Gage goes Atomic in tactical strike

Gage Roads will be unveiling its latest brand extension this weekend as GABS rolls into Brisbane tomorrow.

The Atomic Beer Project, which will be housed at Gage’s recently-announced east coast expansion in Sydney, sees the business’ Atomic Pale Ale break off from the Gage brand to stand alone.

Head of Marketing, Miles Hull, told Brews News that Atomic Pale Ale is the foundation beer for a brand that’s going to concentrate on hop-driven ales.

“The Atomic Beer Project is a bit of a side project for Gage Roads and a bit of a place that we can experiment a little bit more and allow the brewers to really wholly and solely focus on hops and hop-driven ales,” he said.

“Gage has been making Atomic for 10 years now, and is a classic US-style hop ale, with dry hops and a nice balance of malt but one where the hops can shine through.

“As with every other brewer, we get pretty excited by hops and IPAs and pale ales, so we thought let’s take this and use this as a foundation.”

Hull said that Atomic’s strong growth on the east coast made it a logical choice to head up the Sydney venture.

“It’s got a really great following in Sydney and in Victoria particularly, away from our home state of WA,” he explained.

“So Atomic Pale Ale will be the first beer re-badged under Atomic Beer Project, so the same product.

“We’re going to relaunch that and at the same time we’re bringing out an IPA under Atomic Beer Project as well in can, with another coming out by the end of the year.”

While the Pale Ale will be unchanged but for branding, the new IPA is described as ‘sessionable’ at 5.6% abv.

Hull said the decision to launch Atomic as its own brand was a tactical move for the business.

“We saw an opportunity. We obviously wanted to concentrate the Gage Road family as being nice, approachable beer styles, playing in that coastal outdoor lifestyle sort of drinking occasions,” he said.

“Atomic was something slightly different, and really worked for us in terms of being a more inner city, urban brewery, which the Redfern site’s going to deliver.”

“This will allow a bit of a creative outlet for our team to play and experiment with hop-driven ales where we want to keep the Gage range a little bit more approachable or not so specialised in that area. We can be a bit more flexible in this range than under the Gage Roads umbrella.”

He said Gage’s breadth of brands under the overarching Good Drinks business, including Gage, Matso’s, Alby and its cider Hello Sunshine and now Atomic, provided a portfolio to offer retailers.

“As brewers, you have consumers and you have customers, so consumers are obviously the ones picking up the product at the end of the day, but we have to look at our customers and our customers’ needs, and they’re the retailers and small bars,” he said.

“There’s always a limit to what they want to put on, and if you see a restaurant that only has wine from a couple of producers, it seems a bit two-dimensional to me.

“You want to have a bit of a mix of style and producers, so I think it’s about providing your customers, so the retailers and bars, with a different range of products to suit different consumers and different occasions too.

“What we’re trying to do under the Good Drinks range is provide a real mix that allows customers a range of products to list, whether it’s on shelf or on their beer list, that appeal to a good mix of people coming in that offer different styles and different varieties from, I guess, a bit of a mix of breweries.

“So I think there is a limit to how many beers you can really bring out under one brand.”

The Sydney Brewery, which is yet to receive council approval, will have a substantial hospitality offering.

“We’re putting in a kitchen and we want it to be a place that you go into regularly as a local or not just to see the beer, but as a place that you can go to for a bite to eat with friends and family,” Hull said.

Festival-goers at GABS Brisbane will be introduced to the repackaged Pale Ale, new IPA and a limited release Double IPA, weighing in at 8.5% abv, and a limited edition green hop ale, made in collaboration with Karridale Hop Farm, which is working to reintroduce hope to Western Australia.

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