• (Image Source: Getty Images)
    (Image Source: Getty Images)
  • CUB's Abbotsford Brewery head brewer Sarah Laing and Wimmera barley farmer John Bennett - working with Asahi Beverages and its initiative to purchase barley direct from farmers.
    CUB's Abbotsford Brewery head brewer Sarah Laing and Wimmera barley farmer John Bennett - working with Asahi Beverages and its initiative to purchase barley direct from farmers.
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On International Beer Day (today), CEO of the Brewers Association of Australia (BAA) John Preston says it is about recognising not just how great beer is, but everyone who works in the industry.

In Australia, the beer industry generates $16 billion, with 85 per cent of what’s on the market being grown, made, and consumed onshore.

According to IBISWorld, the market size is around $5 billion, with 856 businesses operating in the industry.

Preston said brewers purchase around $500 million of agricultural products every year and directly support 3000 farm jobs.

“It’s been a challenging time for the Australian brewing and hospitality sectors. Australian beer is the key product for most pubs round the country and our hospitality sector is still rebuilding after the pandemic.

“As cost-of-living pressures hit the hip pocket, the fact the beer tax has just gone up by the biggest amount in over 30 years means it’s more difficult for people to head out and enjoy a beer at their local,” Preston said.

According to Alcohol Beverages Australia, around a third of the hospitality industry lost their jobs in 2020/21 during Covid, with around $8.5 million lost in sales.

Preston said Australia is taxed more on beer than most other countries, with close to 20 increases in beer tax in the last decade.

“Sadly, we’re now seeing the impact as pub patrons will soon be faced with the prospect of regularly paying around $15 for a pint at their local.

“For a small pub, club or other venue the latest tax hike will mean an increase of more than $2,700 a year in their tax bill – at a time when they are still struggling to deal with the on-going impacts of the pandemic,” he said.

Online financial brokerage firm Savvy’s The State of Craft Beer in Australia 2022 report found there had been 17.7 per cent growth in total craft beer revenue in the last two years, and 14.1 per cent of total beer revenue was held by craft breweries. Most brewers were producing around 100,000 litres a year.

Preston said, “Celebrating Australian beer is also about celebrating our farmers who produce the barley and hops that make our beer so special and our hospitality sector which does so much to bring us together,” Preston said.  

Brewing giant Lion estimates it generates around $4.9 billion to the Australian and New Zealand economies and pays more than 41 billion in taxes annually.

It sources more than 100,000 tonnes of barley every year from 1000 Australian farmers.

Last year, Asahi Beverages announced it was overhauling its supply chain to purchase barley directly from farmers, with 30,000 tonnes from Victorian farmers for its Abbotsford Brewery in Melbourne, and 40,000 tonnes from New South Wales farmers for its Yatala Brewery in Queensland. Yatala is Australia’s largest brewery, producing VB, Carlton Dry and Pure Blonde.

CUB's Abbotsford Brewery head brewer Sarah Laing and Wimmera barley farmer John Bennett - working with Asahi Beverages and its initiative to purchase barley direct from farmers.
CUB's Abbotsford Brewery head brewer Sarah Laing and Wimmera barley farmer John Bennett.
(Image source: Asahi)

 

 

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