A Twitter exchange between a State Government backbencher and Opposition Leader has prompted a new campaign to showcase local beer across WA.
When Upper House MP Darren West and the Member for Riverton, Mike Nahan, were trading barbs in cyberspace there was a reference to the support for the retention of Emu Export on the Parliament Dining Room menu. West has since deleted his social media account – but not because of this battle.
The claim immediately caught the eye of the WA Brewers Association committee, which promptly requested a meeting with both politicians to discuss the likelihood of the House on the Hill stocking beers made closer to home.
While still considered a local beer icon after being part of the old Swan Brewery empire that once ruled the State, Emu Export is now a brand under the Lion banner and made in Adelaide. It sits alongside Corona on the Parliament House dining room beer fridge.
With the assistance of Madam President of the Legislative Council, Kate Doust, WABA will get another chance to press its argument when it this evening hosts MPs from both chambers for a special WA beer showcase based on the motto, Drink West, Drink Best. The session will operate during the dinner break recess for both chambers.
Brands such as Beerland, Gage Roads, Otherside, Nail, Black and Billabong will dominate the Parliamentary Dining Room fare to encourage local MPs to provide more support to the local industry, which now features 72 breweries stretching from Broome to Esperance.
WABA has been working with the State Government on assistance for local breweries when WA introduces a container deposit scheme in 2020. The 10c rebate will force an increase in packaged beer prices.
However, the two-hour session with the politicians of all persuasions is also aimed at convincing the bipartisan WA Parliament food and beverage committee to stock more local product on tap and on the dining room shelves.
Wouldn’t it be a great fillip for WA that when international dignitaries are entertained at Parliament House they experience the true taste of the State. WABA president Dan Turley hopes a few samples of award-winning beers can change a few lawmakers’ minds.
“Hopefully we can get their attention for an hour or so, show them what we do really well and get them to get behind WA beer,” Dan said.
“We’d also like the chance to talk about the CDS, how they can help small businesses – because most of us are in that category – and also look at some tourism ideas they can help with.
“Of course we want to educate them a bit about how strong the WA beer industry is. Raising that Drink West, Drink Best awareness might get a few beers on the menu, too.”
Supporting the push for home WA brews to be served at Parliament House is new State Government legislation passed in December.
The WA Jobs Act insists all government agencies strive to procure local products for goods and services to help boost employment across the State.
This has been a point WABA has been making to an odium of politicians during individual meetings in recent months.
WABA estimates local breweries generate around $100 million in economic benefit to the State each year. The Association believes there are 350 full-time equivalent staff working in the brewhouses.