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It’s Yak Racing Season

February 28, 2011

‘Gentlemen, start your yaks!’ is the proclamation of the Matilda Bay Brewing Company as they launch a unique campaign that will take one Fat Yak drinker all the way to Mongolia.

Scott Vincent discusses the origins of Fat Yak with Liquid Ideas’ Genghis Gregor

The craft beer arm of brewing giant Fosters has launched their biggest product promotion to date, with a competition aimed squarely at (but not limited to) the adventurous young male population.


The winner will participate in the “yaktion” that is Mongolian yak racing, during July/August 2011. In addition, two mates will join Australia’s first yak jockey on the trip to Mongolia to cheer them on.

That’s right, you could be racing a yak across Mongolian plains, against the fiercely competitive natives, known as the “Lords of the Gobi”.

Described as a multiplatform campaign, the Fat Yak marketing engine is pursing a “Yakattack” on their target audience by utilising television, Facebook and a range of branded materials such as posters, coasters, table cards, fridge decals and header cards to drive the promotion.

Craft beer lover Andy Lee gets into the yaktion

The official launch of the campaign was held last week, with Fat Yak fuelled parties held in Sydney and Melbourne at the respective Khan Mongolian BBQ Restaurants.


Attended by the Matilda Bay brewing team, lead by Scott Vincent and Neil Whittorn, the crowd of celebrities, brewers, beer writers, bloggers and industry affiliates gathered for a taste of what is in store for the competition winner.

The invited guests were treated to a night of traditional Mongolian barbeque food and yak racing instructional videos (in the form of the TV commercials produced by Clemenger BBDO for the promotion). Friendly competition was also added to the light-hearted evening, as each table – named after “the heroes of Mongolian racing yaks” – were compelled to use instruments of Mongolian music to created the most masterful…err…”noise” possible.

MCed by the aptly dressed Stuart Gregor, Director of PR company Liquid Ideas, Scott Vincent was quizzed on the history of Fat Yak, which is celebrating its two year anniversary as a bottled product.

A family portrait

Not surprisingly, the Fat Yak origin story differs between the brewers and the marketing output. However, the result is still the same, with Matilda Bay developing an American-style pale ale that would be more approachable to the wider beer drinking market than their highly hoppy, 50 IBU and well-regarded Alpha Pale Ale.

Vincent explained that it was ultimately the Fat Yak name that helped push the beer over the line as the next Matilda Bay product, back in 2008.

The success of Fat Yak is evident in its sales results, as it is currently the fastest growing Australian craft beer brand. Clearly, this result is strongly assisted by the very large manufacturing and distribution infrastructure of parent company, Fosters. Nonetheless, the product is providing the mainstream drinking community – dominated by bland lagers – with an introduction to 25 IBUs of American Cascade and New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops.

Competition promotional material

Whilst passionate advocates of microbrewed craft beer may dismiss Fat Yak from the “craft beer” qualification on the basis of its mass production, strong recognition exists among these vocal few for the product’s place in the market as an accessible gateway from regular lagers to the diverse array of craft beers. Also, the passionate craft beer debate may often point to beers that well outshine Fat Yak’s flavour, quality and character profile, yet they are still struggling for a foothold in the local market. Matilda Bay’s next release, the gentler Munich Helles Lager, Big Helga, is yet to find the momentum of Fat Yak. Matilda Bay Marketing Manager, Jamie Fox, noted his disappointment with Helga’s recent sales performance.

Hence, with much work remaining to convert bland lager drinkers to real ales, the Matilda Bay campaign is an exciting development in craft beer recognition. The promotion and prize may have little to do with the beer itself, other than in name. However, much Fat Yak is likely to be consumed as drinkers seek the chance to win a prize that will provide an extraordinary story to tell their mates, and maybe one day their grandchildren, of the day they road a yak to glory in Mongolia.

How the competition works

Drinkers can collect unique codes from inside specially marked 6 packs and cartons of Fat Yak or by purchasing a glass or bottle of Fat Yak from a participating licensed venue, where you will receive an entry card with your purchase.

You then need to enter your unique code online at www.fatyak.com.au or by sending an SMS (maximum cost 55 cents (inc GST)) to 1977 7755, following the instructions provided on the promotional material.

Entries close on 31/03/11, with the winner drawn on 7/04/11.

The winner will receive

  • Return economy airfares from their nearest Australian capital city to Mongolia (exact destination to be specified by the Promoter);
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in a minimum 3 star hotel (of the Promoter’s choice) in Mongolia and 5 nights accommodation in Mongolian Ger camps;
  • Return transfers between the airport and the hotel;
  • Local guide and transport within Mongolia for the duration of the trip (as specified by the Promoter);
  • The cost of any visa/s required to visit Mongolia;
  • Travel insurance as selected by the Promoter; and
  • AUD$1,000 travel allowance.

(View the full Terms & Conditions here)

To learn more, visit the Fat Yak website (www.fatyak.com.au) and Matilda Bay Brewing Company Facebook page

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One Response to It’s Yak Racing Season

  1. Scott Vincent on February 28, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Blast I can’t enter. They will need someone to help..won’t they

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