By James Atkinson

With a newly elected board comprised of representatives ranging from tiny pub breweries to large, foreign-owned players like the Malt Shovel Brewery, Australia's craft brewers have set aggressive growth targets for the category over the next five years.

After celebrating the recent changes to excise for microbreweries, close to 30 brewers voted in elections held  on Wednesday to elect the new board of the Craft Brewers Industry Association (CBIA), at the inaugural AGM attended in Melbourne. The new board consists of:

Jayne Lewis (Two Birds Brewing, category – contract brewer)
Matt Bebe (Mornington Peninsula Brewing Co, category – pub & nano brewery)
Jeremy Good (Cowaramup Brewery, category – pub & nano brewery)
Owen Johnson (Moo Brew, category – micro brewery)
Dave Bonighton (Mountain Goat Brewery, category – regional craft brewery)
Brad Rogers (Stone & Wood Brewing Co, category – regional craft brewery)
Chuck Hahn (Malt Shovel Brewery, category – national craft brewery)

"Rather than having seven people from one category, we really wanted to make sure we had a voice from those five categories," Stone & Wood's Rogers told TheShout.

Founding member Jamie Cook said that the approach the CBIA's taken from day one is of an "inclusive approach to grow".

"Growing the pie is what it's about," he said.

"Not trying to argue who's got the biggest slice or the smallest slice of the pie, but actually focusing on growing the pie in total – that's going to benefit everybody."

Cook said craft beer currently has a two per cent share of the Australian beer market, and the association has set itself a goal of increasing this share to five per cent over the next five years.

"It's relatively aggressive, but based on the growth we've seen in the US, it's achievable," he said.

Cook said the craft beer sector is already growing at nearly 30 per cent year on year.

"It can continue to grow at that rate providing there's demand and demand has to be led by an industry body," he said.

"It's great to have 100 breweries out there all trying to drive demand, but with an over-arching approach to driving consumer awareness and education it's going to help the whole process."

Rogers said that in the coming financial year the association will already have upwards of $100,000 in fee revenue, just on the current members it has signed up.

"That's a great start to actually get some things done."

"As we grow we'll get more brewers coming along for the ride, we'll also have suppliers being able to join, various sponsorships and events like trade shows and conferences."

Rogers paid tribute to the vital role played by the CBIA's steering committee of Dave Bonighton, Jamie Cook, Brendan Varis, Bruce Peachy, Miles Hull, Adam Trippe-Smith and Owen Johnston in bringing the association to fruition over the last 12 months.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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