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BALTER TAKES TOP SPOT IN THE GABS
HOTTEST 100 CRAFT BEER COUNTDOWN
Gold Coast Brewery Balter’s XPA has been named as the number one
beer in the GABS Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2017.
The brewery, which is part-owned by champion surfers Mick Fanning,
Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge, led a top five which was
made up entirely of independent breweries. Over the past 12 months
a number of popular craft breweries have been bought up by larger
companies including 4 Pines and Pirate Life, which were bought by AB
InBev and Feral Brewing which Coca-Cola Amatil bought.
Rounding out the top five, behind the Balter XPA were Stone &
Wood’s Pacific Ale, a three-time winner of the poll which has also
been a consistent top three beer since 2010 and was second this year.
In third place was Crankshaft, an American-style IPA from BentSpoke
Brewing Co in Canberra, followed by Young Henrys’ Australian Pale Ale
Newtowner in fourth and Gage Roads’ International Pale Ale Single Fin.
GABS Co-Founder Steve Jeffares told National Liquor News that he
believes independence is a factor among craft beer aficionados and it will
be interesting to see how it plays out in future polls.
“The role that independents play is a very topical one and I am also
involved with a small committee that is working with the Independent
Brewers Association (IBA) to develop and launch a Seal of Independence.
The IBA believes that this is going to be one way that independent
breweries can differentiate themselves,” Jeffares said.
“All the breweries that have been acquired over the last 12 months
or so fell this year, but they also had results that any brewery would
realistically be happy with. I do think it has an impact, but we’ve got a
sample of one, so let’s see what’s going to happen next year – although
who knows what will happen over the next 12 months.
“The Hottest 100 has given really interesting insights over the last decade
on how fast changing this sector of the industry is and this year was no
different in my opinion. It’s very telling that CUB/AB InBev have moved from
a possible two beers in the top 100 to nine simply through acquisitions.”
LION CONFIRMS FURPHY ROLLOUT
Lion has confirmed that in response to huge demand from across the
country its Victorian beer, which is made with 100 per cent Victorian hops
and malt beer – Furphy Refreshing Ale – is being rolled out nationally.
As Lion gears up to meet the growing demand it has doubled the
capacity of its Furphy brewery in Geelong and has started brewing the
beer at its Lidcombe brewery outside of Sydney.
Gordon Treanor, Lion’s GM of Craft, said: “The beer was originally
imagined for Victoria; it’s been a runaway success across the state and
people outside of Victoria are asking us for it and we want to give those
people what they are looking for.
“Furphy is growing at about 300 per cent year on year, and demand
is growing outside of Victoria.
“We’ve continued to expand the Furphy brewery as much and as
quickly as we can, doubling the brew volume, investing $20m over the
last two years and employing 21 new people in the brewery.
“Despite this, we are still unable to brew enough to keep Victorian
pubs stocked and to sell Furphy up north.
“We are now shipping Victorian hops and malt to our Lidcombe
brewery, with Head Brewer Warren Pawsey overseeing the brew up there.
“The Geelong Brewery will always brew many millions of litres of
Furphy for Victorians.”
Speaking about where Furphy will be available, Treanor added: “In
the off-premise cans have been a runaway success and that brings in a
new set of consumers who enjoy drinking great beer out of a can.
“We are getting requests for Furphy from all over the country from
on-premise, off-premise, independents and the majors and we are
going to make it available to all those that would like it. But Victorians
will continue to be the first ones to get the beer and then everyone that
we can supply outside of that it will be available to.”
GAGE ROAD SALES TO INDEPENDENT
RETAILERS UP 165 PER CENT
Western Australian brewer Gage Roads Brewing has reported a strong second
quarter with an overall sales increase of its proprietary brands of 56 per cent,
compared to the previous year’s corresponding period.
The increase in sales was driven by a 165 per cent increase in sales to
independent retailers as well as a tripling of its keg sales. The brewer also saw a
13 per cent uplift in sales of its proprietary brands to the national retail chains.
The brewer has also recently signed partnerships with Perth’s new Optus
Stadium and Rugby Australia, which Managing Director John Hoedemaker
described as an important part of the company’s five-year strategy.
“The East Coast of Australia is a key focus and the Rugby Australia partnership
will get the Single Fin product in the hands of thousands of Australian rugby fans.
We expect this to have a positive effect on our retail partners particularly in
New South Wales, but also in other states as rugby fans return home after the
event,” he said.
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