Editor’s Note: When I was in Australia a couple of years ago, I ended up drinking more than a few quality craft beers at Harts Pub (an excellent beer and burger bar in downtown Sydney). I also ended up in a interesting conversation with some locals about how all Australians thought American’s drank Bud Light and all American’s thought Australian’s drank Fosters — and eventually how both perceptions weren’t really true. Those good times came to mind when Sydney-based Australian Brewery sent over this story about similar beer preference misconceptions. Teaser: Look out for our feature on Australian hops next week written by Dan Shaw, head brewer from the Australian Brewery.
For years, Australia’s beer flag has been flown abroad by one beer. An iconic brew that epitomizes the land down under like shrimps on a barbie or Skippy, the bush kangaroo. Yep, Fosters is the beer of choice for Aussies abroad and at home. Unless you ask an Aussie, that is.
Not only is Fosters not a big seller in Australia, but an even more ironic fact from the Fosters farce is that it is not even brewed in Australia, making it not really Australian at all. For international beer lovers, this has many feeling a little duped. Feeding this distrust further, the Foster’s Group was acquired by the world’s largest multinational brewing company AB InBev last year.
Head brewer from the Australian Brewery, Dan Shaw, is one of many trying to dispel the myth surrounding our beer culture, particularly our love of basic bitter brews that have been touted as a symbol of Australia, when in fact our palate has been evolving and expanding with the rest of the world.
“For a long time, the Australian beer market was dominated by commercial beer companies that didn’t stray outside the norm,” Shaw explained. “However, over the last 30 years we have seen a huge increase in the craft of beer making, and as a result, we have witnessed the development of many micro and craft breweries who take pride in their brews and push the boundaries rather than rely on tired marketing campaigns.”
“Foster’s Lager was first imported into the UK in 1971 and launched in the U.S. in 1972,” Shaw continued. “It is time for the marketing campaign pushing it as the face of Australian beer to end.”
As the demand for craft brews in Australia grows, so does the market for Australian-style hops and flavors. Over the years, southern hemisphere hop varieties have grown in popularity, with Tasmania and Victoria being ideal hop growing environments and many hop varieties with inviting and unique flavor profiles have been born from the regions. Galaxy hops is one such success story to come from Australia and is exported internationally, praised for its floral and tropical fruit notes, but there are many more on the rise and in demand.
So, with such a promising and exciting future for the Australian beer industry, we think it is time to retire the old Fosters Aussie rhetoric. It doesn’t reflect where we are today as a beer culture and there are plenty more golden drops of bliss that would better represent Australia. Australian Brewery has recently expanded to the United States and provides some refreshing Fosters alternatives, including their Saison D’Heretique, Pale Ale and New World Pilsner