We at CBB focus mostly on what’s happening here in America, which is really the heart of the craft beer revolution, but good beer business knows no borders and there are some interesting headlines coming in from around the globe. We gathered a few of the latest here for your perusal.
Australia’s beer industry investigation going nowhere
One thing that can unite brewers in any land: Rallying against the forces of Big Beer. Despite small victories here and there, it seems like the big battles keep going its way. Hopefully our own U.S Justice Department’s investigation goes better, or at least quicker, than the one in Australia.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been investigating the competition of the country’s $14 billion beer industry for more than two years. Think about all that has changed in the craft beer space here in two years.
The craft beer investigation, which began in early 2014 and was elevated to a “priority matter” last year, targets the two beer giants, SABMiller-owned Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and Kirin-owned Lion, to determine if they are using their market dominance to edge out smaller competitors via exclusive beer tap contracts with pubs and hotels.
Last year consumer advocacy group Choice completed its own investigation into Lion and CUB and concluded they were “locking out genuine Aussie craft beers from the taps at your favourite local pub”.
Choice based its findings on a contract that was still in force for the supply of tap beer that demanded exclusive access for CUB. Clauses included CUB being granted the exclusive supplier of all light-strength beer, all low-carbohydrate draught beers, all domestic premium and sub-premium draught beers, all imported draught beers, all specialty and craft draught beers and all draught spirits and cider.
The Financial Review has seen four hotel contracts that show that, in return for exclusive agreements, the publicans get various benefits: refunds on the price they pay for beer, business development allowances, tickets and trips to sporting events and upgraded tap systems and fridges paid for by the beer companies.
Definitely read the full thing over at the Australian Financial Review.
Making beer with rain water in the Netherlands
Experimentation and sustainability are two top craft credos. Breweries are often finding new ways to be efficient or leave a positive impact on their environment. Well, De Prael brewery in Amsterdam is taking a next step – taking what climate change is producing and using it to their advantage.
You see, that part of the world is seeing a dramatic uptick in rainfall because of climate change. Well, why let all of that perfectly fine water go to waste?
From The Guardian:
At the De Prael brewery in Amsterdam early on Friday evening, bitter lovers turned up for a free tasting of Hemelswater: code blond, a 5.7% beer made from ultra-filtered rain, organic malted barley and wheat, hops and yeast.
Using a special bacterial filtration system also called Hemelswater, they filtered the beer and handed it over to be boiled and made into the brewery’s simplest beer.
Read the full feature here.
Western Canadian government drops beer markup on eastern beer
Last year, in an attempt to promote its own breweries, the Alberta government instituted a markup price on craft beer shipped in from the east. While nice for those in the west, the nativist tariff was not welcomed by those in the East. Well, no more, according to CTV News, as the markup will be going away in favor of a grant program.
The NDP government said Tuesday that starting August 5 it plans to charge the same $1.25 per litre beer markup for all beer, regardless of the size of the company or where the beer is made.
The Alberta Small Breweries Association is now welcoming the end of the trade barrier and hopes for similar changes across Canada. Here’s the full story.
Ghana gets its first craft brewery
We leave you with some craft beer inspiration. A 62-year-old beer enthusiast and a colleague have started up Inland Microbrewery — the first ever microbrewery in Ghana that is using exclusively local African grain.
It’s located inside a crumbling, honey-colored mansion complete with Greek-style columns in Kwabenya, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Ghana’s capital, Accra. At first glance, the place looks abandoned. On the front porch rests a rusted car.
Inside the house is a startling surprise: a fully functioning brewery, complete with custom-made and imported machinery, although some of it is decades old.
One of Djameh and Sawyerr’s most prized pieces of equipment is the “Kegerator,” a refrigerator they installed a beer tap on top of, connected to a keg stored below. It’s used to keep kegs cool at Inland-catered events. Including delivery, a keg costs about $45.
The brewery produces several different varieties of beer, all without the use of imported malted barley, upon which Ghana’s two major commercial breweries almost exclusively rely.
Seriously, give some time to this one.