By James Atkinson
It's time for Australia's craft brewers to become more adventurous with their beers, according to brewing consultant Costa Nikias.
Nikias told TheShout brewers launching into the rapidly expanding craft beer market must have the right concept, "which comes back to having a unique point of difference".
"I question whether the market can handle another pale ale," he said.
"There's 150 of them, and as much as it's a quintessential craft style, I think the market expects innovation – it's what really underpins our industry."
Nikias, of Beverage & Brewing Consulting, said that if brewers insist on entering the market with a pale ale, there are many different variations they could choose to stand out from the pack.
"You can do an English Pale Ale, an India Pale Ale, a Bright Pale Ale, a Heavy Pale Ale, an Australian Pale Ale – just think a bit more broadly."
But he challenged Australian brewers to become more adventurous rather than being fixated on making 'session beers'.
"If you're producing a product you want to be approachable to a wider audience, it makes logical sense. But it doesn't mean you have to produce a session beer to have a viable business model. There are other ways to do it," Nikias said.
"If you want to be known as a craft brewer, who makes authentic craft beer, maybe you want to start off with an IPA or a Hefeweizen. It depends on your concept and what your plans are for your business model."
Nikias said Australian brewers come off looking a bit conservative when compared to their overseas counterparts.
"Look at the New Zealanders – they're really pushing the boundaries. They're pushing a lot more in terms of variations and hybrids. It's a lot more creative and I think we need to adopt a bit of that."