In putting this website together it became obvious that there are very few Beer Festivals taking place in Australia over the coming year. A search in our own Beer Festival Search Box reveals just 3 Beer Tasting events for 2009!
Why is this?
Australia is known for its love of beer. The national holiday, Australia Day, wouldn’t be the same without a set of bbq tongs in one hand and a cold stubbie in the other.
Want to make friends in Australia? Sit down at a bar, order a beer, and start talking to the bloke next to you. Beer is like the invisible glue that bonds most Australians together.
So, for a nation that is in love with beer why only 3 Beer Festivals?
I think the problem is twofold. Firstly, Australians are very parochial about their beer. If you’re a Queensander then you drink XXXX, a Victorian and you drink Victoria Bitter and so forth. Such loyalty to a brand allowed the second problem to develop; no competition. For too long the majority of the beer market in Australia has been owned by just two brewers: the Fosters Group and Lion Nathan.
When a population drinks just a handful of beers and the brewers are happy to supply just a handful of beers then it is no wonder there are very few Beer Festivals – what is there to celebrate?
It wasn’t always like this. In 1889 there were 307 breweries in Australia supporting a population of approximately 700,000. Now, that doesn’t mean there were 307 great beers to choose from. But the point is there was variety, (and there may have even been the odd Beer Festival!).
However, things are beginning to change in Australia. Walk into most bottle shops around Australia and you will find beers with names like Bare Foot Radler, Barons Original Ale and Matilda Bay Fat Yak. We haven’t come far from the heady days of 1889 but at least we are moving in the right direction!
So, this is my ‘call to arms’. For all the Australian readers of this Blog if you know of an Australian Beer Festival or Beer Tasting event that is taking place in your hometown then please add it to our Database of Beer Festivals and send out the invitations!
Let’s start to put Aussie beers on the map and who knows…
…maybe we will even have our very own ‘Great Australian Beer Festival’ in the near future!