A brand new $35m facility is enabling Tribe Breweries to take its craft beer export ambitions to the next level, as co-founder Stefan Szpitalak explains.
What drove the thinking behind building a new brewery and how will it impact on Tribe’s operations?
The facility allows Tribe to compete on a global scale in the economics of selling exported craft beer.
It also allows us to give security to any potential partners that we have the infrastructure to cater for and provide one of the most flexible brewing facilities in Australia.
This flexibility allows us to enter any segment of overseas markets except the local brewer larger category. The facility puts us above and beyond most partners around the world, because flexibility is the key.
You have already dabbled in exports. How interested are Asian markets in Australian craft beer brands?
I always liked travelling and was very fortunate to be well-travelled prior to starting up this division.
Thailand was really our first taste of what exports can do and how much potential it can offer.
At the moment we’re exporting into Singapore, Thailand, and China. We are in talks with distributors in Philippines, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
The Asian markets are really interested in Australian craft beer, but we do have a lot of work to do to get to be considered a leader in this space compared to the US brands.
Australia has an amazing reputation in food and beverage – any Australian brand is considered very high end. All in all, we’re quite highly regarded once we take them through any of our brands and products.
What are your hopes for your Chao Siam brand?
Through Tribe’s partnership with BB&B, the company has created a nationally distributed Thai beer with a range that has been specifically developed for the local Thai market, including a Wit Bier and an IPA.
The plan for Chao Siam is be in the top three craft beer brands at the end of the craft beer growth cycle in Thailand. Thai people love craft beers and there’s a lot of education that needs to be done due to the infancy of this segment in the country.
The growing pain in craft is about converting traditional beer into a more flavoursome, unique, and more expensive style of beer, and I want Chao Siam to be the contributor to converting those domestic drinkers.