This is something we think you all need to hear. On June 19th the halls of our government echoed with a sentiment rarely heard in houses of government around the world today; agreement. Members of both major parties took it in turns to talk up support for the craft beer industry and the nationwide movement that is supporting these small scale brewers.
The issue that was brought to light was that despite regulations that favour mega breweries and wineries, this small pocket of Australian culture has managed to thrive and grow; even despite the fact that overall nationwide beer consumption is on the decline! Something must be good about craft brews!
Anthony Albanese (MP, Labor, Grayndler) pressed the Australian government “to ensure policy setting which encourages the realisation of the potential of the craft brewing sector”. He also called on “state and local governments to update their planning and controls and development approval to facilitate the growth of the craft brewing sector”. Way to go Anthony! He then went even further, telling the house about a couple of the policies which work against us, for instance: the higher excess charge for kegs containing less than 48 litres of product, and that the maximum tax rebate for a brewer is $30,000 whilst a wine producers rebate has a maximum value of $500,000.
Be it a new topic in the house this is not in fact a new topic at all. There are groups around the country -made up of brewers and craft beer advocates- that have been campaigning for changes in this area of tax law for well over a decade. It to these diligent and persevering people that we take off our caps and say thank you!
There are now more than 400 craft or micro breweries across Australia and that's up from less than half that number just three years ago. The industry now employees more than 2,000 people directly and supports more than 15,000 others who serve the breweries themselves; think hop growers and malt roasters etc. 65% of all the people now employed in the brewing industry in Australia work for independent brewers, despite the fact that they produce just 3% of all the beer brewed in the country. It’s also worth mentioning that over 90% of the beer consumed in Australia is not from Australian owned breweries. Which means that those 65% of employees producing home grown, Australian owned craft beer produce just a minuscule amount of everything we pass over the bar.
There is also the vision that the craft brewery is a new and different social space. Just like coffee shops and pubs are places where we can all meet up relax, have a laugh, a catch up and discuss the days news, breweries are now quickly being recognised as locations that fit into this model. They can hold restaurants and child friendly spaces as well as being the home of beer. You can also meet the people who make it and are so passionate about their product.
So a craft brewery is coming to a street corner near you! We’ve already got ours off the ground