Hargreaves Hill shakes up core range

A lager, a mid-strength and an IPA have joined the core range for Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company following a comprehensive brand refresh.

It’s the third such brand overhaul for Hargreaves Hill in its 14-year history, founder Simon Walkenhorst told Radio Brews News.

“This one’s probably one that we’ve taken a lot more seriously and really spent a good amount of time on it,” he said.

“We needed to be clearer on the label. I always felt the previous version was a bit dialled back and in the current climate, was getting a bit lost on the shelf.”

Walkenhorst said the landscape for craft beer had changed markedly since his company began operation in 2004.

“The challenge for selling beer back then was, this craft beer thing was a bit new,” he said.

“Roll onto 2018, now we’re facing a fair amount of competition… with the coming in of bigger companies trying to play in this little craft beer space… we’re coming up against those big budgets and it’s really hard to get the message across as to who we are succinctly, in the time we have to communicate to our audience.”

Hefeweizen and Golden out
Along with the brand overhaul, Hargreaves Hill has replaced two of its core range beers with some alternatives that Walkenhorst deems more relevant to consumers today.

“We’ve sort of seen over the last couple of years hefeweizen and wheat beer styles… have really tapered off in sales,” he said.

The new core range from Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company

“It seemed to be bit of a flagging variety. We decided that we’d cut that out of core range and maybe bring it back seasonally now and then.”

The other casualty is the Golden Ale. Walkenhorst echoed the comments of Bridge Road’s Ben Kraus that this is a genre that is currently in decline.

IPA, lager and mid-strength in
A lager made in the Dortmunder export style is among the new additions, which Walkenhorst said was in response to feedback from the Yarra Valley locals.

“A lot of our winemaking friends, they’re not big on hops. They just want something nice and clean and refreshing,” he said.

“[And] we’ve got some people in the industrial estate in Lilydale where the brewery is… they say, ‘I just don’t want a beer that tastes like flowers’.

“While we do love our hop character, there’s a big part of the market that’s quite averse to hops, in the same way that some people don’t like coriander.

“We tried to do something that was a bit unique with the lager and something that wasn’t hop-based.

“The lager style we’ve chosen is probably the antithesis of what most craft breweries would produce… it’s really got very low bitterness, very low hop character.”

A mid-strength beer dubbed Junior has also been introduced, which Walkenhorst said was “common sense” given many of Hargreaves Hills’ customers drive to visit the brewery.

“That is a hoppy beer, there’s Mosaic and Galaxy in it. At 3.5 per cent [ABV], it’s a new realm for us,” he said.

“It’s taken a long time to develop these two beers. The lager we’ve been brewing it for a long time in draught form – probably close to two years. The Junior has probably been about 18 months [in development], trying to make it a mid-strength beer that has sufficient character to make you really happy to drink it.”

An IPA rounds out the new core range for Hargreaves Hill, alongside its stalwarts ESB, Stout and Pale Ale.

“There wasn’t really an opportunity to just keep adding to the core range because the tank management on that becomes really difficult,” Walkenhorst said.

“I also thought we could have a much tighter, fresher offering.”

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