Victoria’s brewers will soon join their wine making colleagues by being able to promote and sell their produce at an unlimited number of farmers’ markets, shows and festivals to promote their wines and beers without having to obtain a temporary licence.
In a move that will cut some of the red tape associated with selling beer, the state’s Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said the new producer’s licence would replace the current vignerons’ licence and will be available to businesses:
- growing their own fruit and making their own liquor or financially responsible for liquor production
- buying fruit grown by someone else and producing their own liquor or financially responsible for liquor production
- brewing their own beer.
The new licence will also enable producers to attend an unlimited number of farmers’ markets, shows and festivals to promote their wines and beers without obtaining additional temporary licences.
“The new producer’s licence is designed specifically for Victoria’s wine and beer industry and for the first time will enable wine and beer makers to showcase their products around the state without having to pay for additional licences,” Mr Robinson said.
“Victoria is home to world-class winemakers and a growing craft brewery sector and we want to support their ongoing development by reducing unnecessary licensing regulation.”
He said the government had consulted with the wine and beer industries on the development of the new licence category.
The changes to the law are a big step in addressing some of the disadvantages faced by small brewers compared to wine makers nationally. Campaigns are on in other states to similarly redress the disadvantages. For example, in Queensland winemakers and wine merchants are granted special concessions to sell their own wine and wine made by others at food shows and markets through special ‘satellite licences’. In some states anomalies create the ridiculous situation where wineries can sell beer but the brewery that makes it can’t without obtaining a separate licence.
The exclusion of small brewers from these concessions renders it almost impossible for small brewers to attend major consumer education events, such as the Good Food & Wine Show, because they are unable to sell their products.
The Victorian State Government is consistently one of the most supportive governments for craft beer in Australia. Regional Development Victoria has produced four editions of The Beer Lover’s Guide to Victoria’s Microbreweries in association with the Victorian Association of Microbrewers Inc (VAMI), as well as increasingly supporting the new market segment of beer tourism through Tourism Victoria. It is unsurprising that Victoria has the most vibrant craft beer culture in Australia.
The Victorian producer licence will be available from 2012.