There is no shortage of beer bars springing up across Australia these days, which is absolutely fantastic. But one thing that gets me excited these days is the larger, more traditional, hotel groups getting into craft beer. To me it is a sign that craft beer is being taken to the mainstream rather than going through a process of being mainstreamed. By that I mean going through the process of trashing flavour or trying to associate the ‘craft’ tag with mainstream beer. The more mainstream venues that take on craft, hopefully the more we’ll see craft move out from the niches and into a more mainstream setting.
I’m not familiar with the hotels involved here, perhaps some of our Adelaide readers can report back. I’m also pretty sure The Wheaty isn’t going to be trembling in their boots at the craft competition, but it is a little exciting that a significant hotel group is getting into craft and seeing a real change in their business because of it. The Highway was apparently SA’s Best Hotel in 2012 and they report a huge boost in craft beer sales at the bar and bottleshop with a 145 per cent increase over the past 12 months.
While holding a beer festival seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment (and for all of the talk about craft brewery ‘bubbles’, I think we’re going to see a beer festival bubble first) it’s still great to see. If you’re in Adelaide this weekend, check out the first media release below.
What is even more interesting is that one of the group’s bottleshops is offering Coopers Vintage vertical tasting cases. My love of the Coopers Vintage – and in creating your own vertical tasting cellar – is well documented. But to get to be a pre-aged case with 4 consecutive vintages is great thinking and I haven’t heard of another bottleshop doing the same thing. There will be plenty who don’t agree with me, but $180 a case is steal for this…
If you get along to the festival this weekend, let us know how it goes. [MK]
ADELAIDIANS GET CRAFTY ABOUT THEIR BEER SELECTION
Move over wine – Craft Breweries Cash In On Refining Beer Palates
Likening beer tasting to wine tasting, beer drinkers are seeking to be educated about hops, bitterness scales (IBU) and regional influences and are turning to a bottle or can of craft beer over the regular pint of Carlton Draught.
The Highway, awarded SA’s Best Hotel in 2012 and owned by leading hotel group, The Palmer Hospitality Group has reported a huge boost in craft beer sales at the bar and bottleshop with a 145 per cent increase over the past 12 months.
According to The Highway’s General Manager, Simon Adami, the ‘refined craft beer palate’ trend will only continue to grow.
“Gone are the days of bar staff knowing what “the usual” is for their regular customers – they’re now ordering their beer based on where it’s brewed, the level of hops and most importantly, whether they have seen the label before or not,” said Mr Adami.
“It’s definitely become apparent that venues and bottleshops need to stock a wide range of craft beer and we’re starting to realize that the more obscure the label is, the more popular it will be.
“To meet the growing demand, where we used to have five or so craft beers on a single shelf, we now have to create an entire section dedicated to craft beer in excess of 150 lines,” continued Simon.
McLaren Vale Beer Company’s General Manager, Josh Stuart, has also seen the growth of the craft beer category spread across the country and describes Adelaide’s beer drinkers as ‘pioneers’.
“We find beer drinkers in Adelaide drink a lot more seasonally than the rest of the country. Being the biggest wine producing state – South Aussies are very deliberate in the seasonality of their grape choice.” Said Mr Stuart.
“Craft brewers are a passionate bunch and we want to educate beer drinkers about what they’re consuming, why it tastes the way it does and how it’s brewed,” concluded Mr Stuart..
McLaren Vale Beer Company will be among 20 other micro-breweries at The Highway for the inaugural Craft Beer Festival on March 16 and 17. For more details, visit www.thehighway.com.au.
LIMITED RELEASE: FOUR YEARS OF COOPERS VINTAGE ALE
Available to the public for the first time a carton of: 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Coopers Vintage Ale.
The Warradale Hotel boasts a collection of Coopers Vintage Ale dating back to 2009. Now, available to the public for the first time and not at any other retail liquor outlet is a vertical tasting case of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Coopers Vintage Ale.
Each year, Coopers Brewery release a limited amount of Coopers Vintage Ale cases. Thomas French, GM of the Warradale Hotel has been collecting 20 cases of this fine ale every year since 2009 to allow Adelaide beer drinkers the pleasure of experiencing a vertical tasting.
According to Thomas French, a vertical tasting “allows beer drinkers to compare the same product over a number of vintages”. This type of tasting is usually reserved for wine.
“A vertical tasting emphasizes the difference between vintages including external factors of climate and raw product quality in the production process. It also highlights how age affects the beer’s complexity and character” said Mr French.
When asked what prompted Mr French to begin collecting Coopers Vintage Ale, he said, “Consumer demand for unique experience based offers has increased exponentially and what’s more unique than a South Aussie, limited release beer?”
Glenn Cooper, Chairman, Coopers Brewery and National Sales Director, Premium Beverages said, “A vertical mixed case of Coopers Vintage Ale is a very rare offer and consecutive years of the product are becoming more and more scarce. This limited edition of Vintage Ales will more than likely become a collector’s item.”
Craft and specialty beer has seen a surge in growth over the past two years and now makes up over 15% of the Warradale Hotel’s bar sales. 20 Coopers Vintage Ale vertical tasting cases are available through the Warradale Hotel for $180 per case, call 08 8296 1019 for more information.