Aussie craft beer drinkers want to know who owns their brew

A study of 17,000 craft beer drinkers in Australia has shown that the majority want to know who owns their favourite brews.

In what is the largest survey of Australian craft beer drinkers to date, 64% of those surveyed said they’d prefer to know who owns the beer they’re drinking.

Unsurprisingly, (as it is a pattern repeated elsewhere in the world) there was an extremely strong preference for independently owned craft beers, with 99% of those surveyed being happy to buy from independents and just 23% saying they’d be happy to buy a craft beer from a large multi-national.

Over 80% said a seal indicating the beer was from an independent Australian brewery would have a strong effect on their buying choice.

Richard Kelsey, director of Beer Cartel, the retailer that orgainsed the survey, said: “We’re seeing consumer backlash when small breweries sell out to a large corporations worldwide. An Australian example was the displeasure voiced when Perth’s Little Creatures was bought by Lion in 2012.

“As a result these findings are not altogether surprising, but the difference in willingness to buy craft beer from an independent brewery compared to a large corporation is.”

In terms of popular brands and styles of craft beer in Australia the study found that Pirate Life in Adelaide was the favourite beer of those surveyed, followed by Feral Brewing in Western Australia.

Pale Ale meanwhile reigned supreme in the style-stakes, being the favoured beer of 92% of respondents.

Chis McNamara, executive officer of the Independent Brewers Association of Australia, said: “Earlier in the year we made a change in our constitution to only allow breweries that were independently owned. This change was made to support our member base and the objectives of the association, but it is also refreshing to see that consumers share the same viewpoint.”

It’s likely that much of the impetus behind the survey comes from the fact that there’s been a very definite trend over the past few years for brewing giants such as AB InBev and Heineken to buy up successful craft beers, especially in the US and, to a lesser extent, in the UK as well.

Previous craft beer stalwarts such as Brooklyn Brewing, Goose Island, Lagunitas, Meantime and Anchor Brewing (among many others) are all now owned by big multinationals, with Anchor Brewing being the most recent to fall, acquired by Japan’s Sapporo for US$85 million last month.

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