Article supplied by Australian Brewery sales manager and craft beer enthusiast, David Ward.
The sustained consumer interest in the craft beer phenomenon suggests it is here to stay, and more stalwart suburban locals are finding a place for boutique beers out of their taps.
Pubs and bars in the inner west and CBD are well-known hotspots for craft beer, but for some time retail chains have been stocking craft beer in the suburbs, as consumers continue to get a thirst for more flavour in beer. Operators in the ‘burbs are following suit; we spoke to three venues leading the charge.
Nick Porter, licensee at Randwick’s DOG Hotel oversaw the introduction of a successful craft beer strategy from Surry Hills’ Keg & Brew Hotel when they purchased it in 2015. With 59 taps pouring craft beer in the large-format pub, getting the food offering in line with the beer was very important.
“Whether you offer craft beer or not, food quality and price in any pub is what brings people in and keeps bums on seats. There are so many good beers to choose from in the market that you can pair it with items on your menu or run specific promotions in line with food offerings.”
Managing so many different brewers and rotating, Porter reflects on what makes a good craft beer supplier.
“I think the best suppliers are the ones who are consistent in both product quality and service. Responsiveness and flexibility is also pretty important. There is no doubt that apart from our customers, suppliers are our most important stakeholders in the business.”
Brodie Parish, GM of Hillside Hotel in Sydney’s north-west, has seen the rise of easier drinking and more accessible craft beer work in his venue, and since opening Fire & Brimstone BBQ, sales of craft beer paired with food.
“Sessionable IPAs are moving well for us, at the moment. On the back of success we have had ranging the Australian Brewery All Star IPA we are adding Pirate Life’s Throwback IPA into the mix.
“Craft volumes through our rooftop bar where the smokehouse has taken over have doubled, with some lines tripling; overall volume is up 20 per cent. I see the growth being driven by the newer generations. They aren’t happy to accept things the way they have always been and are forcing the big brewers to up their game.”
Opening in 2017, High Street Social helped bring craft beer to the otherwise bare Penrith, in western Sydney. Venue manager Aodan Wilkinson has had to bring in a mix of craft beers that appeal to everyone to keep the beers flowing.
“Our bestselling styles are by far Lagers, Pale ales and Summer Ales, but we still get in and sell plenty of IPAs, including doubles and NEIPAs.”
Wilkinson also notes the importance of a strong food offering to pair with craft beers.
“With our food being predominantly burgers, pairing it with craft beer is a match made in heaven. There’s nothing better than sitting down to an amazing burger with a pint of great beer.”
As the growth of craft beer sees no sign of slowing, and a rapid proliferation of burgeoning breweries spur a re-energised movement of independent brewers driving awareness, Australia’s suburbs should expect to see more tasty beers on tap at locals everywhere.
Taken from the June edition of PubTIC Magazine, available to view online here. (requires Flash)