Working group established as Queensland brews up craft beer strategy

The Queensland Government is moving ahead on its promise to deliver a craft beer strategy for the local industry.

Last nightMinister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick announced a a working to help shape the government’s plan to support the local.

“Our Government has identified the independent craft brewing sector as a valuable economic contributor which is well worth supporting, bursting with potential and scope to expand locally, interstate and even overseas,” he said.

“Craft beer production in Queensland is estimated to be worth around $62 million per year and growing, and more than 13 per cent of Australia’s 516 independent breweries can already be found in our state.

“We know there are more than 80 homegrown craft brewing operations around Queensland, yet they make up only about 11 per cent of our state’s beer industry, compared to higher levels in other states.

“The sector is growing fast, with 17 new craft breweries opening in the past year, which shows the pace we need to keep up with to continue creating jobs and opportunities for Queenslanders in this industry.

“The Queensland Craft Brewing Strategy Working Group is an expert panel from this young and dynamic industry who will help shape the government’s support plan.”

The Queensland Craft Brewing Working Group will consist of:

  • Chris McNamara, CEO of the Independent Brewers Association
  • David Kitchener, Founder and Director of Ballistic Beer Co (Brisbane)
  • Adrian Slaughter, Co-Founder and Director of Green Beacon Brewing Co (Brisbane)
  • Jack Milbank, CEO of Bargara Brewing Co (Bundaberg)
  • Craig Parsell, Co-Founder and Director, Hemingway’s Brewery (Port Douglas)

“One of the strengths of this industry is its youth, small but growing size and pioneering spirit of collaboration, meaning almost all Queensland craft brewers are Independent Brewing Association members, and many are already working together to get Queensland on the global craft beer map,” Mr Dick said.

“This formal group, together with representatives from my department and other key stakeholders, will help guide what our plan to support Queensland’s craft brewing industry will look like to ensure it responds appropriately to the concerns of those it is designed to support.”

The working group was announced at a special event led by the Minister at Parliament House last night, where Queensland’s craft brewers showcased their wares and shared their views on the industry’s future.

The event featured nine independent breweries, including four from regional Queensland, and Mr Dick said the night was designed to highlight the variety, innovation and excellence of Queensland’s craft brewers and the importance of this growing sector to the state’s beverage manufacturing industry.

“We also wanted to encourage Members of Parliament to learn about the valuable role that independent breweries play in their local communities, to engage with and support the industry in their electorates, and sample a selection of our state’s products,” he said.

Brewers at the showcase event are: Brisbane’s Green Beacon Brewing Co, Teneriffe; Ballistic Brewing Co, Salisbury; Revel Brewing Co, Bulimba; Newstead Brewing Co; Bacchus Brewing, Capalaba and Brouhaha Brewery, Maleny; Bargara Brewing Company, Bundaberg; Townsville Brewing Co and Hemingway’s Brewery, Port Douglas.

The craft brewing national body, the Independent Brewers Association and other key stakeholders are working closely with the government in the development of the strategy, which is being led by the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.

Preliminary consultation with industry has already identified some initial issues:

  • Regulatory red tape – for example, land use regulation, liquor licensing, sales reporting
  • Skills and training – for example, the national brewer shortage and need for recognised vocational qualifications
  • Tourism potential
  • Support programs – both non-financial and financial for small business and innovation

Mr Dick said the government was committed to finalising a strategy in the latter part of this year.

“Our craft beer strategy is a strong answer to the industry’s call for support to reach its full potential and is part of our government’s commitment to building Queensland’s valuable manufacturing industry,” he said.

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