Monday, 24 March 2014

From Beer to Eternity :: Guest Post :: Dave Ellis

Do you like beer? It can be a bit of a love or hate thing can't it?

While it's not for everyone (I'm more of a latte girl myself), it certainly causes some excitement for Dave Ellis - beer blogger and creator of "From Beer to Eternity". Read on to see why the craft beer industry is causing excitement for Dave and other geeky beer lovers out there.

For the sake of transparency, Dave also happens to be my brother... 

There he is on the right...  This isn't so much a "SQUEE".. It's more of an "ARRRRRHGHH"

Dave Ellis :: From Beer to Eternity

There's something unpredictably exciting about an industry that is exploding. Good exploding, I mean. I'm not enjoying the current implosion of the manufacturing industry in this country or anything....Okay, bad start. Let's try a new angle.

Craft beer as an industry in this country is in it's infancy, but there is a huge wave of momentum gathering for it and it's going to need every last drop.

For example, even though craft beer is more popular than it's ever been it still currently holds less than 10% of the market share, while international corporations SAB Miller and Kirin Holdings control the rest.

The little guys are up against it.

Luckily, this particular part of the industry is not purely motivated by numbers, profit margins and market share. It's fuelled by love and passion for the craft.

Oh, who am I? That's a fair question.

A few years ago I started up my own blog about beer when I knew very little about it, purely just because I was excited enough about it to keyboard bash some words and fling them out into the web where very few people saw them. Even less when I changed the settings to ignore my own hits.

Since then I've come to write for various other online publications about beer, and most excitingly I've been recording a podcast for a couple of months now, which has been outrageous fun so far. You can check it out here if you so desire.

So anyway, I've been closely following the progress for nearly four years now, and the change of landscape in that time is unrecognisable. Where once the only notable craft breweries were Mountain Goat of Richmond, Grand Ridge of Mirboo and Bridge Road of Beechworth the number is now in three digits with breweries popping up in all corners of the country.

Not so long ago you would have to go to a dedicated craft beer bar if you wanted to try something with more than minimal flavour, and this was due to the fact that most establishments around the country would have had a tap contract with one of the big breweries (CUB or Lion Nathan) that locks anyone else out of being able to showcase their wares at those particular venues.

With a leap of faith from some bars and more passionate people making their product we've seen this slowly evolve and more venues placing a value on these more artisanal beers.

Now it's almost unheard of to go into a bar or pub and not be able to get something from Mountain Goat, Two Birds, or Stone & Wood. Whilst more and more venues are opening that only stock craft beers, the most exciting thing to see is existing bars terminating their contracts with the large breweries because they have indicated that they can sustain their business with purely the craft beers.

It's good fun to see.

Speaking of good fun, there is no more fun time of the year than Good Beer Week.

Starting in 2011 by a few driven people over a few beers, the festival was planned about 12 weeks from the opening day and enough interested bars and breweries got together to plan about 50 events over the week.

Fast forward to 2014 and this year's festival features over 200 events and has commanded enough attention to have Vue de Monde host an extravagant beer versus wine degustation to be hosted by Garrett Oliver, founder of the Brooklyn Brewery in the USA and widely regarded as a world authority on beer and food.

This is only one marquee event in an epic line up of beer related events, you can check more of them out in your own time here.

The quick and ferocious evolution of that festival is a good barometer for the evolution of craft beer in Australia, and being involved even at the punter level is exciting, because you don't really know how it's going to change in the future, but you certainly do know that there's going to be fun to be had along the way.  

Dave Ellis

1 comment:

  1. Not a huge fan of beer, except in the awfully hot summer. But I do love reading about passionate people doing their thing.
    You seem to have a family that breeds really positive passionate people Ashley, that's really cool.
    PS congrats on the nomination well done!