Last month saw the 5th Australian Craft Brewers Conference held in Brisbane, and we tagged along to hear all the latest news coming out of the industry.
It was an action packed couple of days, including workshops, tastings, industry talks, tastings, industry suppliers of equipment and ingredients – and did we mention a few cheeky tastings? And for the first time, this year’s conference also incorporated the annual craft beer awards.
It was a very professionally run conference that brought together many leaders, both nationally and internationally. It gave brewers and suppliers a great chance to put a name to the face and plan for their future endeavours. It also gave us snapshots of how the craft beer sector is performing and where it is heading.
The good news is, the future is looking very bright. Craft beer is gaining huge momentum, and the two multi-national companies that have dominated the beer industry for too long have so far failed to stem the flow. This year saw Australia tick over the 400 mark for operational and or registered craft breweries. This means if the current rate of growth continues for the next 800 years, there will be around fifty thousand four hundred breweries in the country. We look forward to the day.
Figures out of the conference showed that the craft beer industry is no longer considered a niche market like it was only several years ago; instead, it has earned mainstream status.
We heard from keynote speaker Steve Baxter (TV’s Shark Tank) who gave us an interesting insight from a person with a background in company start-ups, mainly in technology. Interestingly enough, he has just invested in a couple of young entrepreneurs who have started a company called Friday Beers, where a cold six pack is delivered to your work desk every Friday.
There were plenty of industry awards given out on the night; the most notable, Pirate Life Brewing (SA), who continue their fairytale dominance, taking out Champion Large Brewery.
Green Beacon Brewing Co. out of Teneriffe, Brisbane won Champion Medium Brewery; and Hope Brewhouse (Hunter Valley), whom we recently had a tap takeover with, won the Champion Small Brewery award.
The biggest fail of the year went to a brewery that rhymes with shooehys with their version of a pale ale called Darling Pale Ale. This was a little harsh, given their limited funds available to brew a decent beer.
All in all, it was a great couple of days and really encouraging to see the industry expand and diversify at such a rate of knots. Here’s to the New England adding to that growth over the next few years.
Drink less; taste more!