Drink Victorian is back in 2023

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Man tasting drinks

Following a successful pilot program in 2022, Drink Victorian is back from 1 June and 100 of Melbourne’s best bars, pubs and restaurants are giving drink lovers the opportunity to try some of the state’s best wine, cider, beer and spirits with venues highlighting local drinks talent on their list. The 2023 program will also see the introduction of a special events program.

Drink Victorian is an initiative from The Victorian Drinks Alliance – a collaboration between Victorian beverage producers and Food + Drink Victoria. The second year of the program is here to drive more locally made drinks into restaurants, bars and shops in Victoria and help Victorians make the most of their state’s vibrant and innovative drinks industry.

From cutting-edge cocktails at the likes of Parcs and HER, to beloved neighbourhood watering holes such as The Builders Arms, from the finest dining in town at Aru, to venues such as Etta, which define Melbourne drinking and dining today, the city’s best and most influential venues are coming to the party.

Woman getting a drink poured for her at a tasting

The Drink Victorian special events program showcases the breadth of Victoria’s drink producers. The 2023 special event program, which complements Drink Victorian’s B2B work, extends to consumer 14 events across Melbourne. Highlights of the program include:

  • Brewers’ Brunch at Molly Rose – Join Molly Rose brewer and founder Nic Sandery for a brew brunch that pairs the world of brewing with food to fantastic effect. We’ll brew a limited-release beer together and learn the art of matching beer with food as we enjoy a bountiful brunch of Modern Australian eats with Southeast Asian flavours. What’s more, all Brewers’ Brunch guests are invited back to Molly Rose to enjoy a free pot of their Brewers’ Brunch beer once it’s ready and pouring. Ticket includes a Michelada cocktail on arrival with a brunch-style snack, participation in brewing a limited-release beer with brewer and founder Nic Sandery in Molly Rose’s pilot brewery, complemented with a table of food to share while you brew, along with paired beers. 25 June, 11am, $117.
  • Celebrating Victorian Chardonnay and Seafood at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters – Is chardonnay the ultimate match for seafood? Is Victorian chardonnay the ultimate match for Victorian seafood? It’s going to be a very tasty time finding out as the team from Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters plate up the likes of soda bread with cultured cream and Yarra Valley trout roe, a shellfish cocktail with avocado and green apple, a crudo of white fish with spring onion and smoked eel not to mention a classic bouillabaisse, all paired with some of the most essential expressions of this noble variety grown in the state. 24 June, 6:30pm, $185 for four-course dinner with matched wines by the glass.
  • Beechworth Bitters at Parcs – Beechworth Bitters Co started in 2020 as a project for Michael Ryan, chef and owner of Beechworth’s celebrated Provenance restaurant. His range now consists of five amari, a yuzucello and two cocktail bitters. The team at Parcs is delighted to have Michael at the restaurant to tell the story of the ins and outs of amari, of how he creates them, and how the Victorian botanical she has chosen adds the perfect balance of bitterness and complexity. The tasting also affords an opportunity to explore ways of enjoying these bold amari, paired with snacks from Parcs. 21 June, 3pm, this event is free, but registration is required.
  • Mac Forbes x Aru – Aru is delighted to be partnering with esteemed Yarra Valley winemaker Mac Forbes for a Sunday lunch to remember. It’s an afternoon showcasing Mac Forbes’s wines, from the latest releases to prized vintages from the cellar. The team will be pouring Mac’s rieslings, chardonnays and pinot noir, paired with Aru signatures including the duck sausage sanga, the 14-day dry-aged duck and claypot broken rice. What better way to pass a lazy Sunday afternoon? 25 June, 1pm, $ 266 for four-course menu with matched wines by the glass from Mac Forbes.

Leading independent drinks retailer Blackhearts & Sparrows is also supporting the program again, showcasing its collection of Victorian wine, beer, cider and spirits through weekly tastings, encouraging people to purchase Victorian drinks and discover new favourite producers from right here in their own backyard.

“There are many things that inspire pride and passion among Victorians –be it the footy, live music, world-class restaurants – and Victorian drinks should be on that list,” says Anthea Loucas Bosha, co-chair of the Victorian Drinks Alliance and CEO of Food + Drink Victoria. “The 2023 Drink Victorian campaign is all about pairing Victorian drinks with those Victorian experiences we know and love. After all, our state produces some of the most interesting beer, wine, cider and spirits you’re like to come across. Drink Victorian is back following a successful pilot program to highlight that, whatever your favourite tipple, there’s a local option that stacks up against the best in the world.”

Man with a microphone speaking

In Victoria, there are certain foods, activities and locations that are ubiquitous. Through a creative campaign the 2023 Drink Victorian program pairs those foods, activities and locations with naturally complementary Victorian drinks, to help make the preference for local drinks equally ubiquitous. The aim of this year’s Drink Victorian creative campaign is to make choosing a Victorian drink as natural as going to the footy on a winter’s afternoon, heading to the pub to see a band, or choosing a locally sourced cut of steak in one of Melbourne’s leading restaurants.

Drink Victorian also aims to strengthen relationships between the hospitality industry and winemakers, brewers and distillers from all corners of the state. In early Maya free, trade-only event was held at Marvel Stadium with over 250 wine, spirits, beer, cider, low and non-alc producers participating with 700 attendees.

“This initiative is a huge boost for the State’s drinks producers. Helping to connect buyers, sommeliers and consumers with the state’s extraordinary drinks makers has already proven to be highly successful,” says Angie Bradbury, co-chair of the Victorian Drinks Alliance. “We want to be a state where our restaurants, bars and retail shelves proudly stock the diversity of incredible drinks made right here and the Drink Victorian initiative is pivotal to making that happen more consistently.”

Drink Victorian runs for the month of June 2023. For full program details please visit drinkvictorian.com

and follow MFWF on Instagram at @melbfoodandwine for updates.

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