celebrate it becoming Tennis Australia’s official beer partner for the Australian Open and the Emirates Series in Sydney, Hobart and Adelaide.

The new Legends Summer Lager is an easy drinking, full malt lager with a pale golden straw colour and a refreshing, clean crisp flavour combining freshly cut lime with citrus notes derived from the use of Hallertau Tradition hops. It has 4.2% alcohol by volume.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said the beer had been packaged in sleek 355 ml Euroslim cans with each can featuring one of 12 anecdotal stories and facts about the Australian Open.

“Legends Summer Lager is a great refresher and ideal to drink while watching tennis across summer,” he said.

“The commemorative cans will provide facts about the Australian Open, delivered in the traditional Coopers manner.

“We are incredibly proud and excited to be partnering with Tennis Australia and the launch of the special Legends Summer Lager is a great way to celebrate the partnership which brings an Australian owned brewer together with an iconic Australian sporting event.”

Legends Summer Lager is being sold exclusively by Endeavour Drinks Group, Dan Murphy and BWS stores across Australia until stocks run out.

BrewArt personal beer brewing system

BrewArt, the world’s first fully-automated personal brewing system, comprises two sophisticated machines – the BeerDroid and the BrewFlo.

The BeerDroid brews 10 litres of quality beer and allows budding ‘BrewArtists’ to experiment and create any beer style imaginable. Available in chrome and black, it comes with WiFi connectivity, requires minimal preparation and is easy cleaning.

Beer progress can be monitored and controlled from the Smartphone app (available on iOS and Android), and the user will receive push notifications of brewing milestones. Patented end of fermentation technology with full temperature control throughout the brewing process ensures a professional result every time.

BrewFlo is a temperature-controlled beer dispenser that pours a fully carbonated beer with a rich frothy head without the use of CO2. It is designed for use with BrewArt 5 litre kegs.

The chrome finished beer tap and interchangeable tap top labels provide a pub-quality finish.

A range of Brew Prints (quality natural ingredients) inspired by some of the world’s greatest beers, will complete the BrewArt experience.

Each BrewPrint includes an exact mix of Elements, Enhancers, Hops and Yeast, allowing the brewer to craft their own unique beer in the comfort of their home.

DIY beer kit from Coopers

Coopers Brewery has released a new DIY Brewing extract ahead of Christmas, reviving the beer maker’s earliest successful push into lagers.

Golden Crown Lager has been released as part of the Thomas Cooper’s Selection range of extracts and celebrates Gold Crown Lager, the first lager made by Coopers in 1968.

Gold Crown was a delicate, less sweet beer of the Dortmunder style and created a whole new market for Coopers when it was introduced.

Developed by Maxwell Cooper, Gold Crown achieved strong success. Eventually superseded by other Coopers’ lager brands in 1982, the beer remains an important milestone in Coopers’ brewing history.

Coopers Marketing Manager, Brewing Products, Mr Scott Harris, said the new Golden Crown Lager extract makes a classic lager with deep golden hues and a firm malty body.

“It’s refreshingly bitter with a lingering fruity aroma, crowned by a tight compact head,” he said.

“It’s recommended to be brewed with Coopers Light Dry Malt and Coopers carbonation drops.”

Coopers has a total of 20 DIY Brewing Extracts as well as a range of brewing accessories to assist DIY beer makers.

Beer makers use wastewater to help make energy storage cells

Engineers from the University of Colorado – Boulder have developed a bio-manufacturing process that uses a biological organism cultivated in brewery wastewater to create the carbon-based materials needed to make energy storage cells.

The pairing of breweries and batteries could set up a win-win opportunity by reducing expensive wastewater treatment costs for beer makers while providing manufacturers with a more cost-effective means of creating renewable, naturally-derived fuel cell technologies.

“Breweries use about seven barrels of water for every barrel of beer produced,” said Tyler Huggins, a graduate student in CU Boulder’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and lead author of the study.

“They can’t just dump it into the sewer because it requires extra filtration.”

The process of converting biological materials, or biomass, such as timber into carbon-based battery electrodes is currently used in some energy industry sectors. However, naturally-occurring biomass is inherently limited by its short supply, impact during extraction and intrinsic chemical makeup, rendering it expensive and difficult to optimise.

However, the CU Boulder researchers utilised the unsurpassed efficiency of biological systems to produce sophisticated structures and unique chemistries by cultivating a fast-growing fungus,Neurospora crassa, in the sugar-rich wastewater produced by a similarly fast-growing Colorado industry: breweries.

“The wastewater is ideal for our fungus to flourish in, so we are happy to take it,” said Huggins.

By cultivating their feedstock in wastewater, the researchers were able to better dictate the fungus’s chemical and physical processes from the start. They thereby created an efficient naturally-derived lithium-ion battery electrode while cleaning the wastewater in the process.

If the process were applied on a large scale, breweries could potentially reduce their municipal wastewater costs significantly while manufacturers would gain access to a cost-effective incubating medium for advanced battery technology components.

“The novelty of our process is changing the manufacturing process from top-down to bottom-up,” said Zhiyong Jason Ren, an associate professor in CU Boulder’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and a co-author of the study.

“We’re biodesigning the materials right from the start.”

Huggins and study co-author Justin Whiteley, also of CU Boulder, have filed a patent on the process and created Emergy, a Boulder-based company aimed at commercialising the technology.

“We see large potential for scaling because there’s nothing required in this process that isn’t already available,” said Huggins.

New-look Coopers Alehouse opens at Adelaide Airport

After three month’s work and more than $1 million expenditure, the upgrade of one of the Adelaide Airport’s most popular destinations, the Coopers Alehouse, opened yesterday.

The layout is one of a new generation of Coopers Alehouses that has been under development over the past 12 months.

The new design features a large open lounge and dining area with views across Adelaide to the Adelaide Hills. It features a broad selection of Coopers products, along with its international partner beers and a new menu that incorporates fresh South Australian produce.

It will also have extended trading hours, from 6 am until after the last flights leave at 11 pm.

Coopers Sales and Marketing Director, Cam Pearce, said Coopers and operating partner Delaware North Companies Australia utilised the services of architects Studio Gram and brand development firm Band for the project.

Delaware has nine food and beverage outlets at the Adelaide Airport, including the Coopers Alehouse.

The original Coopers Alehouse at the airport opened in 2005 with the opening of the new Adelaide Airport terminal.

According to Chief Operating Officer for Delaware North, Kieran Fitzpatrick, trading at the Alehouse in the week since the refurbishment had been completed had shown a significant uplift and he expected this would increase as the upgraded venue became better known.


Chinese craft brewers court premium Australian water producer

CHINESE brewers are courting a high quality water producer from Australia in a bid to create tastier craft beers.

South Australian company PH8 produces came to the attention of Asian brewers when it was awarded a gold medal at the 5th China International High-end Drinking Water Industry Expo 2016 – China’s most authoritative high-end drinking water trade show – in July.

Almost 50 billion litres a year is consumed in China, twice as much as its nearest rival the United States. An increasing thirst for premium craft beers also has it on track to become the world’s highest value beer market next year.

PH8 Managing Director Kym Dickeson said the award had helped promote the brand internationally and sparked talks with a number of Chinese craft breweries.

He said high quality water crucial to produce premium craft beer.

“China at the present time are accepting beer in a big way, there are breweries interested in quality water. That’s one of the things we are talking about,” Dickeson said.

“The Chinese are looking for anything that is Western and quality. They search far and wide for fresh products, fresh milks, because it is sometimes hard to get there.”

Dickeson said recognition through awards helped products quickly gain respect in China.

He said Australian products were internationally perceived as being of high quality and would be “100 per cent” a key factor in PH8’s global expansion.

The high alkaline water produced by PH8 is filtered naturally through black limestone situated at the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula about 110km west of South Australia’s capital Adelaide.

The water is collected in a large aquifer and picks up trace minerals along the way. The entire process takes about 12-14 months and results in water with low acidity and a pH of 8.

It is claimed that alkaline water has health benefits for a variety of ailments including allergies, arthritis, depression, heartburn, chronic fatigue syndrome and obesity.

It contains high amounts of potassium, calcium and magnesium – the latter two are also important elements in beer making.

img - industries_primary industries_ Chinese craft brewers court premium Australian water producer_P2

Water constitutes about 90 per cent of the total ingredients in beer and calcium is the chief mineral in the water that helps to boost the flavour and clarity of the brew. The magnesium is also important for the fermentation process.

According to IBIS World, beer sales in China have increased at an average rate of 3.1 per cent per year to a total of about $32.6 billion over the past five years.

Founded by Nick Selfe in 2006, PH8’s bottled water is distributed around Australia as well as China and Singapore.

Dickeson said alkaline water was an in-demand product and was quickly absorbed by the human body.

“Alkaline water when it has a PH level of above 7 – 7.2 means the clusters of hydrogen are not as bunched together and closed up,” he said.

“What other bottled water companies do is use reverse osmosis. What they do is take out all the germs in the water but by doing that they take a lot of good stuff out as well as the bad.

“We are always looking for opportunities, and there is an opportunity to get into Hong Kong as well. The award certainly gives us a leg up, that’s for sure.”

Dickeson said PH8 was also in conversations with another Australian company to export apowdered milk product.

Labour firm at centre of CUB industrial dispute ends contract

Programmed Skilled, the labour hire firm involved in an industrial dispute at Carlton and United Breweries’ facility in Melbourne has terminated its contract with the brewer.

The company said in a statement the move was cause by fears surrounding the ongoing safety of its employees, whom it claims have been verbally abused by picketing workers at the Abbotsford site.

Back in June, a group of 54 maintenance workers at the Abotsford brewery were told that their jobs at the brewery had been re-contracted to a new service subcontractor, Programmed-Skilled Maintenance, and that they would have to reapply to keep them.

However, the new contracts did not include the conditions of the previous contracts and involved pay cuts of up to 65 per cent. They refused and now find themselves unemployed.

Since then there have been weekly rallies outside the Melbourne headquarters of the company by the AMWU as well as the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

“Over many weeks, Programmed has sought a resolution to this issue to the satisfaction of all parties, but to no avail. This has included meeting with CUB and the unions on a number of occasions,” Programmed said in the statement.

“Having failed to find a satisfactory resolution, the company has terminated its agreements with CUB and will work with CUB over the coming weeks to arrange an orderly transition.”

“Programmed’s first priority is to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of its people, and this has been the key driver for today’s decision.”

As the SMH reports, Electrical Trades Union state secretary Troy Gray said that CUB should now “do the fair, Australian thing and reinstate the sacked workers”.

“The real question for CUB is when is common sense going to prevail?” he said.

“There is no other contractor who would touch this contract with a 40-foot pole due to the disgraceful way CUB has acted in the past 10 weeks.”

CUB said in a statement that, despite the “unacceptable behaviour” towards contractors from Programmed, it had been trying to work with the labour hire company.

“Unions are entitled to their view, but we believe they should not have the power of veto over pay rates of a company which is lawfully employing people at our site,” CUB said.

Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale

Coopers Brewery is celebrating the 60th birthday of its Managing Director and Chief Brewer, Dr Tim Cooper, by releasing limited edition 440ml cans of his eponymous beer, Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale.

Dr Cooper turned 60 in June and to help celebrate the milestone, the company is producing 20,000 cases of Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale in the 440ml can format. It is the first time that Coopers has released a 440ml can.

It is envisaged they will be available at the same price as the standard 375ml cans and are expected to be in stock in major retailers across Australia later this month (August).

National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said Coopers had been keen to celebrate Dr Cooper’s birthday with customers.

“Members of Dr Cooper’s brewing team suggested that a special edition can of Dr Tim’s would be a suitable recognition,” he said.

“The decision was made for this to be a 440ml can, to be sold at the same price as the 375ml can.”

Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale was first produced in 2004 as an experiment to see whether Coopers ales, which undergo secondary fermentation, could be successfully packaged in cans.

Coopers’ packaging company, Amcor (now Orora), provided cans for this experiment with Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale already printed on them.

This resulted in what the brewery calls an “accidental product” which has since developed its own dedicated following. For many years, sales of Dr Tim’s were restricted to South Australia, but it is now available nationally.

The technical success of Dr Tim’s resulted in Coopers releasing Coopers Mild Ale 3.5% later in 2004 in both cans and bottles. It is thought that these two products are the only ones in the world to undergo secondary fermentation in the can.

Heineken 3 mid-strength beer

Heineken’s latest innovation, Heineken 3 mid-strength beer, is the first the company has released in Australia since its arrival here.

The launch seeks to capitalise on the growing demand for premium mid-strength beer, with the company identifying growth potential among occasional beer drinkers across Australia.

The company has also analysed data and insights from Australian consumers to identify opportunities to leverage spontaneous, easy-drinking, mid-energy and mid-afternoon consumption occasions. This will form a major part of a strategy to enable the brand to access more drinkers in more occasions.

The beer enables consumers to “Have It All’. This is communicated through the product’s three key attributes: lower calories, lower carbohydrates and an award-winning great taste.

The latter is supported by award-winning success at the World Beer Championships as best Lower Calorie lager in 2013 & 2014 and a Gold Medal at the 2015 European Beer Star Awards for best German Style Liechtbier.

The beer has only 86 calories per bottle, 5g carbs and 3.3 per cent ABV so consumers no longer have to compromise on taste and premium experience when choosing a lower calorie beer.

Furthermore, research has shown that the beer is appealing not just to its traditional core target male audience but it’s also an opportunity to recruit more female consumers, particularly among those who want an easier drinking and lower calorie lager.

Sydney Brewery continues on medal winning way

Sydney Brewery continues to impress the Australian beer market with a swag of medals at recent AIBA, CBIA and International Beer Challenge competitions.

Hot on the heels of being the first small brewery in history to take out the ‘Champion Draught Beer’ with Lovedale Lager and ‘Champion Cider’ with Sydney Cider at the 2015 Sydney Royal, Sydney Brewery has won two more Trophies at the 2016 Australian International Beer Awards.

Lovedale Lager won Best European Style Lager again, after also winning it in 2014. Head Brewer, Michael Capaldo, believes that “the recognition we have received for our beers and ciders by the industry through such awards as the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Shower and AIBA is a reflection of our commitment to quality”.

Glamarama Summer Ale also raised the bar for small Australian breweries, winning the 2016 AIBA Trophy for ‘Best International Lager’.

More recently at the Craft Beer Industry Association Awards, Sydney Brewery won 4 Silver and 6 Bronze medals, with every beer entered winning a medal including specialty beers, ‘Alter Ego’ an Imperial Oatmeal Stout crafted for GABS Festival Sydney, ‘Salaryman Lager’ and ‘Nulla Natural’.

Then at the International Beer Challenge just judged, Sydney Brewery picked up 3 Bronze medals for Pyrmont Rye IPA, Paddo Pale and Darlo Dark.

The expansion of their Lovedale Brewery is foreseen to be completed by late October this year, with the bottling line and new cannery to now be housed in a larger purpose built facility.

As an extension of the Schwartz owned Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, beer-enthusiasts will have a more enticing brewery visit and growing demands for the award winning range will be met.

Coopers wins beer rights for Australian Open

Coopers Brewery has partnered with Tennis Australia and won the exclusive beer pourage rights for the Australian Open for the next five years.

The agreement means that only Coopers beer will be poured at Melbourne Park throughout the two weeks of the Australian Open, as well as lead-in tournaments in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart from 2017 and Perth from 2018.

It also includes pourage rights for all other sporting and entertainment events at Melbourne Park.

The value of the contract has not been disclosed, but Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said it was one of the largest national sporting agreements Coopers had signed.

“It’s great to be partnering with Tennis Australia. We are very excited about our involvement in the Australian Open,” he said.

“The Australian Open is one of only four grand slam events in the world and a highlight of the Australian sporting calendar.

Pearce said Coopers would be supplying Coopers Original Pale Ale, Coopers Premium Lager and Coopers Premium Light throughout the event.

He added that in the lead up to the event, Coopers would be undertaking an exciting package refresh for both Coopers Premium Lager and Coopers Premium Light to provide a fresh, vibrant look to coincide with and support the Australian Open.

“We have been working hard with Tennis Australia in preparing for the Australian Open 2017 and we are looking forward to giving tennis fans a special Coopers’ experience,” he said.

CUB facing beer boycott in support of workers

Pubs across Australia have stopped serving beers supplied by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) as an act of support for workers sacked by the company.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is urging beer drinkers to join the boycott and support the workers who were told in June that their jobs at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery had been re-contracted to a new service subcontractor, Programmed-Skilled Maintenance, and that they would have to reapply to keep them.

However, the new contracts did not include the conditions of the previous contracts and involved pay cuts of up to 65 per cent. They refused and now find themselves unemployed.

Industrial action against CUB has included weekly rallies outside the Melbourne headquarters of the company by the AMWU as well as the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

The beer boycott sprang up through a social media campaign and pubs participating in it include The Lincoln in Melbourne, and the Cecil Hotel in Queensland.

“For anyone drinking a CUB beer or cider, just consider, ‘Do you think it’s fair the company has sacked 55 workers and forced them to reapply?’” AWMU assistant state secretary Craig Kelly told the New Daily.

CUB, which is controlled by South African multinational SABMiller, claims to have no direct contractual relationship with the sacked workers. The issue of pay and conditions, it says, is the responsibility of the new subcontractor.

The company claims that unions and workers were informed of the new arrangements in January and that some of the sacked workers have taken up the new contracts.

“Unions have been aggressively targeting CUB and its brands over the last few weeks trying to enforce their terms and conditions on an independent contractor which provides workers to CUB,” a company spokesperson told The New Daily.

“CUB acknowledges that any change of contract or commercial decision can impact people and their families, which is why the previous contractor and their employees were told six months ago that their contract would end. All entitlements were paid by the contractor, including redundancies, pay in lieu of notice and leave entitlements.”

Sydney Craft Beer Week back for 2016

Sydney Craft Beer Week (SCBW), the city’s largest celebration of craft beer, is set to return in October with more than 100 events across over 75 venues.

The event, which was launched yesterday, not only provides the opportunity for visitors to taste from an enormous range of quality beers, but also includes international guest speakers, beer making classes, axe throwing competitions, hangover curing brekkies, beer matched chocolate desserts, sausage making classes beer guzzling history lessons, and more.

Highlights of the program for 2016 include:

  • The Opening Gala Night at the Giant Dwarf in Redfern, including an opportunity to sample a showcase of handpicked beers and brewers who will be featured over the Festival’s week long run.
  • The Pint of Origin – Six pubs across Sydney turn their taps over to beers and brewers from the six Aussie states to give small breweries a chance to showcase their wares to lovers of a good brew.
  • The inaugural Sydney Craft Beer Awards –  Not only will the best of beers and brewers be celebrated in this industry night of nights, but also all those behind the scenes that make the craft beer scene in Sydney as rich and vibrant as it is today.

“This year’s program is a reflection of the craft beer industry’s growing popularity,” said SCBW Director Joel Connolly.

“We started Sydney Craft Beer Week six years ago for quite selfish reasons, we just wanted to drink good beer and Sydney was in short supply. Now there are hundreds of incredible brewers doing some awesome things all across the city, which makes programming an event like Sydney Craft Beer Week a whole lot more fun.”

Sydney Craft Beer Week runs from Friday 21 to Sunday 30 October.


Young Henrys Brewing Company collaborates on new beer

Young Henrys Brewing Company has announced a limited release collaboration with Adelaide restaurant Africola and head chef Duncan Welgemoed.

Young Henrys brewer Hamish MacKenzie was tasked with creating a unique combination of hops, malt and water and bringing the collaboration to life.

Throwing clay ideas onto his 6000 litre potting wheel full of wort, MacKenzie spun the traits of the big, bold South African chef Welgemoed into a spicy, bold and citric, Young Henrys IPA.

The limited release beer —the Africola Rock ’n’ Rola—is a rich, dark amber brew with all the hallmarks of a stone cold classic.

From a citrus hop explosion intro on the nose, to a fruity flavor sliding its chorus across your tongue, to an outro of alcoholic warmth, which hits you like a punch from velvet gloved fist.

“’Duncan has the madness of mind and the rock n roll spirit that we love to be around,” said Young Henrys co-owner Oscar McMahon of the collaboration.

“He’s also a bloody good cook who doesn’t mind the occasional one or two. After we met him we knew we’d have to do a beer together sometime…”

Africola Rock ‘N’ Rola launched last week at Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival and will be available for a limited time.

Unions step up action against CUB

The union movement has vowed to hold weekly rallies outside the Melbourne headquarters of Carlton United Breweries (CUB) in support of 54 sacked maintenance workers.

As reported by the Guardian, last month the workers from CUB’s Abbotsford brewery were told their jobs had been re-contracted to a new service subcontractor, Programmed-Skilled Maintenance, and that they would have to reapply to keep them.

However, the new contracts did not include the conditions of the previous contracts and involved pay cuts of up to 65 per cent. They refused and now find themselves unemployed.

AMWU member Peter Kerr-Chapman said workers realised this issue went beyond CUB and brewing to the wage standards of skilled maintenance workers across manufacturing.

“If CUB get away with this, it wouldn’t be good for anyone,” he said.

“Manufacturing is already in a rough spot and the last thing we need are employers sacking people to wind back conditions won over many decades.”

CUB, which is controlled by South African multinational SABMiller, claims to have no direct contractual relationship with the sacked workers. The issue of pay and conditions, it says, is the responsibility of the new subcontractor.

The rallies involve AMWU and ETU members along with supporters from other unions.

Gage Roads Brewing extends major supply agreement

Gage Roads Brewing Co has executed a three-year extension, with a further two-year option, of its supply and distribution agreement with Pinnacle Liquor Group, a subsidiary of the recently re-named Endeavour Drinks Group (formerly Woolworths Liquor Group).

The agreement provides for a stepped reduction in minimum volume commitments from Pinnacle over the financial years of 2017 through to 2019, allowing Gage Roads to prioritise the supply and increase distribution of its higher-margin proprietary craft beers, while maintaining overall production volumes.

With a shift in the market away from mainstream beer consumption, Gage Roads is focused on the continued development of its proprietary craft beer portfolio, which is currently experiencing strong growth and is expected to be sustained well into the future.

Gage Roads Managing Director, John Hoedemaker, said the directors of Gage Roads worked collaboratively with Pinnacle to seek an arrangement that optimised the strategic objectives of both businesses.

“Under this agreement we maintain certainty over volumes through the continued support of Pinnacle, while also providing us with the scope to pursue our strategy of growing Gage Roads’ higher-margin proprietary brands nationally,” Hoedemaker said.

“Pinnacle’s continued support and ranging of Gage Roads’ products, while accommodating a reduction in contract brewing volumes, provides us with the capacity to focus on higher-margin craft products and the flexibility to open up other channels to market.”

Pinnacle has an option to extend the agreement for a further two years beyond 2019.