East 9th Brewing acquires Sample Brew

East 9th Brewing has acquired fellow independent brewing company Sample Brew for an undisclosed figure after the company was handed over to administrators in mid-May.

Sample Brew was founded in 2014 and is known for its core range of premium brews including Sample Pale Ale, Sample Gold Ale, Sample Lager, and the acclaimed Sample ¾ IPA.  The brand is prolifically stocked across Australia in bottle, can and keg.  East 9th Brewing was founded in 2010 and is home to one of Australia’s biggest selling alcoholic ginger beers, Lick Pier, and the iconic Doss Blockos Pale Lager.

In 2017, Sample announced plans to become Australia’s first beer company to raise funds with ‘crowd equity’.  These plans were pulled due to reported outside investor interest, which ultimately fell through and led to the eventual voluntary administration of the company.

“It’s not an easy thing to create a sustainable beer business in Australia.  Just because the category is experiencing great growth, doesn’t mean it directly correlates to an easy ride and great profitability for the companies that operate within that space”, said Josh Lefers of East 9th Brewing.

East 9th Brewing will be taking over the Sample portfolio immediately, along with re-employing a number of the Sample Sales Team (which were made redundant in the collapse).  “The Sample brand was always one that we admired from afar…the previous team have done an amazing job building the brand over the last five years and we plan to continue to build on that”, say Benjamin Cairns of East 9th Brewing.

The acquisition by East 9th Brewing is the first of many planned moves the company will undertake in the near future.  “East 9th Brewing has plans for a collection of hero partner venues to call home as well as an appetite for further acquisitions. In line with our vision to have Australia’s largest independent cross-category portfolio, we have an exciting NPD pipeline that extends on our current range of beer and near-beer products and will include some new huge growth areas such as craft wine,” says Stephen Wools of East 9th Brewing.

Independent breweries are growing the beverage industry across Australia

Independent breweries are growing the beverage industry across Australia with new facilities and partnerships.

Australian independent brewery, Tribe Breweries, has taken on Mornington Peninsula Brewery through a partnership structure.

Matt Bebe, co-founder and CEO at Mornington, will become a shareholder in Tribe as a result of the partnership and will remain at the helm to lead the Mornington team.

All employees of Mornington will continue in their current roles as the brewery looks to grow its reach both domestically and internationally.

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The partnership will increase Mornington’s brewing capacity and allow the launching of new brews more rapidly.

Bebe said Mornington reached a point where it had to make some strategic decisions about its future.

“Joining Tribe is a great decision for Mornington as we can have our cake and eat it too; continue to be both local and independent while also part of a larger collective group that can provide benefits across the board,” said Bebe.

Anton Szpitalak, co-founder and CEO of Tribe Breweries said Tribe aspired to become Australia’s number one independent brewer and it was firmly committed to working with artisans to realise their dreams.

“Mornington fits perfectly into that vision and with the brewery joining the tribe we take a big step forward on our journey,” said Szpitalak.

Later this year, Tribe Breweries’ much anticipated state-of-the-art $35 million craft beverage production facility will open in Goulburn.

Meanwhile, Brick Lane Brewing Co. has launched a new brewery in Dandenong.

Brick Lane will offer other breweries an opportunity to use its state-of-the-art brewhouse to create their own beers.

Head Brewer Jon Seltin said the company wanted to give breweries the opportunity to bring their wonderful beers to a wider national and international audience.

“We are excited about working with some of the wonderful, talented and creative brewers out there to get more of their beers out there into the world,” said Seltin.

Brick Lane has incorporated several energy reduction, recovery and storage technologies into the Dandenong brewery, including a highly efficient vapour condenser which reclaims energy from steam produced during the brewing process.

Brick Lane will employ 60 workers in its brewhouse, producing 10,000 bottles and 15,000 cans per hour – a capacity of more than 100,000 pints of beer every day.

Urban Alley Brewery has started production in a new centre in Melbourne’s docklands.

It is located next to a brew-pub that is opening its doors in September 2018 and has a capacity of 700 people.

The 25-hectare-litre brewhouse is set to produce 2 million litres per year.

Urban Alley Brewery is also using biodegradable six pack rings (E6PR), which are made from spent grain.

 

 

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.

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.

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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.

Boag’s Brewery sheds Launceston about third of workforce as brands move interstate

The shedding of 39 jobs at Launceston's Boag's Brewery has come as a shock, the United Voice union says.

Parent company Lion said it was making the changes to improve efficiency in its brewing network.

The Boag's brands will still be fully brewed in Launceston but various national brands will move interstate.

According to Company spokeswoman Leela Gantman, the market had faced a challenging time and added brewing costs in Tasmania had also been a factor.

"We've done this off the back of some very challenging years in the beer market and the need to ensure our operations both nationally and in Tasmania are sustainable," Gantman said.

"Certainly the rate of decline of beer production has been sharper than originally anticipated, so this has put our entire brewery network under pressure."

United Voice secretary Jannette Armstrong said the decision came as a surprise and was "devastating".

"This is going to have a massive impact, particularly [in] Launceston which is already feeling the hurt of unemployment," she said.

"It is very difficult to find a job at the moment, especially in the Launceston area, so it will be a very, very distressing time for those workers and for their families.

"Last year they laid off a whole heap of casuals and they have been talking about the reduced beer market across Australia, but in terms of any indication they were going to be cutting more jobs [that] was an absolute shock and we're disappointed there wasn't more notice and greater consultation."

Coopers continues strong growth

Coopers brewery has ended the 2015 calendar year in record territory, boosted by strong sales of Coopers Original Pale Ale and Mild Ale 3.5 per cent.

For the 12 months ending on the December 31, 2015, Coopers sold a record 80.7 million litres, a 4.4 per cent increase on the 77.3 million litres sold in calendar year 2014.

Coopers’ flagship product, Coopers Original Pale Ale, continued to perform strongly, with national sales rising 3.2 per cent during the year. It now accounts for 52 per cent of Coopers’ total beer sales.

Mild Ale 3.5 per cent enjoyed a 13.7 per cent increase in sales during 2015 and is now Coopers’ third largest product by volume behind Sparkling Ale, which recorded growth of 1.8 per cent for the year. Coopers Stout sales rose by 8 percent for the year.

According to Coopers Managing Director Tim Cooper, the 2015 results had been especially pleasing, given the continued overall fall in beer consumption in Australia.

“While Australia’s total beer consumption has fallen almost 10 per cent in the past six years, despite a growing population, Coopers’ sales have been on a solid growth trajectory for the past 22 years,” Cooper said.

“The latest results mean Coopers now has 5 per cent of the total Australian market. The eastern states continue to be Coopers’ major area of growth, with total sales in Victoria, NSW and Queensland growing by 7.4 per cent during 2015. Western Australian sales grew 5.5 per cent.”

An agreement with US craft brewer, Brooklyn Brewing came into effect late in 2015, but had only had a minor impact on results, although early sales had been strong.

Sales of Thatchers Gold cider, which is distributed in Australia by Coopers, rose 37 per cent during the 2015 calendar year.

For the six months to December 2015, Coopers sales grew 4.5 per cent over the previous corresponding period.

Dr Cooper said Coopers was looking forward to achieving 23 years of growth by the end of the current financial year.

This would also be supported by the release of Carlsberg 3.5 per cent mid-strength lager in February, adding further to the strong international beer portfolio already in place.

Coopers lager packaging will also be refreshed to stimulate interest on the back of the packaging upgrade of Coopers Clear in 2015 which has been well received by consumers. 

White Rabbit Brewery hops over to the new Little Creatures site

Beca and Lion have moved its Lion's White Rabbit Brewery from Healesville, north east of Melbourne to Lion's Little Creatures site in Geelong, some 144 kms away.

In 2014, Lion engaged Beca to assist with a review of their craft brewery footprint in Victoria. Beca worked with Lion to complete an initial feasibility and options analysis for the White Rabbit Brewery operation. 

This was conducted to determine the most cost and time effective relocation approach. The relocation would allow Lion to create a consolidated hub for craft brewing operations in Victoria; the site also has the capacity for future development.

Following this, Beca was subsequently engaged at the start of 2015 to design and project manage the relocation. The first project stage involved bringing a 2000m2 1920's building on the Geelong site up to current standards to accommodate the relocated brewery and a new hospitality venue. In parallel to the building works at the Geelong site, Beca also managed the decommissioning and finalisation of the Healesville site.

The existing equipment from the Healesville site was relocated and integrated with additional new equipment at the Geelong site. The refurbishment of the improved system was then fully commissioned. The first brew of White Rabbit using the recommissioned equipment was successfully achieved in early October 2015 and the project was delivered on time, on budget and with no LTI/MTIs.

"Beca provided excellent end to end project management support and this greatly assisted delivery of the project to schedule and within our budget. This was particularly pleasing given the nature of the building refurbishment at Geelong and the tight timelines required, which ensured the start-up of the brewery prior to our peak production period," said Matthew Anderson, Lion's Operations Director Craft, Supply Chain.