In Drinks - Beer by Clyde Mooney

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Lion is again moving with the times with its release of the gluten-free Hahn Ultra Crisp, tapping another market with another Hahn variant.

Launched this week, Ultra Crisp is a carefully crafted full-strength (4.2 per cent ABV) beer with lower carbs, no preservatives, and ingredients that are naturally gluten-free. It was created using a ground-breaking multi-million dollar brewing process five years in the making.

Lion’s brewing research and development director, Jeff Potter, says the new brew was driven by demand, and is the first beer created in Australia entirely from rice. The challenge was reportedly making the product taste great without the traditional grains that typically produce the recognised flavours of beer, such as wheat and barley. 

“Once we figured that out, it was a matter of creating the perfect combination with aromatic hops and a specially chosen yeast, and the result is a crisp, dry beer with light citrus aromas and a clean finish that holds its own when it comes to flavour,” says Potter.

Brand director for classic and contemporary beers, Amy Darvill, says Ultra Crisp continues Hahn’s 31-year tradition of market innovation, such as the successful Hahn Premium, Premium Light, and Super Dry, which was now a dozen years ago.

Ultra Crisp is endorsed by Coeliac Australia and sees additional rigorous testing to ensure no traces of gluten. One in ten Australians now avoid or limit gluten intake.

“Hahn Ultra Crisp will change consumer expectations around beer and bring hundreds of thousands of Australians with a gluten intolerance into the beer category. Our drinkers’ needs have changed, and we need to respond to them.”

Lion reports the current focus is to launch Ultra Crisp in bottles, but cite plans to introduce on draught in pubs in the future. Darville says on-premise remains a key environment for Lion.

“On-premise will always be an important channel for our business.

“Our research shows that pubs and clubs are an essential part of a sociable community and on average, one in ten people who visit on-premise venues and drink a beer will try a new beer for the first time, so it is a great opportunity to test the appeal of new products.

“Hahn has always been focused on innovating and making sure we are creating products that consumers want. We have seen increased demand from people of all age groups including Gen Y, looking for a lighter way to enjoy full strength beer, that also tastes great.”

L-R: Amy Darvill, Jeff Potter, James Brindley. Image: Jeremy Piper