The clustering of wineries in a particular region has been critically important to that industry, said Rob Leith, senior analyst at Deloitte Access Economics.
“This is something that didn’t used to matter so much in beer, but now it’s becoming more and more important,” he said.
“We’re seeing the emergence of beer trails across the country, so this is where the region itself markets its beer businesses together, which elevates the status of the brand.
“It also gives opportunities for scale through shared infrastructure, so where wine has bottling plants or crushing plants, we’re now seeing opportunities for craft beer to do the same, possibly through bottling.”
Place of origin
Leith said the second lesson from the wine industry was the strong ties it has to its place of origin.
“When you pick a bottle of wine, one of the first or second things you look for is where it’s come from… it also plays to consumers’ strong interest in provenance,” he said.
Provenance is another way for breweries to differentiate their brands – aside from unique label design – Parallax Design founder Matt Remphrey told the conference.
“Winemakers, they know their growers… This connection of farm through to bottle is very, very important in wine, and it’s also becoming more and more important in food,” he said.
“Do you know who grows your hops? Have you spoken to them? Do you know the soil structure of the land that the hops grew on and the barley grew on?” he asked.
“Do you know the geology underneath it and how old it is? These are all things that are becoming increasingly more important in wine as part of their communication and as part of what differentiates one brand from another.
“It might be something that the beer industry can also look at, because the big commercial brewers don’t really care about that, but the little guys might be able to do that,” Remphrey said.
Raw materials and health
In his opening keynote, Professor Charlie Bamforth said brewers should learn from the way the wine industry champions its raw materials.
“They’ve only got one raw material and my god can they BS about that raw material,” he said in his opening keynote.
“We’ve got malt, hops, yeast and water, just for starters. We can celebrate these things, and so we should celebrate these things.”
He said brewers can also rightfully celebrate the healthfulness of the product they make, when consumed in moderation.
“We have confirmed that beer is the richest source of silica in the diet, and this cuts down the risk of osteoporosis,” he said.
“The next best source is muesli/granola – you choose how you want to get your silica!”
Bamforth said beer also contains other minerals, as well as antioxidants, B vitamins (especially folic acid) and prebiotics.
“It is a healthful food but still people perceive wine as being healthier,” he said.
Brews News hosts A Beer with Charlie Bamforth, presented by Bintani, this Saturday August 5 in Brisbane. Tickets are available by clicking here.