A Pacific Ale looks set to enter the 4 Pines portfolio, the brewery having wasted little time in exercising the trade mark rights enjoyed by its new owner AB InBev.
The Pacific Ale is among the line-up of beers featured in a photograph of the new 4 Pines Bar at the SCG, which launches Friday April 20.
And in contrast to other beers employing that moniker, 4 Pines’ offering is a mid-strength product, co-founder Jaron Mitchell revealed to Brews News.
He said 4 Pines has been working on a mid-strength for some time now, and the favoured version most closely resembled other beers on the market labelled Pacific Ale, given the contributions of wheat malt, yeast haze and all-Australian hop bill.
4 Pines Pacific Ale is 3.5 per cent ABV and hopped with Galaxy and Enigma. Mitchell said the brewer’s Indian Summer Ale, which is hopped with Galaxy and the Kiwi variety Nelson Sauvin, is like its big brother in the range.
He confirmed that 4 Pines is free to use the name Pacific Ale, regardless of court proceedings still on foot between Stone & Wood and Thunder Road.
This is because its parent AB InBev has retained rights over ‘pacific’ given its ownership of Mexican beer brand Pacifico and local subsidiary CUB’s ownership of ‘Pacific Beverages’.
Stone & Wood is the only other brewery given dispensation by CUB to use ‘pacific’ on a beer.
CUB has previously exercised its rights on the release of Wild Yak Pacific Ale in 2016.
Kolsch becomes Draught Ale
The other noticeable change in the 4 Pines line-up is that its flagship Kolsch has been rebranded as simply Draught, subtitled as a ‘Kolsch-style ale’.
In an earlier interview, Jaron Mitchell told Brews News that this decision had predated the AB InBev takeover.
“That was definitely us. It almost coincided with the timing of the acquisition, but it actually wasn’t [related] at all.
“We’ve actually got some really good kolsch education stuff coming out for the off-premise channel at the moment, because people just don’t know what a kolsch is.
“We’ve struggled with that for over a decade now. When people walk up to a bar and they’ve got a bunch of things to choose from, anything that makes them feel like they don’t know or a little bit silly or they can’t quite say it… it gives them a reason to not go for it.
“That beer is still the kolsch, no doubt about it, hence kolsch-style ale sits underneath it.
“People in Australia connect a ‘draught’ style beer with something that’s golden in colour and relatively low bitterness and a crisp finish, which is everything that the kolsch is.
“It hopefully gives us more of an opportunity to at least get people to begin to take that first step,” Mitchell said.