Reduced Alcohol Beer Is the Future of Craft Beer in Australia

Reduced Alcohol Beer Is the Future of Craft Beer in Australia


“Drinkers want mid-strength craft beers with the full flavour and pronounced malt and hop characters of more artisan craft brews, but with less clout.”

This quote from this article sums it up well. There are increasing numbers of beers that are filling this gap. This was what we wanted to do when we created and released The Captain at 2.9% and we have more beers to come to fit into that segment.

But, importantly the big breweries are  SOFT DRINKS FOR SALE seeing that the mid strength market is growing. CUB have released Carlton cold at 3.5%. This article highlights the growth of the segment:

“The brewer said mid strength was now the second largest beer segment nationally with one in five beers sold in Australia now a mid.”

The article then quotes CUB’s general manager of marketing for Carlton brands, Andrew Meldrum:

“Balance and moderation are increasingly important and people want to be able to enjoy an occasion with a quality brew while exercising some restraint.”

It’s interesting that there is this focus from the big breweries on lower alcohol products, not just in the traditional northern states but across the country. There are still venues that will say they can’t sell light beer or mid-strength. Ultimately, there will be venues that can and venues that can’t. The venues that can might need to put a bit more effort into selling it. But the beer also needs to speak for itself.

When we created the Captain, we spent a lot of time and effort getting the balance right. Hop character is great but without malt to support it, the higher hopping rates get astringent and unpleasant. So upping the malt is necessary, but equally, malt without bitterness is cloying and you can’t have more than one. Balance is critical. But I think we have a good product in the Captain and it is starting to show.

There are venues which resisted and have taken it on and seen the benefits of having a full flavoured reduced alcohol product available. With summer on its way the demand for this kind of beer is only going to increase. Yes the sale might have been a bit more work because the mid strength and low alcohol beers have traditionally been fairly bland, but once tasted The Captain really moves.

The release of James Squire Constable is further evidence (if you’re looking for any) that the craft mid strength market is on the march. There will be brewers that look to the US and see high alcohol craft beers dominating the market. They will continue to do so, Australia is a different market and has different factors at play. Drink driving laws and the operation of the excise system which encourages lower alcohol products play an important role in the choices we make as consumers. For me enjoying a couple of beers without feeling a big alcohol hit is important. I love full strength and higher alcohol beer, but if I am enjoying a couple of beers with friends or family I prefer to be able to have a few and not have to stop after one. The US might be years ahead for craft beer generally, but the market there doesn’t have the same need for lower alcohol products… for now.

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