One thing that’s been something of surprising but lovely truth about craft beer’s spread in Australia is that, as it’s grown, breweries have managed to find homes in all kinds of areas.
Suburbs with no pubs, local government areas with change-resistant leaders, and towns with few if any shops have all seen enterprising individuals and families open breweries, eager to welcome people inside.
But, in a country as large as Australia, travelling to a brewery you love isn’t always all that easy. And, for small breweries, shipping beer across the country can cost a fair bit.
That’s where Only Craft Beer comes in: an online marketplace dedicated to Australia’s independent breweries with the goal of helping beer fans discover and buy beer from small operations outside their own backyard.
Behind the business that launched in 2020 are Isaias Vinaroz, Carolina Diaz and Fabian Rebeiro, who came up with the idea following conversations Isaias had while working in the food manufacturing equipment industry.
He worked closely with breweries of all shapes and sizes, but it was a smaller one that mentioned just how hard it can be to get beer into market. Crowded bottleshop fridges, tap contracts, and the challenges of shipping beer across a country as wide and sparsely populated as Australia all create issues when trying to get the fruits of your labour into the hands of those keen to try it.
As a central marketplace, the concept behind Only Craft Beer is one of a rising tide lifting all boats – where breweries with a small footprint can connect with drinkers across the country. Live in regional Victoria and your mate who lives in Melbourne’s outer suburbs thinks his brewery’s IPA is the best? Now you can put that argument to rest.
Only Craft Beer is built on the idea of letting you experience small breweries like a local but with the added benefit of not actually needing to leave the house.
For the breweries listed on Only Craft Beer, they hold onto and take care of sending the beer themselves, which doesn’t just benefit beer freshness but cashflow too. Rather than having to wait for invoices to be paid, the breweries make money as soon as the sale takes place, so even before it lands on a doorstep they’ve already made their money.
Originally, the team planned to open the metaphorical doors to Only Craft Beer during Good Beer Week but 2020 had other plans. Fortunately, a pandemic just meant they launched early – and at a time when the beer world was moving increasingly online, offering breweries a new means by which to sell their beer as venues across the country and borders shut.
Sure, you should still head out to local breweries to try their beers whenever you can. But, when you can’t, Only Craft Beer are there to bring the beers to you.
As the the team likes to say: "Buy like a local, drink like a local, enjoy like a local!"