Great Barrier Beer to launch in the UK

Queensland-based social enterprise brewery The Good Beer Company is set to launch its Great Barrier Beer in the United Kingdom.

Suffolk-based brewery Adnams will brew The Good Beer Co’s signature charity beer in the UK to raise funds for causes which aim to aid the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef as well as oceans around the world.

The beer will be launched in time for Christmas, and The Good Beer Co will utilise Adnams’ supply chain for distribution.

The company is also talking to major UK retailers about supplying the Great Barrier Beer by the beginning of November in time for the festive season.

Great Barrier Beer was given a soft launch at an event at Australia House in London for Queensland Day yesterday.

Brews News spoke to James Grugeon, founder of The Good Beer Company, as he attended The Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Corps event in Brisbane, where former Vice President of the United States and well-known environmentalist Al Gore was speaking.

“It’s really early days yet, but it’s been great to have Adnams on board and we’ve had a lot of support from [Labour MPs] Cameron Dick and Shannon Fentiman, and also more generally from Trade and Investment Queensland who’ve helped us launch in the UK.”

The Good Beer Co has worked with Adnams before, launching The Great Get Together Pale Ale in aid of the Jo Cox Foundation, said Grugeon.

“Adnams is a brewery that I’ve been a big supporter of. Andy Wood [CEO of Adnams] and I first met during a climate change leadership course, and I was mindful that they’re environmentally-conscious as a brewery, making them a perfect fit.”

Woodridge MP Cameron Dick with Rob and Marty of The Good Beer Company UK

The beer

In Australia, Great Barrier Beer is brewed by Lachy Crothers and the team at the Ballistic Beer Co. Proceeds from beer sales go to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

It is available at BWS and Dan Murphy’s outlets in Queensland, and The Good Beer Co is currently in talks to stock the beer in stores nationwide.

“We’ve piloted it and tested the market in Australia, and with Ballistic Beer we’ve created a fantastic Australian lager recipe that has been really well received.”

It uses hops from Tasmania and malt from Queensland. The UK version will use the same recipe from Ballistic, said Grugeon, with a few changes.

“We’re obviously concerned about tackling climate change so rather than shipping beer from Australia to the UK, we made the decision to brew the beer in the UK.

“We will try and use some Australian ingredients, including hops, but also using ingredients from the UK as well.”

When asked why the UK seemed the best fit for the launch of Great Barrier Beer, Grugeon attributed it to the ‘David Attenborough effect’ as well as the activism of younger people on climate change for the popularity of the issue.

“There’s high levels of public support for stronger action on climate change and ocean conservation, which is exactly the same here in Australia, so it was a no-brainer to go to the UK.”


Big ambitions

With investments in biodegradable, marine life-friendly six pack holders, sustainable packaging and plans to become a carbon neutral beer company, The Good Beer Co has big ambitions.

“I think that all companies have a responsibility to take care of the planet and there are lots of different ways in which they can do that,” said Grugeon.

“It’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s what a company’s staff, suppliers, and consumers want too.

“Businesses and communities are ahead of the politicians on things like climate change and ocean conservation, and that’s how we’re going to tackle this issue.”

The Good Beer Co is still looking for charity organisations which can benefit from funds from beer sales in the UK, and Grugeon said they had very specific criteria when looking for charity partners.

“Fundamentally it’s quite simple. It’s about their integrity as an organisation. Do they have an appropriate governance structure, are they able to do good and are they the right fit?

“We want to work with charities and causes that people can get excited about, who know that when they have a Great Barrier Beer they’re doing something good for the cause they care about.”

He said that beer was the ideal vehicle through which to raise awareness of climate change and ocean conservation.

“Craft beer tends to be something that people are attracted to because they like the story behind it.

“Brewers generally have good values, they care about their local community, the environment and where their products come from.

“With Great Barrier Beer, we’ve got a great beer that people enjoy drinking, and also a way to start a conversation about climate change.”

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