At a time when Australians are drinking beer at low levels that haven’t been experienced for 65 years, the craft beer industry is helping to steady the ship.
So, what is it about craft beer that has seen this once niche industry explode in popularity and grow to be worth a staggering $160 million in just a short amount of time?
To better understand the craft beer explosion, we must look at where it began and how its success has contributed to a change in drinking culture in Australia.
The History of Craft Beer in Australia
During the 1970’s, beer options in Australia were limited. The larger brewing companies acquired many of the smaller breweries and essentially created beer monopolies. This allowed for a handful of beers to become popular in each state or territory.
With less options available for beer drinkers, beer consumption soared. Volume was the most important metric. This was also the case for other locations around the world including America and the United Kingdom.
During the 1970’s, particularly in America, the craft beer movement began to take off. Originally, craft beer began as experiments from home-brew kits for people wanting to experiment with unique flavours and ingredients.
It wouldn’t take long for some Australians to notice the changing beer culture taking place around the world.
Craft Beer in Western Australia
During Western Australia in the 1980’s, a few friends began selling their original craft beer from an onsite brewery called the Freemason’s, now known as the Sail & Anchor in Fremantle. This was a breath of fresh air for many beer drinkers who were yearning for a different tasting beer.
The same group of friends would go on to establish Matilda Bay and play an important part in launching Little Creatures Brewing Co.
Little Creatures opened their doors to the public in 2000 and unleashed a hop-driven American Pale Ale that would quickly become a crowd-favourite and provide many with their first craft beer experience.
The new additions to the Australian beer market paved the way for beer lovers to begin drinking beer of quality over quantity.
Why do Australians Love Craft Beer?
Craft beer gives brewers the option to experiment with quality ingredients and develop types of beer that have typically been forgotten about in traditional beer markets, such as gluten free beer and low carb beer. Part of what makes craft beer so appealing is the hand crafted or artisanal method used to develop the beer.
Craft beer makers are typically targeting a different demographic, Chief Executive of the Australian Craft Beer Association Chris McNamara claims that “going out and drinking a lot of beer is generally not a part of what the industry is selling..it’s all about drinking for flavour and drinking local.”
A push for Independently Owned Australian Breweries
Results found in the publicly available study of the Australian craft beer market , revealed that independently owned Australian breweries are a huge deciding factor when it comes to purchasing beer.
Of the 17,000 people surveyed, 99% of drinkers are willing to buy craft beer from an independant Australian brewery compared to just 23% willing to buy craft beer from a large multinational company.
The survey also identified a strong push for an Australian Independent Brewers Seal to be placed on beer produced by independent breweries, with 82% of people saying a seal would have a medium to large impact on their beer choice.
The survey highlights the importance buyers are placing on avoiding craft beer from large corporations making craft beer the perfect protest to the beer monopolies formed during the 1970’s.
Which Craft Beers do Australians Love the Most?
The 2017 survey recognised Pirate Life Brewery as the best craft brewery in Australia.
Feral Brewing Co was knocked off the top spot and moved down to second position after taking out the title in 2016. Balter Brewing, Stone & Wood Brewing and Bridge Road Brewers rounded out the top five.
The most consumed type of craft beer continues to be Pale Ale. Whereas, the overall favourite craft beer of choice for Australians is IPA.
We stock a range of beers from Pirate Life Brewery, voted the number one craft brewery in Australia for 2017.
Shop our online store to find more than 300 options of craft beer.
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