Billabong Brewing is taking out gold, silver and bronze awards for its handcrafted beers Susan Kirk reports
Established in 1993, Billabong was the first brew on premise brewery in Australia. As the name suggests the public come and make their own beer using the recipes and equipment provided at the brewery.
The business progressed to a commercial manufacturer and micro-brewery in October 2006, employing five staff and producing 9 handcrafted beers under the Billabong Brewing banner, three of which are gluten free.
The innovative and popular range of gluten free beer came after a period of two years research and development. The brand, Blonde, has proved popular and is sold all over the country by direct sales over the internet.
The beer is manufactured by mashing the grains to obtain both fermentable and non-fermentable sugars, then added to the kettle combined with hops to produce a wort. This is then cooled and transferred to a fermenter where yeast is added. The yeast then metabolise the usable sugars to alcohol and co2. The beer is then matured and if required, filtered and carbonated. It is then bottled or put in a keg for delivery to the customer.
In 2007 the 4 hop ale won two gold medals at the Australian International Beer Awards. A bronze medal at the Perth Beer Show and silver at the Sydney Royal Beer show. Dark Wheat, Pale Ale, Bavarian Wheat and Porter also won bronze and silver medals at the shows.
Alan Proctor, the Managing Director said, “The area of concept and design for labelling and packaging was probably the most difficult and expensive aspect of commercialisation.”
The branding reflects the Australian aspect of the business and, the artwork on each label is taken from paintings by internationally renowned artist Bob Booth – depicting billabongs from around the country.
Beer is supplied to selected liquor stores, taverns hotels and restaurants and the wider public via, ‘brewery door sales.’ The website allows national orders delivered through Australia Post. Potentially there is an export market but the company plans to consolidate prior to entry.
Expanding the range of gluten free beers, consolidation of systems and markets and staff development and training are on the agenda and 2007 looks to be a promising year for this innovative company. For further information: www.billabongbrewing.com.au