Australian vs imports and craft venue patronage

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by danieelol, Jul 24, 2012.

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  1. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (955) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    Just wondering what proportion people think they currently drink of local craft vs imported craft. I know this question has come up before but I think it's becoming increasingly interesting what with the solid stream of new imports we're getting.

    Looking at my reviews, personally I would guess I drink more beers from Australia than any other country. Furthermore, Australian beers are often the ones I repeat buy e.g. Coopers, Little Creatures, Stone & Wood, Murrays, Bridge Road, Mountain Goat etc. Often the imports are more a "once-off" kind of thing. I will also usually only buy imports if they're of a style which is hard to get good examples of in Australia. I'm usually not inclined to drink imported lagers or pale ales.

    As for craft venues, how often would you say you make it to a local craft bar? If you go infrequently or not at all, why is that? What factors prohibit or facilitate you going?

    For me the prohibiting factors are 1) not having anything appealing on tap, to a lesser extent 2) financial and to a lesser extent 3) not having anyone willing to go with me

    And a facilitating factor is when they have special events featuring lots of beers I haven't tried before.

    I would say I make it to craft venues reasonably frequently, maybe once a month on average.

    Interested in people's opinions/experiences.
  2. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I drink far more imported stuff then I do local craft, but that comes down to the fact that no one produces easily accessible sours. I can grab a Cantillon off the shelf and indulge, but I cannot do this with an Australian beer (I can with an Australian cider, yay for Natural Selection Theory!).

    Of course, ignoring my duty to drink copious amounts of sour beer, I am finding more and more great offerings from the local guys. Temple has shown to be a great craft brewery, Murray's always delivers, Feral is world class. For single offerings, Freaks & Geeks is an absolutely superb beer, and the most in-depth malt driven beer I have ever had. Other guys are producing regularly good beer, and are improving.

    With Artisanal Brewing opening this year, and more great beer being produced from competent brewers, the Australian craft scene is looking healthy. Of course it is still marred by a lot of sub-standard beer, but people are becoming educated and a lot of that is being weeded out for the good stuff.

    In terms of local bars. There is the Sail & Anchor, and across the road from that, but to a lesser extent, there is Norfolk. Otherwise, there is nothing else that interests me at all, and Feral is far too difficult to get to, to go regularly. I would love to see Feral open a themed bar in the city, I would be there every weekend with about 1000 other people who adore them.
  3. mulder1010

    mulder1010 Meyvn (1,019) Aug 29, 2008 Australia

    80-20 imports.
    I will buy some Murray's, Mountain Goat Rare Breed stuff and the occasional oddity here and there. For the most part what I want are covered by imports.
    What I like to drink and what is made locally is hard to come by. Imperial Stouts, Barleywines and IPA's. It is not a knock on brewers but my palate is just much different. I like big and aggressive beers. It is far and few between to find something that works with my palate that is made locally. Rocks IPA, Wild Thing, Wig and Pen RIS, and Murray's Anniversay and Big Wednesday are examples. No hope in finding a locally made good BA beer from here. Oaked Heart of darkness is nice but not on the level of the European or US beers on oak. We will not discuss bourbon barrel beers.
    Price is also important to me. I will drink torpedo, racer 5, WCIPA, or the Sierra Nevada DIPA and get better value than an Australian beer. Beer Geek brunch Weasel at $16? Yes, please, and thank you may I have more? May not be a better beer in this market than that beer for the money and value.
    I like going to Murray's at Manly but the service is shocking, so is the sticker price. what you get for near $6k in rent. Still, the beers are good and almost something worthy of making the effort to go to Manly for. I honestly can not be bothered to go across the ANZAC Bridge at this point to go have have a beer. Maybe Rocks on the odd occasion. I will make the drive to Canberra for Wig and Pen any time.
    Generally I have better stuff at home and in working in hospitality I really do not want to go out for a beer when I know what the mark ups are. I feel being cheated by the price of things in bottle or on tap.
    I will say again. I am in a very different minority. A lot like Lukie but to the other extent
  4. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    >Generally I have better stuff at home and in working in hospitality I really do not want to go out for a beer when I know what the mark ups are. I feel being cheated by the price of things in bottle or on tap.<

    This is a good point. I don't mind paying what I think I would charge in the same situation, but that is a rarity. Sail has a nice balance, but then you go to a place like Five Bar, and I can't even laugh at how ridiculous some of the prices are.
  5. dansmcd

    dansmcd Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2010 Australia

    I'd say about 50/50 for me. Not drinking all that much currently but when I drop in to IBS, Carlisle or Mane (once or twice a mth) there is usually a few new Aussie craft offerings I am looking to try out, as well as the wonderful imports these guys provide for Perth.

    Venues wise, the Sail and Anchor about once or twice a month (usually with a side trip to Monk for a pint), and Feral almost every week at the moment, despite the drive, the woeful service and so-so food (sometimes I wish they didn't make such outstanding beer so I wouldn't have to drive for an hour to get ignored at the bar, but then that first kiss of Rye IPA/Warhead/Boris hits the lips and I forgive the rest).
  6. spicelab

    spicelab Crusader (773) Nov 6, 2009 Australia
    Beer Trader

    About 70:30 imports, relatively unchanged over the last 3 years. Probably because despite the number of quality imports:
    - the number of Aussie offerings has increased markedly at the same time,
    - I like supporting Aussie brewers who I think are heading in the right direction,
    - for styles where freshness rules, it can be easier to get fresher Aussie stuff than imports - especially when you have brewers on social media (e.g. Ben Kraus from Bridge Rd) posting when things are being brewed and sent to vendors.

    Probably go to craft venues about once a month on average. Definitely the limiting factor is what's on tap, and to a lesser extent teeing up people to go with. Literally all it takes is one or two beers I'm interested in. Harts is a perfect example here - if something like their IPA, or even a slightly bold offering is on one of their guest taps I can't get there fast enough, otherwise not interested at all.

    Like Lukie and mulder1010, I have a strong penchant for sours, RIS's Barleywines and BA beers, but if Sydney had a venue with the charm of Harts and the beers from Murray's or the Taphouse (on a good day), I'd regularly forego my cellar to drink there.
  7. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (955) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    Problem with Sydney and presumably Perth also is that so many businesses in hospitality are focused on recouping their exorbitant rent, therefore the alcoholic beverages are their first point of gouging. Australian property market needs to actually become rational in order to facilitate quality venues. I think it's the number one reason for lack of/shitty Australian culture in general.
  8. dgilks

    dgilks Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2008 Australia

    I agree pretty much 100% with this. Actually, that is me to a T.
  9. joecast

    joecast Meyvn (1,115) Jun 30, 2003 Australia

    Would guess 60:40 with more domestics. I love all the new imports we are getting, and some of the prices are surprisingly low. But I would say the increasing variety from local brewers (especially as more things become available in Tassie) at least matches that.

    People bring up the quality v cost issue, and yes in some of the more extreme styles it probably is better going with imports. But looking at the whole range of what is available I think the local stuff is catching up.

    As for pubs, I feel pretty lucky. Can't get to the New Sydney often enough and the local offerings are great. Then the occasional import they manage to bring in just puts it over the top. When there I'd probably drink 70:30 domestic.
  10. jbowers56

    jbowers56 Initiate (0) Dec 30, 2008 Australia

    When I drink at a bar, I almost always try to go Aussie unless the beer selection is poor. In that case I go for the cheapest, least Australian tasting lager I can find. When buying from a bottle store I tend to be attracted more towards imports or single batch offerings from the 5-10 breweries I know can consistently make a decent (or in some cases excellent) beer. I'd say all up about 50-50, but I also drink a lot of homebrewed beer which means a lot more of my drinking these days is done either at home drinking my own beer, or out at a bar trying whatever they have fresh on tap (which is usually Australian). If I had more money, no doubt I'd spend it all on Gueuze.
  11. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    >If I had more money, no doubt I'd spend it all on Gueuze.<

    Start brewing lambic! I don't want to be the only one.
  12. jbowers56

    jbowers56 Initiate (0) Dec 30, 2008 Australia

    I've tried once. It wasn't a total failure, but it certainly wasn't a roaring success....

    Takes a long time, too, which mean space. I'll get back in to it though, next on the list after a really great, repeatable Berliner Weisse.
  13. MordeciaFunk

    MordeciaFunk Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2012 Australia

    'Bad joke blah blah blah bland inaninty. Slight crack at Lukie, idiotic affectionate name calling of Mr K. Slight self deprecation. Silly joke blahblahblah vague mention of where I work even though we all clearly know.

    Baiting of Scotty, over formalisation of naming conventions. Slight indignation at some silly percieved rudeness. Silly intellectual gag that only I find funny even though it isn't.'

    There, that sums up most of my posts without having to write one. I actually like this topic and will post something serious in a tick, but.... re. rent. A pub I know of 'wink, wink' is looking at roughly 10k a week. Or to put it broadly, you have to sell 1000 pints just to have the revenue to open the doors.
  14. heygeebee

    heygeebee Poo-Bah (1,557) Aug 6, 2010 Australia

    For me at present it would be around 70 local / 30 import. I have gone on a bit of an explore recently trying out non-NSW beers as well. Found some very good stuff. As my plate improves over the years I am getting less impressed with drinking dull imports of styles that rely on hop presence, so I am cutting back and only drinking imports of high ABV and little hops to improve my chances of drinking beer in good condition. I still have a general cut off of around $10 for a 330 and $16/17 for a bomber then my eyes just glaze over and I walk on, whether local or import.

    Local stuff such as Hop Dog is simply excellent these days, when you open the bottle and can smell immediately you know you are onto a winner.

    Craft venues? Tyranny of distance for me.... it's a hour on a train to the CBD plus a walk either end, around 1:30 house to pub. So it's once every 2/3 months probably, and I wish it was more often. Updated web-sites are a must. I don't go to the Metro or Enmore Theatres on spec, hoping to catch an Indie outfit only to find a death metal band on, and I won't go to a craft venue on that basis either. Ended up at Taphouse one night to find Octoberfest on, and it wasn't on the web. Disappointing. Done once, never to do again.
    Tap take-overs are worth it for me....
    If I am already in the city that's a different story, and drop-in to well-located bars, but that's not the thrust of your question.
  15. goodbyesoberday

    goodbyesoberday Initiate (0) May 12, 2005 Australia

    I prepared an excessively loquacious reply to this but deleted it because it was too wordy.

    Revisiting it in summary form:

    95% of the beer I drink is local because I mainly drink the beer I brew because I can't afford to drink anything else. Also because I like it.

    On the rare occasion I hit a beer or brewery bar I am like a kid in a candy shop. Local vs import here would tilt to local.

    When I buy beer in volume, it's always local.

    When I buy a bottle or two to taste, safety versus performance becomes the deciding factor. Having a trained palate (said in jest, with a deadpan face), I buy based on what I think will give me the minimum of faults. Imports, oxidation and age are the biggest impact. Local, anything goes and I'm really bad at gambling. I do love it when I win though. But, the balance here goes to import. We are talking small volume though.

    When I am rich, my beer cellar will always be stocked with Sierra Nevada Pale, Coopers Pale, Coopers Stout and Weihenstephan. These are the beers I can currently easily buy, and almost always know what I am buying.
  16. hopswiller

    hopswiller Initiate (0) Jul 17, 2011 Australia

    These days i would say 60 local /40 import and swinging more to the local due to the increase of stand out beers that the scene is now producing plus the regular availability of local beers at the new growlers stations in Perth.

    Most popular venues are Sail & Anchor, Old Brewery and Feral. Dont frequent as much as i would like to and usually have to con the wife into lunch in order to organise (and sometimes dinner, roll on the 11/8 - Feral Degusting Dinner)
  17. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Next time you are at IBS hopswiller, introduce yourself. I have no idea who you are.
  18. hopswiller

    hopswiller Initiate (0) Jul 17, 2011 Australia

    will do, although being a manager i doubt you work saturday's which is the day i usually drop in
  19. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    I'm a bit skewed (but you already knew that right?), 99% local. I'm not at the pub very often, mainly due to driving between 3 breweries trying to keep up with supply with a 1.5 hour drive between them ... and that driving means limited drinkies if any at all. Being the self-centered brewer I am, i am saving myself for the barrel aged beer I'm filling over the next few weeks and then the transition from Barrel Aged to Barrel fermented which will also happen with some of those beers, the Brett has been ordered and I am like an expectant father ... !!!
  20. Darwin553

    Darwin553 Initiate (67) Jan 5, 2009 Australia

    I try to seek international beers but normally come off empty-handed due to my poor local beer selection, so I am usually satisfied with the stone and wood, white rabbit and coopers of this world.
  21. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I do work it sometimes! Mainly when we have a tasting on.
  22. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    Yes roll on the degustation dinner 11/8! Can't wait. I like local beer and fresh imports via Pheonix beers.
  23. dansmcd

    dansmcd Initiate (0) Dec 19, 2010 Australia

    Looks like a number of BAs have the Feral Disgusting Dinner pencilled in (foles, hopswiller, Ive got my ticket, surely Lukie wouldn't miss it). Should be a cracking night.
  24. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I'll be there! COME SAY HELLO!

    I'll be the one swapping all of my beers out for pints of warhead.
  25. MordeciaFunk

    MordeciaFunk Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2012 Australia

    60:40 local for me.

    I try and support the local industry as much as possible but the amount of new, quality stuff coming over is making it more and more difficult. Not, so much because I think they're better, but because I'm a bit of a beer hopper and like to try everything at least twice.

    As regards craft venues, I go to one 6 days a week. If I didn't have to for work however, I would be like Mr Heygeebee, tyranny of distance would preclude me from venturing out to Fremantle on a regular occasion. The bar scene in Perth is slowley getting better though. I usually only go out to Mt Lawley because of distance to my house and the fact I've been drinking there since I was 14 old enough to go out (for Eastern Staters, Mt Lawley = hipster wankville) and the bars there generally have a good selection. One of the bars there, The Flying Scotsman, isn't renewing their tap contract, so they can put more craft on, which is a promising development and I think is the way bars are trending in general.

    I'm with the rest of the gang and enjoy my bigger beers. Luckily for me, I can order in kegs to get my Raspy fix. It does mean I have to share it with the general public, but thats ok.
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