By Mehroz Siraj
Liquor industry experts say that new innovations and product developments are steering the beer industry forward, as it strives to gain the grounds it lost to other alcoholic products.
The development of the craft beer industry in Australia and the introduction of ingredients that preserve beer freshness for a longer period, are the means through which the beer industry is striking back.
Craft beers are brewed in specialist breweries in small numbers.
These beers are made for a market which wants fresh and full flavoured beers that have been brewed for longer periods than lager beers.
Craft beers are usually filtered, with the aim of cutting down the carbohydrate contents, whilst the flavour is maintained.
According to Canberra brewer Lachie McOmish, the demand for these specially made full-flavoured beers has consistently grown across Australia over the last few years.
“There has been a massive increase in the production and distribution of craft beer in the country and Australians are loving it,” he told ABC Radio.
The sales of premium beers from his brewery in Canberra had itself risen by 10 per cent over the last 12 months, he said.
According to the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand (BAANZ), the Australia wide sales of craft beers had gone up by 6.5 per cent over the last 12 months.
Craft beer brewers were using new and clever techniques for brewing beers made up of different flavours and tastes to the market, McOmish said.
However, according to him, one of the more established norms across the craft beer industry was about introducing ingredients which were known to be preserving the flavours and freshness of the beers over a certain time period.
McOmish and Adelaide university professor Jason Eglinton told ABC Radio that adding new varieties of barley to the beer was one of the newer techniques that helped in increasing the shelf lives of beers.
“Unlike premium red wines, the quality of beers does not improve with ageing,” Eglinton said.
“It has a limited shelf life in terms of optimum taste profile,” he told ABC Radio,
According to him, as beers were made up of agricultural produce such as wheat, they had a tendency of losing freshness very quickly.
He informed that adding the newer variety of barley, named Southern Star, would keep beers fresher and free from oxidation for a longer period of time.
Eglinton added that the commercial production of this variety of barley would begin in Australia this year.
Hailing these developments, South Australian hotelier Jade Flavald told ABC Radio that these developments would further boost beer sales across the country.
She said that these new developments and the growth of the craft beer industry would help in bringing customers back to their local pubs.
These new developments in the craft beer industry come at the expense of the falling sales of traditional lager beers, which recorded an overall sales decline of 2.5 per cent last year, according to BAANZ.