Update: It’s worth noting this update up front of the article. Since posting this, I have received a call from Patrick Ale, one of the guys behind this brand. We had a very good chat about all things beer.
Amongst other things Patrick just wanted to ensure that it was clear that they weren’t trying to hide the fact that the beer was contract brewed, something that I fully accept. Patrick has also agreed to come on Radio Brews News to have a chat about the business, their beer and their brand. Based on my brief chat with him, it will be a good podcast – watch out for it.
The article below mentions the Byron Bay brouhaha, but it in no way should suggest that Quiet Deeds is trying to pull the sort of swifty that CUB is pulling with Byron Bay…if nothing else, I am yet to hear from Ari Mervis or anyone else in CUB associated with the brand. What’s below are musings on contract brewing, not a go at what Patrick and David are doing. And, because for some reason I always get asked if there was a threat of legal proceedings whenever I post this sort of update – absolutely not. Patrick didn’t even ask for this clarification – we just had a good chat and I thought it fair based on our conversation. Matt
Quiet Deeds Pale Ale
I have been meditating a little of late on the reasons we buy the beers we do. This period of reflection came about as a result of the fixation I developed for Mr Mervis’ little non-Byron-Bay-made Byron Bay beer.
Throughout the course of that discussion, the thing that I found hardest to argue against was the suggestion that it doesn’t matter much to a beer where a beer is made or who owns the brewery.
At an intellectual level, I know this to be very true. And yet, beer choices are very often an emotional decision. So much money is spent on promoting ‘the brand’ that I know that there comes a point at which the beer in the bottle is less important than the brand that is created.
We buy our beer for many, many reasons and flavour is just one of them. What the label on the bottle represents can be just as important, if not more so, than the liquid in the bottle. (And to forestall the next barrage of emails and Facebook posts from beer aficionados assuring me that all that matters to them is flavour: Just keep telling yourself that. Science keeps telling me something different.)
Ironically, one of the clearest statements that I have seen about the factors driving the growth of small breweries at the moment came from SABMiller’s executive chairman:
“The consumer has gone back to saying, ‘Let’s get a bit of interest, let’s have a bit of difference. So, there’s been the growth of craft beer. But it’s also local, anti-marketing, anti-global, anti-big, and more focused on experience and knowing the brewer who produces it.”
While flavour has indeed a role to play in the growth of craft beer, many consumers are looking for more than just that. In fact, beer marketers know that consumers need a reason to even pick up the beer in the first place to even give the flavour a try.
This is where marketing comes in and having a label with a real (or, at a pinch, manufactured) provenance helps. Where a beer comes from, who makes it, the origin of the ingredients used all matter at some level to the consumer, if not to the beer.
This is where the contract-brewing-doesn’t-matter debate tends to fall apart. It really doesn’t matter much to the beer in bottle where it is made, but it can for their brand. If it didn’t matter I wouldn’t hear the constant refrain from brewers-who-contract, “we don’t hide the fact that we contract brew…we just don’t want to draw attention to it”.
There would be a lot less to say about contract brewing if more attention was drawn to the practice than less. If your brand has an authentic story or is a brand that resonates with beer drinkers, I’m not sure that being open about its origins would harm that. Being open certainly makes it seem less like it’s being hidden.
Anyway, that all a long way to get to the latest media release I have received for a new contract-brewed beer. Now, I have come to suspect I am the canary in the coal mine for these things and I may be more sensitive than many (too sensitive some might say), but when a media release for a new beer opens with the line:
While most beers these days are made from big-machines in big-factories (with a whole lot of nasties added), not all is lost …
my first question is going to be, “so, where does your beer come from then?”
And so when I received the media release below, I immediately (or to be perfectly accurate – 10 minutes later) replied to the PR agency to ask where it was brewed. Forty five hours and 10 exchanged emails later, and having been initially told it came from Melbourne, I was advised that:
Quiet Deeds is brewed at reputable independent contract brewing company – Brew Pack – http://www.brewpack.com.au/. As they grow their portfolio, Quiet Deeds one day hopes to home (sic) their own brewery but for now they are loving the current drop.
Brew Pack is absolutely a reputable, independent contract brewing company that make some very good and award-winning beers for others. At 50 hectolitres they are of a respectable size and I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that constitutes a big-factory with big machines in your book. But if you’re going to talk about what sort of brewery a beer doesn’t come from, it’s reasonable to expect that you also share where it does come from.
I gather that a sample is on its way to me, I will try it and form my own view – as I encourage you to do so as well. After all, you are – and will always be – the best judge of what you like.
One thing that we can do here at Brews News is research and so I can tell you that the two Melbourne lads who who ventured out to craft the beer are the directors of Red Island Pty Ltd, a premium beverage marketing company that distributes Rekorderlig Cider, Argentina’s Quilmes Beer and Isfjord gin and vodka.
Does any of this matter to the beer? That’s up to you, to decide. If you’re one of Graham Mackay’s anti-marketing beer drinkers, more focused on experience and knowing the brewer who produces it, maybe it will. It probably wouldn’t if you’re the sort of media drone who simply cut and past from the media release and post it unquestioningly.
One thing we can discuss though is naming conventions for breweries and beer companies. Is it fair to suggest that if you don’t own a brewery and don’t employ a brewer, that calling your business “brewing company” isn’t quite painting an accurate picture? Red Island Beer Company has a nice ring to it and could certainly help to avoid consumer misunderstandings.
But what would I know? I’m just a canary. [MK]
Quiet Deeds has just released its first Pale Ale!
While most beers these days are made from big- machines in big- factories (with a whole lot of nasties added), not all is lost …
Quiet Deeds Pale Ale represents a celebration of everything refined, amber & tasteful about life. A memorable beer with true substance & character, it was created with the righteous Aussie drinker in mind.
Using more traditional methods of brewing, Quiet Deeds has been created by two Melbourne lads, Patrick Alè & David Milstein, who ventured out to craft a beer that was tasteful, creative & bold. The end result is an Australian-made boutique beer as fresh & flavoursome as they come.
Quiet Deeds is a toast to the understated achiever in us all. But just because you’re humble, doesn’t mean you can’t pat yourself on the back or better yet shout yourself a beer!
We all hear about the deeds of a loudmouth; but it’s those with substance of character who perform the Quiet Deed – the deeds often unseen & unheard. Like keeping your shirt on at a music festival, even though you’re totally ripped; or pointing to someone else when the bartender asks ‘who’s next’.
Quiet Deeds celebrates these gestures & the silent do good-er in us all. As Quiet Deeds founder, Patrick Ale says, “We’ve created a beer for those who prefer to toast, rather than boast.”
The taste speaks for itself. To try the brew, get down to your nearest discerning drinking hole & grab a Quiet Deeds Pale Ale. Available in 4-packs & cases, you’re encouraged to shout your mates (or any fellow beer enthusiasts who happen to cross your path).