Craft beer survey shows strong support for independent breweries

14 September, 2018 by Andy Young

Craft beer retailer, Beer Cartel, has revealed the results of its 2018 Australian Craft Beer Survey, which details the opinions of more than 18,000 craft beer drinkers.

The survey looks to understand the issues that matter to Australia’s craft beer drinkers and also asks them to vote for the country’s best craft brewery. This year saw Balter Brewing carry on its impressive run of form and take out the top prize.

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Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel said that Balter taking out best craft brewery really highlighted how young and dynamic the Australian craft beer industry is.

“We’ve been doing the Australian Craft Beer Survey for the past three years – in that time three different breweries have taken out the title of Australia’s best brewery. With now well over 400 breweries in Australia and a new brewery starting every week it really does show how quickly the industry is evolving,” said Kelsey.

Stirling Howland, Co-Founder and Brand Director of Balter Brewing Company, was understandably delighted with the result.

“To win this award on the back of the Hottest 100 earlier in the year is a wonderful feeling,” Howland said.

“We’ve been kicking around for two and a half years and it has been a pretty amazing journey to date. When we started Balter, it was always about the beer and connecting to our community through our work. We’ve been blown away by how well our beer and brand has been received and these types of people’s choice awards are a real affirmation that we’re on the right track.”

In addition to naming Australia’s best craft brewery, the survey also delved into the issues surrounding the craft beer industry in Australia, and in particular independence.

The survey found that there is a strong desire to support independent Australian breweries. Earlier this year the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) launched its Independence Seal, which helps consumers know that the beer they are buying comes from an independent brewer.

The survey found that having just been around since May, there is already a strong awareness of the seal, with a 33 per cent awareness among Australian craft beer drinkers. Additionally 83 per cent of survey respondents said that the seal would have a medium to large influence on their beer purchases.

In 2017 there are three major buyouts of leading craft breweries in Australia, with AB InBev buying both Pirate Life and 4Pines, while Coca-Cola Amatil bought Feral Brewing Co. The survey found that 66 per cent of craft beer drinkers were aware of one or more of these buy-outs and that 57 per cent of those people had changed their purchase habits since the buy-out. Most are now buying less (43 per cent), or have stopped buying beers from these breweries all together (13 per cent).

TheShout will report on more outcomes from the survey, including reactions to the NSW Container Deposit Scheme and the buying habits of craft beer drinkers next week.