"Counter movement" sees Lion back craft lagers

Broken Shackles lager six pack

Lion has identified a growing ‘counter movement’ amongst craft beer drinkers and has moved to capitalise on it by launching two new craft lagers.

The company has launched a lager nationally under its James Squire brand while also launching one as an extension of its successful Furphy brand.

James Squire Broken Shackles is described as a ‘refreshing lager’ made in a European style with the late addition of Noble hops to give it a “spicy and herbaceous character to round out a really clean balance.”

James Squire head brewer Haydon Morgan said the recipe was inspired by some of the shifting trends he is seeing in craft beer in Australia.

“As the craft beer industry continues to flourish and push the limits of beer styles and flavour, a counter movement has started with consumers and breweries who are now getting into easier drinking styles with sessionable flavour and abv,” he said.

“The demand for these beers is something we are hearing loud and clear from our drinkers and pub owners who are looking for sessionable craft beers.”

Malcolm Eadie, brand director of Premium & Craft at Lion said bigger flavours are still a challenge for a lot of people who are interested in the growing craft category.

“They love the idea of craft, but there are still barriers for the mainstream drinker coming to the category to adopt it,” Malcolm said.

Eadie said the company was strongly backing the new beer with the biggest James Squire launch since One Fifty Lashes, featuring a national media campaign including TV.

“One third of the total value growth in the beer industry came from craft in 2019 from only 11 per cent share of the category,” he said.

“We feel that James Squire is positioned to drive penetration of craft beer and grow value for the industry through this new Lager.”

At the same time Eadie said the business was hoping to capitalise on the success of Furphy Refreshing Ale with an even more approachable crisp lager.

“Furphy Refreshing Ale has seen great success in Victoria since its launch in 2014. Within five years, it became the sixth biggest beer by value in the state – and it’s been a local success story.

“In speaking to Victorian consumers about the beer last year, we learnt that there are plenty of drinkers who love our ale, but many beer drinkers told us they were looking for something really crisp and easy-drinking from Furphy.”

Lion will initially follow the pattern of the 2014 ale launch, releasing the beer locally in the Geelong region, before potentially more broadly. Furphy Refreshing Ale is now a national brand with sales approaching 30 million litres annually.

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