Start-up takes on clear bottle giants

Wingman's debut beer

Wingman 4.5 Premium Lager

A new independent brewer with big ambitions has launched a clear bottle lager that appears designed to compete with the likes of Great Northern Original.

Wingman Brewery has been founded by managing director David Henderson, a finance professional who most recently headed up Asia sales for private aircraft financier Global Jet Capital.

Co-founders Earle Burrows, a professional pilot, and Don Tritton, who co-founded vehicle leasing company Fleetplus, are also active in the business.

Their debut product Wingman Premium Lager is “a crisp, clean lager that wears its alcohol volume of 4.5 per cent boldly so you always know where you stand”.

“It can be hard to know how much you’ve had when the alcohol volume is hidden away in type so small you can barely read it,” the brewer says.

Wingman announced its arrival today with a promotional campaign on Sydney radio station 2GB featuring live reads from presenters Ben Fordham and Alan Jones.

The beer is being brewed for Wingman by Australian Beer Company, the Casella and Coca-Cola Amatil joint venture that is located in Yenda, NSW.

“They’ve got facilities, they’ve got capacity, they’ve got scalability, so they’re an ideal partner,” Henderson told Brews News of ABCo.

Wingman has struck a distribution deal with Independent Liquor Group, which services over 1500 outlets in Australia, many of which trade under the Super Cellars and Little Bottler banners.

Henderson said the beer was designed for mass appeal with lower bitterness than similarly positioned products on the market.

“When you have a few beers, that bitter aftertaste lingers on the palate. The aim was to produce one that just finishes, so that it’s a much more drinkable product,” he said.

Henderson said Wingman has the necessary resources to ensure consumer awareness and take-up of the brand, which is clearly going into battle with some rivals that have very deep pockets.

“We’ve got a budget that we’re marketing to. We feel that we’ve got sufficient to do what we’re trying to achieve with it,” he said.

Called Wingman because it is “the beer that has your back”, its logo has been designed to change colour when it reaches its ideal drinking temperature of 4.5° C.

The Kinetic Agency, which has worked with various beer brands in the past, assisted with the creative execution for Wingman.

Wingman Premium Lager will be available in ILG outlets from the end of next week. Henderson said the company has ambitions of introducing more products under the Wingman umbrella.

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