By James Atkinson

Coles appears to have made its own entry into private label craft beer with the launch of Steamrail Brewing Company.

While Coles has made no official announcement on the venture, the Steamrail range of beers appeared in First Choice Liquor advertisements this week, as well as on the First Choice website.

Touted as 'Ale with a Tale' and featuring familiar colonial-themed branding, the Steamrail range includes the Ghost of Eyre Pale Ale, The Gold Digger Golden Ale and Lucky Amber Ale. [continues below]

First Choice Liquor advertisement, Daily Telegraph, January 17 

"There's a story behind every great beer and that's never been truer than with the new beer range from the Steamrail Brewing Company," it says.

As with Coles' other private label beers, the Steamrail bottles bear the 'Australian Beer Connoisseurs' company name and address of 800 Toorak Road, East Victoria – Coles Supermarkets' headquarters.

Intellectual Property Australia records show that the owner of the trademark is Liquorland. The application for the Steamrail trademark was lodged on October 11 last year.

Steamrail's launch comes after Woolworths in November released four new craft beers under the Sail & Anchor brand.

Coles did not respond to a request for comment.

The Shout Team

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

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  1. Absolutely shameless copy of the Squires range. This market has gone from $22-$25 per 6pack, to $20 once bought by Lion-Nathan, now to $17 with this.

    This is a good example of how to flog a ‘kinda clever’ idea, until it has had every bit of authenticity smacked out of it.

    Hope the beer at least tastes good, because this is marketing and PR at its most uninspired. Not to mention the undercutting impact on small, family owned craft beer companies.

  2. TheShout: Please REMOVE the tag “craft beer” from this.

    It is nothing more than cynical “craftwashing” on the part of Coles. I saw this beer in a Vintage Cellars store today, asked about it and the (experienced) employee said “oh, I don’t know much about that”.

    I’m sure he knew full well that it’s produced by the parent company of his store!

    This is also (as pointed out above) a blatant rip-off of James Squire, which I know is also made by a huge corporate brewer, but has at least some shreds of craft credentials.


  3. The amber ale is the better of the three. Coles are missing the fact that ale drinkers are looking for flavour. What annoys me the most is their sneaky way of making “tales” which are stupid and embarrassing. James Squire had a genuine idea about giving a history background on James Squire himself. At $10 a six pack I would buy again. Below average tasting ales at a price to high. Any ale drinker would pay the extra for a little creatures or a squire.

  4. Yet another foreign owned beer. Thank the heavens for Kent Grogan and Broo Premium Lager. He will never sell out to these big corporations.
    I have heard in the grapevine that he is launching an all Australian Draught beer, fittingly named Australia Draught. I can’t wait to down quite a few of those.

  5. Have tasted the pale and golden ale and they are well made beers with a huge hop taste (amirilo?), but no aroma. The only downside I see is that we do not know who made them. More good beer, the better!

  6. I tried the pale ale and amber ale the other day – the amber ale didn’t have much flavour but the pale ale was quite tasty – the first Australian ale I’ve had that came anywhere near an NZ craft beer (and much better than little creatures or squires – it tasted as if they had put some hops and malt in it).

  7. Just to note that despite being distributed by Lion, the James Squire range is still brewed at the Malt Shovel Brewery under supervision of Chuck Hahn, one of the countries best brewers. This Coles beer is a disgrace!

  8. I dunno. . . . . I quite enjoyed them – particularly the Golden Ale. It would seem i’m not much of an ale drinker based on previous comments

  9. Just wish I could get excited with the indignation of some of the above comments. Pity, really, because all the beers taste good.

  10. Daft comments here … craft beer or not craft beer, regardless of who brews it, Steamrail beer actually tastes good, especially the Pale Ale. I don’t particularly like the fact that Colea are behind it (secretly) but thesencomments are from beer snobs …. in a blind taste, they’d rate Steamrail.

  11. Yes.. very much the James Squires look. The Pale Ale is excellent with a clean but strong hop taste.

  12. The Pale Ale is BRILLIANT – but alas the greedy shop owners are now selling it at $50/slab instead of the intended $45/slab.

  13. why cant we buy hammer and tongs anymore .my mates and I buy from various suburbs in Perth and were told by first choice that it will be no longer available , how much truth is in that statement Cheers Rossco

  14. Quite enjoy the Hammer/Tongs beer but The ring pull is way below reliable infact substandard.Most others can get it right

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