Brewery boom could lead to eventual beer bust

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 29th January 2018

Concern for the sustainability of Australian breweries and pubs has been made by industry insiders as new research has found breweries are opening across the country at high frequency.

Brewing historian, Dr Brett J. Stubbs, researching on behalf of beer publication Australian Brews News, found an average of one pub was opened in Australia throughout 2017.

Queensland saw the highest number of brewery openings across the year with 17 new establishments opened.

Victoria had 11 openings, New South Wales nine, Western Australia five, South Australia four, ACT two and Tasmania one.

2017’s new breweries join the 46 breweries opened in Australia in 2014, and the 57 opened both in 2015 and 2016, bringing Australia to a new record high of close to 400 breweries.

Although the news may be good news for beer drinkers after a bit of variety, Brews News Editor James Atkinson, is questioning if all the new breweries are going to thrive.

“People increasingly want to drink beers that are brewed locally, by businesses they can have a more tangible connection with, Atkinson said.

“At the same time, one brewery opening roughly every week is not sustainable. We have already seen a few closures and businesses put up for sale in the previous 12 months.

“Is the long-predicted shakeout of the craft beer sector coming, or has it already started?”

Australian brewery scene mirroring overseas market

Founder of Australian Brews News, Matt Kirkegaard, said breweries are undergoing a boom internationally, so Australia is very much reflecting what is occurring elsewhere in the world.

“The US which is home to arguably the largest brewing boom, with the number of breweries tripling over the past six years to more than 700,” Kirkegaard said.

Concerns for traditional bars

“It’s reached the point where research recently indicated that the growth in brewery bars is putting pressure on traditional bars as drinkers choose to enjoy a beer at a brewery rather than a bar,” Kirkegaard said.

“With many of Queensland’s pubs opening brewery bars as well, we could see older-style pubs start to struggle as drinkers change their habits here as well.”


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