Aussie craft beer champions call for authenticity seal

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Producing a folksy brew is not enough for Australian craft beer drinkers: it must also come from an authentic, independent brewery.

That's according to the biggest publicly available survey of tastes in craft beer Down Under, which took into account the opinions of 17,000 consumers. 

It found that 64% of craft aficionados wanted to know a brewery's ownership, while 99% said they preferred to buy their beer from and independent, Australian-owned brewery. 

In comparison just a quarter were happy to buy craft beer from a large multi-national company and a third from supermarket-owned brands.

The 2017 Australian Craft Beer Survey, by craft retailer Beer Cartel, also showed strong interest for a seal to identify whether a beer is from an independent Australian brewery, with eight out of 10 respondents indicating that such a device would have a medium to large impact on the beer they purchase.

The A740m (UD$594m) craft beer segment is the only part of the Australian beer market which is in continuous growth, with overall consumption of beer in decline.

Indeed, industry researcher IBISWorld estimates craft production has been growing at an annual rate of nearly 10%. 

Consumed by 92% of craft beer drinkers Australia-wide, Pale Ale reigns as the most popular craft beer style, the Beer Cartel survey found.

Pirate Life was voted Australia’s best craft brewery, ahead of Feral Brewing, which took the top position in last year’s study.

Ownership appears to matter because it is part of the story that is unique to each individual craft brewery. It is part of the brewery's heritage; being owned by real people, rather than a corporate giant​,” the report said.

When it comes to craft beer brands produced for large supermarket-owned bottleshops like Dan Murphy’s and First Choice, just 32% of respondents were happy to buy these. Likewise, only 23% were happy to buy brews produced by Australia's multi-national corporations such as Lion and Carlton United.

Having tested opinions on whether a designated craft beer seal would inform beer choice, 82% of respondents said it would. Not long after the survey began, the American Brewers Association and the Society of Independent Brewers in the United Kingdom both released their own independent brewery seals.

This reiterates drinkers willingness to buy beer from an 'Australian independent brewery' and a reluctance to buy beer from a supermarket brand or large corporation that is sold as 'craft beer'​,” Beer Cartel said.

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