By Clyde Mooney
A year ago Pacific Beverages saw the first Bluetongue Lager roll off its production line in Warnervale and the company now believes it has shed its 'craft' tag.
The $120 million site is the state’s second largest brewery and with its twin-stream small and large brew houses was built for an initial annual capacity of 50 million litres.
One year on the brewery boasts having produced 62000 kegs, 60 million bottles of beer and 700 brews across 12 brands.
The Bluetongue Premium Lager brand claims an impressive 60 percent growth in the past six months, while beer sales across the board in Australia have been in decline.
“We are really pleased with the way the brand is performing in the market and Australian consumers are obviously enjoying the perfect balance of taste, aroma and finish that Bluetongue Lager offers,” CEO of Pacific Beverages, Peter McLoughlin.
The central coast brewery is also positioned to produce a number of brands under license, such as Miller Genuine Draft and Peroni Nastro Azzuro, which are tested and tasted every month to ensure consistency.
It also brews Leggera, Miller Chill, Grolsch and most recently, Bruers Bright by arrangement.
Bluetongue brewery was founded in 2003, intended to be a premium beer that strongly represented the Newcastle and central coast region.
The original brewery was located in the Hunter region at Cameron Park, which reached capacity before SAB Miller and CCA took over in 2007 and partnered in building the new facility – the first new brewery in NSW in 40 years.
Pacific Beverages corporation prides itself on its sustainability credentials, with the site featuring a $10 million water recovery plant already saving vast quantities of water.
“We are also happy with the progress we have made with our sustainability credentials, having designed and built one of the most environmentally friendly breweries in the world," said McLoughlin.
"We are saving up to ten Olympic sized swimming pools of water annually through reduced consumption as a result of the water recycling plant, and are working towards our goal of 2.2 litres of water used per litre of beer produced.”
Rapidly outgrowing any claim to being known as a ‘craft’ beer, Bluetongue has moved seamlessly into the higher domestic market.
In response to our enquiry on their present positioning, Pacific Beverages marketing manager, Sarah Dennis, told TheShout: “Our Premium Lager and Premium Light brands are squarely in the premium domestic market, going up against the likes of James Boags, Cascade and Crown Lager.
“Bluetongue used to be a microbrewery, but the reality is we’ve been heading in the direction of the premium domestic market since 2008,” said Dennis.