Little Creatures has put its flagship beer into cans and is set to sail into a new port as the Fremantle-raised brewery continues its international expansion.
For more than 15 years Little Creatures’ Pale Ale has been available in bottles, which, on first release, carried a bit more cache as glass was considered a superior package to cans.
But the tide has turned. Now the aluminium vessels have greater appeal among drinkers, particularly in the craft brewing sphere, so Little Creatures is testing the waters to determine if the new cans can continue to carry the brand in the busy beer market.
Cans are becoming the preferred choice because they keep out light, which can damage the beer, are quicker to cool, easier to transport, are lighter and don’t pose the problems that can be caused by broken glass.
For now, the Pale Ale cans are an experiment and have only been launched, albeit softly, on the west coast.
Feedback and sales data will determine whether the 355ml cans, ironically produced at Little Creatures’ Geelong operation, will go to other shores. The Pale Ale bottles are only 330ml.
Little Creatures Fremantle head brewer, Russ Gosling, said the demand for cans forced the company’s hand.
“We know that beer drinkers are increasingly looking for their favourite brands in cans,” Gosling said.
“We get requests from loyal Little Creatures fans all the time to roll out cans, and so we’re having a look at our current range and formats to determine which of our beers might work well in this popular packaging.
“At this stage, the team is excited to launch a limited run of Little Creatures flagship Pale Ale in cans in its home market of WA.”
It isn’t the first time Little Creatures have gone into aluminium.
Just over three years ago Dog Days Session Ale was a summer seasonal release in bottles. Within 12 months it was added to the permanent range but in cans.
Last year The Fuggle Is Real Stout cans hit the market for a short time. It is believed another Little Creatures staple, possibly the IPA, will be next in the new packaging.
But the Pale Ale has been the beer on which Little Creatures has become famous around the world so the shift in packaging is a significant move for such a recognisable craft brew.
And now it is London that is taking a lot more notice of the WA brewing institution, which has been owned by Lion since 2012.
Little Creatures has revealed it will “very soon” open a 557sqm microbrewery, taproom and restaurant in the UK capital’s King’s Cross area.
Toby Knowles, Lion Regional Director for UK and Europe, said the new brewery will showcase a selection of Little Creatures’ beers, as well as running special collaborations with London-based operations such as Fourpure Brewing Co, which was acquired by Lion last year. There will be an emphasis on matching food, which has been a feature of the brand.
The UK craft beer market is one of the world’s largest and the venue provides a bricks-and-mortar ‘home’ for Little Creatures. Nearby St Pancras International Station is the platform from which the Eurostar train heads into Europe so there is also the chance to make an impact on international visitors to London.
The on-site six hectolitre capacity microbrewery will operate at the facility, which is situated in the King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard development.
“Our aim for this venue is to further enrich the UK craft community, meeting the rising demand for diverse, premium craft experiences,” Knowles said.
“Following the success of recent site launches in Asia, we can’t wait to introduce Little Creatures to UK consumers and to establish a spiritual home for the brand in London.”
What originally started in an old crocodile farm near Perth’s port in 2000, Little Creatures has gone from strength-to-strength overseas in recent years, increasing its presence with venues now in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Taipei.
Another facility will open in San Francisco later this year.
“London has been home to a real renaissance in world-class craft breweries in recent years and it’s exciting to bring Little Creatures to such a vibrant market,” Knowles said
The address for the London venue is 1 Lewis Cubitt Walk, N1C 4DL.