Cheers to Australian barley and beer

Cheers to Australian barley and beer

Australian beer brewing companies source over 1,000,000 tonnes of malting barley from Australian farmers every year.

Australian hops are also an internationally renowned product with growers in Tasmania and Victoria producing over 1,600 metric tonnes a year.

That’s according to a new report from the Brewers Association of Australia, which represents the three companies that make up 80% of all beer sales in Australia – CUB, Coopers and Lion.

Brewers Association of Australia CEO, John Preston, said one of the report’s key conclusions is the importance of the partnership between Australia’s brewers and our Australian farming sector.

“Australians overwhelmingly drink beer brewed in Australia made with Australian ingredients sourced from Aussie farms” Mr Preston said.

“These new figures released today show that Australian brewers sourced almost $500 million worth of barley and hops from farms across Australia.”

More than 2 million tonnes of malting barley are produced by Australian farmers each year for brewing in Australia and overseas.

Australia typically produces around 920,000 tonnes of malt from about 1.1 million tonnes of local barley.

Australia’s domestic brewers use about 190,000 tonnes of malt per annum. The remaining 730,000 tonnes of malt are exported annually, mainly into Asia for brewing.

“This production supported almost 3,000 FTE jobs in the agriculture sector. With more of our larger brewers now buying direct from the farm the link between our farming sector and brewing has never been stronger.”

Brewers Association of Australia CEO John Preston

The report also shows that Australians still love a beer, drinking the equivalent of just over 2.5 billion pints of domestically produced and retailed beer in 2020-21 with a total retail value of around $17 billion a year. Australians are also embracing responsible consumption with mid-strength beer consumption having increased 130 per cent over the past 25 years.

“We all recognise the role that enjoying a beer plays in Australia’s culture but the report shows the true scale of brewing’s importance for our economy and communities and the significant shift that Australians have made to mid-strength beer consumption,” Mr Preston said.

Hops are grown primarily for their flavour and aroma contribution to beer and are farmed over 289 hectares in Tasmania and 411 hectares Victoria

The report also clearly shows the close relationship between brewing and the hospitality sector. In recent years beer sales have consistently averaged around 70 per cent of alcohol sales volumes in licensed premises making beer the anchor product for pubs and clubs. In Australia sales through the on-trade of domestically produced beer supported around 55,000 jobs in the hospitality sector.

Australians are drinking less beer however, with per capita consumption of pure alcohol from beer having dropped by over 30 per cent in the past 25 years.

Cheers to our barley growers

“You can’t have great Aussie beer without great Aussie barley,” says Wimmera grain farmer John Bennett.

“Brewing is a vital industry for farmers and the connection between barley farmers and Australian brewing is stronger than ever.”

GrainGrowers has welcomed the new research highlighting the contribution of its grower members to Australian beer.

GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton said it confirms that, without a doubt, a top drop starts way back in the paddock.

“Our grain growers welcome the strong working relationship with the brewing sector. Growers across Australia deliver around a million tonnes of top-quality malting barley annually, enabling brewers to get on with the serious business of quenching thirsts across Australia,” Mr Turton said.

Australian beer brewing companies source over 1,000,000 tonnes of malting barley from Australian farmers every year.

Mr Turton said the move by some brewers to direct sourcing from farmers reinforced the vital links, helping brewers better understand production variables and allowing consumers to know precisely where the barley was grown.

“Next time you raise a glass with friends, spare a thought for the grain growers, who work with brewers to make it all possible.”

GrainGrowers Chair Rhys Turton

The National Farmers Federation used last week’s release of the report as part of its National AgDay campaign reminding consumers about the innovative and diverse nature of Australian Agriculture.

“Australia farms produce the best barley and hops in the world and these are the key ingredients for Australian brewed beer,” said CEO Tony Maher.

Research for the ‘Australian Brewing: Our Economic and Social Contribution’ report was conducted by ACIL Allen for the Brewers Association of Australia.  

Craft beer brewing is the fastest growing cottage industry in regional areas. Read more here

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