[update – listen to Brendan Varis discuss Craft Beer Limited and it’s aims here. Brendan starts at 27:00)
After years of waiting, Australia’s smaller breweries finally have a unified voice with the official launch of a national body to represent the craft brewing industry.
Craft Beer Limited, which has been in development since early this year, has finally gone live and is encouraging Australia’s smaller brewers to join in to ensure and accelerate the growth of craft beer.
The body has been driven by a steering committee comprising:
- Brad Rogers & Jamie Cook – Stone & Wood
- Brendan Varis – Feral Brewing Company
- Dave Bonighton – Mountain Goat
- Miles Hull – Little Creatures
- Owen Johnston – Moo Brew
- Adam Trippe-Smith & Bruce Peachey – McLaren Vale Beer Company
The body has set itself a variety of goals, including:
- Growing the size of the category in the next five years from 2% to 5% of total beer volume.
- Ensuring that the microbrewers and regional craft brewers grow in line with the category (i.e. more than double their share of volume).
- Increasing penetration and frequency of craft beer consumption amongst alcohol drinkers.
- Increasing the on-premise access for craft beer resulting in increased ranging / distribution.
After years of grappling with definitions of exactly what is craft beer, CBL has opted to define an Australian Craft Brewer as, “A brewer based in Australia producing less than 25 million litres of beer per annum.”
Four categories of brewer are provided for under the association: National Craft Brewers, Regional Craft Brewers, Micro-brewers and Nano and Pub Brewers. This sets the eligible brewery size as many times larger than Little Creatures which is regarded as the fourth largest brewing operation in the country, behind Fosters/SABMiller, Lion (Kirin), and Coopers. To give an indication of the market size, despite being the fourth largest entity, Little Creatures owner, Little World Beverages, claims only 0.5% of the national beer market. The volume definition therefore allows for considerable growth in the craft beer market.
The definition excludes Australia’s largest locally owned brewery, Coopers, which produces in excess of 60 million litres per year. The definition would include wholly owned but independent brewing entities such as Malt Shovel Brewery (Lion Nathan) and Matilda Bay (Fosters).
The purely volume-based definition departs from the widely known US Brewers Association definition, which considers ownership and brewing methods in addition to size. The Australian definition reflects the difficulty that has been experienced in adequately creating a definition for the local market that unifies all participants. The approach that has been taken recognises that Australia has been without a body representing smaller brewers for too long already and that further delay will do more to retard the industry than a more refined definition will enhance it.
The volume-based definition still offers all small breweries the ability to differentiate themselves and their individual strengths within the market, while still unifying a disparate group of brewers who together still only constitute less than 3 per cent of the total beer market.
Memberships are also open to groups and individuals who are not themselves brewers but are keenly interested in beer, including as home brewers, beer writers, bloggers, bar staff, sommeliers and bottle shop staff.
The website for the association will be at www.craftbeer.org.au.
In the meantime you can ‘Like’ them at www.facebook.com/