Stories from the newswires

Moondog’s Franco Cozzo plans rejected

MoonDog’s plans to turn a landmark Melbourne furniture showroom into a brewery have suffered a setback after the project was rejected by Maribyrnong City Council.

Despite the application receiving 52 in favour of the proposal and only 22 against, The Age reports that Maribyrnong chief executive Celia Haddock said that safety concerns were the primary reason for the refusal.

“The narrow width of the footpath coupled with the high volume of traffic presented an unacceptable safety risk for future patrons.

“This was highlighted in an independent road safety audit, commissioned by Moon Dog, with the audit finding a number of risks which could not be mitigated,” Ms Haddock told The Age.

Moon Dog has 60 days to lodge an appeal against this decision at VCAT or submit another application to council with a revised proposal.

“It is a disappointing outcome but it’s not one that we weren’t prepared for,” Moon Dog co-founder Karl van Buuren told The Broadsheet.

Moondog has indicated that it will be working on a revised proposal with the council in the hopes of a resolution without needing to appeal the decision.

There is no such thing as terroir in beer

An article in Pellicle magazine has sparked passionate discussion, with an Australian brewer weighing in.

The article reflects deeply into the provenance story that beer can have but concludes that connecting beer to its agriculture and its seasonality is not the same as its flavour being a direct expression ‘of the earth’, or terroir.

“Although, I still believe in the potential for beer to truly express a sense of place, but maybe that place isn’t a field, or an orchard, or a hillside,” writer Matthew Curtis concluded.

“If beer is expressive of anything, then this expression is found, not where it is grown or made, but where it is served, and this, surely, is what makes it so special.”

The article triggered extensive debate, with Wildflower’s Topher Boehm taking to twitter to express his own views in a lengthy thread.

“I agree with Matt’s conclusion but not necessarily the exact premises that describes in this article to get them to that conclusion. I agree that beer does not possess terroir not because of what beer lacks when compared to wine, but instead because the term itself is vague and as such is impossible to agreeably define amongst a group of people,” Boehm tweeted.

It’s a fascinating discussion that goes back to the days of craft beer’s roots, and well worth reading the Pellicle article, the tweet thread and much of the informed discussion. More than anything, it’s nice to see attention given to an engaged discussion about the best elements of beer, rather than the latest short-term gimmick.

Ireland to introduce world-first alcohol health labeling policy

The Guardian reports Ireland will become the first country in the world to mandate health labeling on alcoholic drinks to alert people to calorie content, grams of alcohol, risks of cancer and liver disease and dangers of drinking while pregnant.

Hildegarde Naughton, the minister for public health, wellbeing and the national drugs strategy, said medical evidence showed even low levels of alcohol consumption incurred a cancer risk.

Alcoholic drink providers will be compelled to display the information and warnings on product packaging and also to direct consumers to the website of Ireland’s Health Service Executive for further information on alcohol consumption. Similar information will also be made available in pubs and other licensed premises.

The move has increased calls from Australian researchers for similar measures in Australia.

“It’s time to put consumer health and rights before commercial interests and warn people drinking and buying alcohol of the risks,” argued one group of researchers in an opinion column in The Conversation.

The calls come as Australian and New Zealand alcohol producers have to move to prescribed pregnancy labeling, and discussion whether credit is given to the mental health benefits that moderate alcohol use can have through increased social interaction.

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