Budgets for marketing and promotion are often minuscule within Australia’s independent microbreweries. Generally, these small businesses first direct their capital to brewing infrastructure, packaging and licensing fees. Little finances then remain for anything more than basic promotional material that highlights the brewing company as a whole. This also means that marketing and promotion of seasonal and small batch beers are mostly non-existent.
This is certainly the case for Holgate Brewhouse, who recognise the promotional value of local awards and accolades. Their recent success at the Perth Royal Beer Show has provided a very timely boost for one of the favourite beers in-house at Holgate.
As noted in last week’s media release, the Holgate Brewhouse Hopinator Double India Pale Ale won two PRBS Trophies – Best Commercial Beer of the Show and Best Ale Packaged.
The Perth Royal Beer Show judges submissions from both commercial breweries and amateur brewers. Paul Holgate admitted to Australian Brews News that he had no idea how the Best Commercial Beer in Show trophy is award or judged (it is awarded to the highest scoring commercial beer overall). Regardless, he was thrilled to receive the recognition, especially for best packaged ale, against the likes of the recently all-conquering Feral Brewing, as well as Nail Brewing Australia and Mash Brewing. The trophies are especially noteworthy because it is rare at Australian beer shows for such a big style-bending beer, like an American Double Pale Ale, to win in a Best Ale category, let alone best overall beer.
The Hopinator’s gold medal qualities are highly regarded by Paul and his brewers. However, their beers were ultimately sent over to the competition with little expectation but as a way of gaining broader awareness and recognition of their product.
“We’re rapt to win”, said Paul, “the timing is perfect with Hopinator ready to be tapped at the brewery”.
Holgate have no resources to promote their speciality releases – such as Hopinator, Double Trouble and the currently brewing Nut Brown Ale – so the win in Perth generates some much needed attention.
Hopinator is brewed as a winter seasonal and a large number of kegs were recently filled to supply the Holgate pub’s rotating seasonal tap.
“We are just waiting for the summer seasonal – the Road Trip IPA – to finish and then the Hopinator is going on. So to win this award is a good thing for the brewery,” noted Paul following the announcement of the Perth awards.
Hopinator is a common favourite of beer enthusiasts who visit the Holgate Brewhouse at Keatings Hotel in Woodend, Victoria. It was introduced into the Holgate range three years ago, inspired by American Double IPAs such as Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.
Described by Paul as a “a bit of fun for both the brewers and drinkers”, the malt driven profile of Hopinator sets it apart from other Australian brewed Double IPAs. Caramel sweetness helps to balance the hoppy bitterness of this rich yet clear 7 per cent beer.
“It seems to be one of those beers that really captures peoples’ imaginations,” said Paul, “so it’s had a solid following from the start”.
The Holgate brewing team have been tweaking the Hopinator recipe over the last 12 months. They lightened the malt a little, played around with the mash stage and altered the way they balanced the hops. Balancing such a big beer is no easy feat, especially when the brewing schedule includes seven separate hop additions. American Amarillo, Citra, Chinook and Centennial hops are included in the Hopinator brew.
“We didn’t want it to be so bitter,” Paul said. “And now the resinous quality of the hops is coming through more”.
With this new recipe and a fresh gold medal around its neck, Holgate Brewhouse hope to see Hopinator now gain more fans across Australia.
Draught Hopinator is now on tap at the Holgate Brewhouse and can be found around Melbourne’s good beer bars such as Biero and Beer DeLuxe. Bottled Hopinator is available year round through craft beer retail outlets, including a recently added regular shipment up to Sydney.