Stone & Wood has joined the growing number of breweries adding Packaged On dates to its beers in a move it says is designed to provide greater transparency for consumers.
Starting this week, the brewery is stamping the ‘Packed Date’ (PKD), in addition to the ‘Best Before Date’ (BBD) onto its beer bottles in a move it says is to ensure quality.
Stone & Wood’s Head of Production, Richard Crowe said in a media release that as more drinkers are becoming informed and interested in the freshness of their beer, the brewery believes it’s the right time to add the PKD.
“In everything that we do, we have the drinker in mind and quality as a key focus. With different breweries using different time frames for BBDs and the rising knowledge around the challenges of buying fresh beer, we’re keen to provide transparency,” Richard said.
The brewery said it regularly tastes its beers from stock specifically retained for the purpose of testing its freshness period. This ongoing sensory analysis allows them to see and monitor how the beer is handling the aging process from PKD to BBD.
“Through the testing we do, we are confident and proud to stand behind our beers, knowing that those within that date range are fresh and tasting good.”
The move sees Stone & Wood join a growing band of brewers, including recently-crowned Champion Small Brewery Black Hops and imports such as Stone Brewing, acknowledging the date their beers are packaged.
With breweries free to choose their own Best Before dates and no industry standard to determine how it is assessed, use of that date doesn’t give consumers the ability to gauge the age of a beer prior to purchase. Some breweries use a date of as little as three months, some imported beers use dates in excess of 18 months.
Crowe said Stone & Wood had opted for 270 days for its Best Before date.
“Most brewers [are] operating 9-12 months. We stand by beer up to 270 days and extensive sensory helps us to inform those decisions,” he said.
At the recent Radio Brews News panel discussion on the topic during Good Beer Week, Endeavour Drinks Group Quality & Sustainability Manager Diarmaid O’Mordha said the group, which includes Dan Murphy’s and BWS, supported the trend.
“I think a Packed On date is great, but it would have to be accompanied by a Best Before date,” he said.
“It’s really good news for the customer to pick up a beer and know when it was brewed.”
In the same panel Stone & Wood’s Richard Crowe said that Packed On dates play to a particular segment of the market.
“Our rationale is that Packed On dates play to informed consumers and retailers, while there’s a vast majority who is familiar with the Best Before term,” he explained.
“In the end we feel we will disclose more information and that can only be good.”