Can you imagine Nike, Pacific Brands and the Redback Boot Company working together to design and manufacture a new footwear product and then sell it under their collective brands? What about McDonalds, Grill’d and Joe’s Extreme Burger Corner Shop collaborating to release a new gourmet burger together?
The possibility of such collaborations is nothing short of laughable in today’s highly competitive brand-based market economy. Many would question the intention of a joint venture between a massive multinational company, a national level producer and a tiny independent start-up business to produce a new product for their shared market. Speculation would be rife that the multinational’s support for collaboration would be to help them eventually squash or take over their small competitors.
One industry that celebrates the spirit of collaboration is craft brewing. In the growing niche market of craft beer Australian small breweries are willing to share experiences, resources and customers to produce collaborative products. Their intention is often driven by the simple desire to craft a new unique beer that will help further the appreciation for flavoursome and characterful beer. One example of this is the “let’s brew together because we’re neighbours” philosophy of the Abbotsford Collaboration.
Last Friday afternoon the second ‘Abbey Collabey’ was brewed ahead of its tapping for Good Beer Week. This unique collaborative brew brings together the three neighbouring breweries in Melbourne’s inner eastern suburb of Abbotsford – the multinational owned Carlton United Breweries (represented by Matilda Bay Brewing Company), one of the nation’s largest independent craft brewers in Mountain Goat Brewery and the tiny start-up passion project of Moon Dog Craft Brewery. They are three breweries of significantly different size, age, business models, market share…everything!
This Abbotsford brewing collaboration began last year, resulting in a Belgian dubbel brewed with waffles and raisins that was kegged and sent to several Melbourne venues for the first Good Beer Week festival in May.
This year the three brewing companies have returned to the Mountain Goat Brewery to craft an imperial stout. The team of Josh Uljans and Karl van Buuren from Moon Dog, Neil Whittorn from Matilda Bay and Dave Bonighton of Mountain Goat worked together throughout Friday afternoon and evening to brew a big new beer. Their time was interlaced with sharing beers and chatting with the Friday night punters at Mountain Goat. Beers consumed included the new Mountain Goat and Mikkeller collaboration, a Black Pepperberry IPA, as well as Mountain Goat’s new Saison.
Abbotsford Collaboration Brew #2 has taken its lead from a massive 17% imperial stout currently under development by Moon Dog and previewed at the recent Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase. The collaboration beer will have a complex character or smoke and woody elements and an ABV of around 10-11%. It is the biggest beer to ever have been brewed by the Mountain Goat brewery, which is now possible due to the new larger brewhouse.
All the brewers were very happy with the result of the brew day, which required less manual work than last year thanks to some modern automation provided by the new Mountain Goat brewhouse.
The day ended with the Moon Dog and Matilda Bay brewers all sporting new Mountain Goat t-shirts in a display of friendly competition commonly seen at the end of football matched when rivals swap guernseies.
The new collaborative beer will be launched at the Mountain Goat Brewery on Wednesday 16th May. The event is part of the 2012 Good Beer Week festival and will also feature rare guest beers on tap.