Come Together

July 29, 2011, by Crafty Pint
Come Together

During Good Beer Week, rumours started doing the rounds that talks were underway about forming a national association of craft brewers. And unlike those about Cliff Richard dying that circulate at Glastonbury every year, these were based in reality. With the craft brewing industry growing at a rate of knots and, to date, various state associations trying to tackle issues independently, the aim is to bring together as many of Australia’s estimated 165 craft brewers and brewing companies in a body “which represents the industry and harness[es] the broader community of craft beer to maximise our impact and potential.”

A steering committee made up of representatives from breweries and brewing companies across the country has drawn up a draft document outlining the proposed Australian Craft Brewers Association’s intentions and structure, which has been circulated to brewers in the past week for comment. The eight members of the steering committee are:

  • Brad Rogers and Jamie Cook of Stone & Wood, NSW
  • Adam Trippe-Smith – McLaren Vale, SA
  • Miles Hull – Little Creatures, WA
  • Brendan Varis – Feral, WA
  • Owen Johnson – Moo Brew, TAS
  • Bruce Peachey – Brewing consultant
  • Dave Bonighton – Mountain Goat, VIC

Their hope is to gather all feedback within the next fortnight with the intention of a soft launch as soon as September. We met with members of the committee this morning, where they explained the lengthy discussions that have gone on to date and their ultimate goal: to expand the entire craft beer industry, which they define as everyone from Malt Shovel (responsible for the James Squire and Mad Brewers ranges) and Matilda Bay to the smallest of commercial operations.

“The motivation is to get a collective body with one voice to grow the category for the good of all,” says Miles Hull, of Little Creatures. “It needs to exist. The confidence in craft beer has never been better in the ten years we’ve been operating. The quality and numbers out there now have weight and momentum.”

The proposed body would give one vote to each brewery, regardless of size, in any decision-making process. Areas it would look to tackle include:

  • Consumer awareness and education
  • Trade awareness and education
  • Develop and celebrate the quality and diversity of craft beer
  • Aid professional development within the industry
  • Government liaison and advocacy

They’ve set themselves tight deadlines – especially with certain aspects of the draft document having already stimulated debate within the industry – but if they can agree on a format and structure that gives the craft beer world a powerful voice, whether for lobbying or promoting better beer, then it should prove a positive force for good. We’ll keep you updated on developments.

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