Australian microbrewers gear up for Ballarat revenge

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th December 2011

The  Victorian regional city Ballarat will be the place many Australians will be on Saturday, January 21 2012 as they sample craft beers from all over Victoria plus a few more.

The one-day Ballarat Beer Festival  extravaganza will be showcasing  a multitude of craft beers from some of Victoria’s  world-class microbreweries.

Amongst them will be beers from :

Bridge Road Brewers; Broo Lager; Buckleys Beer; Coldwater Creek; The Good Brew Co; Hawthorn Brewing; Holgate Brew House; King Street Brewhouse; Kooinda Boutique Brewery; Matilda Bay; Mornington Brewery; Mountain Goat; Old Mout; Pipsqueak; Prickly Moses; Rebellion Brewery; Red Duck;Three Troupers; Tooborac; True South; White Rabbit.

History of  Growth of Little Guys

Ballarat has a long rich history of brewing beer that goes well back to its origins as the centre of what became  known as the Victorian goldrush of the 1850s, when Australia experienced its first major mining boom.

In those  pre-corporate days, most miners were digging  on their own  individual tenements, but most of them were unsuccessful or certainly far less successful in their pursuit of wealth than the publican-brewer families. By replenishing the thirsty miners under the hot Australian sun, these families soon prospered as their own hotel empires grew.

However by the time of the 1890s Depression, there were too many pubs and local brewers.  Mergers between family businesses became rampant. A company registered in 1895 amalgamated the hotels and breweries of  the Magill and Coghlan and Tulloch  families and became Ballarat Brewing. It was later taken over by Carlton and United Breweries, which became the world-famous giant Foster’s. As a Fosters subsidiary, its local identity in Ballarat was lost.

Revenge against the Bigger Corporate Beer Players

Since the recent sale of leading Australian beer brewer Foster’s to international beer giant SABMiller, local microbreweries  in Ballarat believe that Australian drinkers are going to return to their roots by switching to the local brews.

With Australia’s best known brewery out of Australian ownership, local brewers are hoping people will shift away from the traditional mass market beers and be inspired by the young local ales that will make Ballarat famous again as the birthplace of famous Australian beers.

One of the local brewers,  based in the nearby town of Beaufort, is reported as saying that sales at their boutique brewery increased by about 20 per cent last year.

American  Figures Display Trend to Local Brews

According to recent statistics from the United States, sales of ‘craft beer’ rose 16.4% in 2011, despite the fact that the U.S. beer industry struggled overall with a 2% drop in sales by volume and 17.5% drop by sales dollars turnover.