By Charles Whitting

Welcome to Craft Beer Month, Australian Hotelier’s new series of articles talking all things craft beer.

The beer and brewing industry in Australia has undergone some seismic changes in the last 10 years or so. While mainstream beer brands continue to dominate volume sales, all the growth in the category has come from newer, smaller operations who are pushing the boundaries of brewing in different directions, helping to create a drinking environment that champions diversity, quality and innovation.

And things are continuing to change apace, with new legislation coming into action concerning excise duty and the number of breweries only continuing to grow. One only need look at the gigantic success of Good Beer Week and GABS Festival in Melbourne last month – or indeed at Sydney GABS tomorrow which is expected to break all records for attendance – to understand that this is far more than a phase. This is a bandwagon that it is well worth jumping aboard, with lots of benefits and few downsides. Stocking craft beer needn’t be about changing the drinking habits of your existing customers or taking their favourite beers away from them – it’s about making your venue more attractive to a wider array of potential drinkers.

Craft beer has brought swathes of people to the beer category, who might otherwise have avoided it. And just as the wine industry has transformed the way people drink and think about wine, so too are people becoming more interested and educated about brewing. Its myriad styles, flavours, taste profiles, strengths and textures make beer one of the most diverse drinks categories out there.

In addition, breweries are spread right across the nation, meaning that almost any pub or hotel has at least one local brewery to champion. So at a time when hyper localness is enjoying serious emotional engagement, there’s never been a better time for local pubs and hotels to collaborate with these craft businesses for mutual benefits.

That’s why Australian Hotelier has launched Craft Beer Month. Every weekday over the next month, we will have another piece of craft beer content for you to read and enjoy, culminating in a Friday newsletter that will collate that week’s stories. We will be talking to some of Australia’s best venues for craft beer about their experiences in this exciting category. We will explore the ramifications of the change in excise duty and the launch of the Independent Brewers Association’s Seal of Independence. We will examine the ways in which publicans can create and improve their customers’ craft beer experience, from immersive events to diverse ranges to a focus on quality and staff training.

There has never been a more exciting time to be in the beer and brewing industry in Australia and you have the chance to add some impressive points of difference to your business.

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