Home' National Liquor News : NLN FEB 2018 Contents 72 | FEBRUARY 2018 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
HOW HAVE THE CHANGES TO THE
IBA BEEN RECEIVED?
Overwhelmingly positively. It had been a
subject that had been much debated since the
inception of the Craft Beer Industry Association
(CBIA) in 2012 and its time had finally come.
More and more of our independent brewing
members were questioning how their interests
aligned with those of our corporate brewing
members especially in the marketplace.
There were some concerns that we would
suddenly lose access to the knowledge base
within the large brewers but I don’t think that
has been the case. We had a number of judges
at the Craft Beer Awards and attendees at
the conference come from the larger brewers.
We will continue to foster relationships with
individuals within those companies.
HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY POSITIVE
CHANGES TO YOUR MEMBERSHIP
Most definitely. There had always been a
number of breweries who had said that they
would only become members if we made the
changes we did. I’m happy to say that those
breweries kept their word and signed up.
I believe the process that we went through
has also increased our engagement with
members. We went to great lengths to be
consultative through the process and that is
paying dividends now.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING
ASPECT OF AUSTRALIA’S
I think it would be impossible to dispute the
idea that this is the most exciting time to be an
Australian beer drinker. Trying to identify a single
aspect is nigh on impossible so here are two.
There are more breweries in Australia than
at any point in time in our nation’s history.
And those breweries are producing such a vast
range of beer styles that if brewers and venues/
retailers work together a beer style can be
found for every consumer’s palate.
The second point follows on from that,
venues are embracing the range of choice.
Smart operators have recognised that
consumers are looking for more choice in their
beer offering. Yes, the traditional lagers are
still going to be popular but they no longer
have to be the only offering. And that offering
doesn’t have to only be in the bar. More and
more venues are celebrating good beer as an
accompaniment in the dining room.
I think the biggest thing we will see in
the next few years is a growing emphasis on
being local. As access to the wholesale market
gets more competitive brewers will need to
reassess the dream of selling their beers across
the country and instead look at how they can
survive in their own backyard.
That may mean that they look at restricting
their distribution footprint to a certain city
or region or it may mean they go hyperlocal
and establish a brewpub that will only sell its
beers across its own bar. The brewpub model is
extremely popular in the USA but is only now
really starting to get traction in Australia.
2017 WAS A YEAR FULL OF
ACQUISITIONS, WHAT IMPACT HAS
THIS HAD ON THE INDUSTRY?
The sales have definitely had an impact on the
industry. In the short term they have created
a lot of discussion, and not just in craft beer
circles. There has been a significant amount
of coverage in the mainstream media. What it
will mean in the longer term is a bit harder to
tell but it will open up more opportunities for
independent breweries to take advantage of
consumers’ growing desire to support small and
From an IBA perspective we lose three larger
members in the form of 4 Pines, Feral and
Pirate Life and that is disappointing but we
have 200 other members to represent so there is
plenty to keep us busy.
DO YOU THINK THERE WILL
BE FURTHER CONSOLIDATION/
BUYOUTS IN 2018?
Most likely, yes. We have already seen four
industry participants (Lion, CUB, Asahi and
Coca-Cola Amatil) make significant purchases.
We may see more purchases from them or there
may be other international breweries that may
wish to get involved in the Australian market.
Heineken and Carlsberg are the second and
third largest brewers in the world but have
no physical presence here and both of them
have invested in small, independent breweries
in other markets. In Heineken’s case that has
been as close as New Zealand where they own
Tuatara as part of their DB operations.
The purchasers may also come from non-
beverage companies. We had an example
of that when Dixon Hospitality purchased
Hawthorn Brewing Co.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR MAIN
INITIATIVES IN 2018?
The major project we are working on at the
moment is an independence seal. This will
be similar to those released by the Brewers
Association in the US and the Society of
Independent Brewers in the UK. The seal will
only be available to IBA members and will be
an easy way for consumers to identify beers
produced by independent brewers.
We are also working on a nationwide
celebration of the independent brewing
industry to be held in the second half of 2018.
In 2018 our conference and awards, both
with new names coming soon, will be held in
Sydney at the end of June.
And of course we will continue on with
our advocacy program, being the voice of
Australian independent brewing.
HOW CAN RETAILERS BETTER
SUPPORT INDIE BREWERS?
Firstly, indie brewers can help retailers provide
choice for their customers. Increasingly
Australian drinkers are looking outside of what
they had traditionally drunk for something
different. Independent beer provides those
options with fresh, local brews.
Secondly, indie beer helps the profitability of
the businesses by providing a margin product.
The margin provided by a six-pack sale of
indie beer is significantly better than what is
achievable from a carton of mainstream beer.
Thirdly, indie beer has a story to tell.
Customers want to hear the stories behind
the breweries. They want to be able to
identify with the brands. Indie brewers can
help retailers establish that connection with
CHRIS MCNAMARA, EXECUTIVE OFFICER
INDEPENDENT BREWERS ASSOCIATION
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