October 7, 2010 by Crafty Pint
No doubt many of you who tuned into the adventures of Oz and James on SBS’s Drink for Britain as they toured the UK supping beers aplenty on their search for the drink that defined Britain sat there thinking: “We should do that for Australia.” Then, whaddya know, up pops a show on Channel 31, the community television station for Melbourne and Geelong, featuring a couple of blokes drinking and talking about Aussie beer.
They’ve not got a big BBC budget behind them, but they do have a passion for good beer, a desire to educate people about it – and a wonderfully cheesy theme tune. Offering a lighthearted mix of often scathing beer reviews, interviews, visits to microbreweries, beer food recipes and a guide to homebrewing, the Beer Frontier has been pulling in close to 30,000 viewers for each of its first three shows – that with little more than word of mouth as publicity.
As their fifth show prepares to air on Saturday night, The Crafty Pint spoke to co-host Gage Rossiter.
How do you feel about the state of the Aussie beer industry at present?
Very optimistic, I think an increasing number of beer drinkers can see beyond the slick marketing of boring industrial brewers. I also think more people are starting to “drink better and drink less”.
What are your favourite Aussie beers?
I probably purchase more Cooper’s than everything else combined because I can’t easily purchase many craft brews in Mooroolbark. I have to drive nearly 20kms to Olinda or 25kms to Surrey Hills for a reasonable range.
Your hopes for the future?
The brewing and distribution oligopolies legislated out of existence. I’d like to see a dozen profitable regional brewers, say the size of Cooper’s, and a couple of hundred brew pubs. I’d also like to see a taxation regime where all types of alcohol are taxed the same.
And your hopes for the show?
I hope that I can attract sufficient sponsorship to finance further series because I think The Beer Frontier fills a gap that websites, books and magazines cannot fill. I hope that observers and critics understand that we are consumer, not trade, orientated.
The Beer Frontier airs at 8.30pm on Saturday nights on Channel 31 in Melbourne and Geelong. You can find out more at their website and watch old episodes at the Channel 31 website.
Have you seen it? If so, what do you think?