Bottle dating local beer

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by heygeebee, May 29, 2012.

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  1. heygeebee

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

    touched on in another thread - excellent point from MrKennedy, and one which I think is worth discussing on it own 'merits'. That being Bottle Dating (or more accurately lack thereof) of Aussie Beers.

    Simple question - why is it not widespread? I know Little Brewing do it. I know Murrays have the space but don't seem to always print on it. Mountain Goat do it - why not everyone?
  2. Shawn23

    Shawn23 Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2007 Australia

    At Murray's we definitely do it. Beers bottled onsite at our brewery have the date on the lower part of the back label. The batches of Whale and Pale bottled offsite have a date stamp code on the lower neck of the bottle.

  3. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I always thought it was a legal requirement, but I guess not.

    It is something all breweries should be doing.

    ALEBOY Initiate (0) May 31, 2003 Australia

    To my knowledge the law only requires you to date if the product will expire in under 2 years. Beer will not "expire" as such in 2 years so it is not legally required. ... However, few beers will be in a condition that I want to drink in that time period so dating is a good idea. Many breweries don't date bottles simply because that don't have the facilities to do it.
  5. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    Most bottle coding for beer is a 'best before' not 'best by' right? I am one for coding, if someone complains how do you track it, the machinery is <$10k to do this as well i think ...

    ALEBOY Initiate (0) May 31, 2003 Australia

    As little as $5k ... depending on what you want and how simple you prepared for it to be. Which is why I don't understand spending big $$$ on a filler and labeler and not the extra few on dating..
  7. sinkas

    sinkas Aspirant (201) Jul 9, 2008 Australia
    Beer Trader

    seems like a strange thisng to eocnomise on, given that brewers are so disgruntleded by stale imports, and rave about how everything must be fresh as a daisy
    how can they do any QC if they dont know when a product was made?
    Lukie likes this.
  8. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    here here!
  9. dgilks

    dgilks Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2008 Australia

    Exactly, though, as an educated beer consumer, I would prefer a bottled on date (or both!) so I can make a judgement as to whether it is still good rather than a best by. This is especially important with some American breweries who are putting 60 and 90 day dates on their beers but you don't always know who is doing what. The last thing I really want is an 11 month old IPA when I think it has a 90 day best before.
    joecast likes this.
  10. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    Dont be too harsh on the Yanks, those guys are pounding thru their beer, would be lucky to last a few weeks at best in trade ...
  11. joecast

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

    Another vote For. Would hate to wrongly label a beer as bad when its just a bit old. Willing to give old beer another chance, but not a bad one.
  12. spicelab

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

    While there's absolutely no excuse for US brewers, I sympathise with Australian micros who have reservations about bottle dating.

    Couple low and unpredictable turnovers with a distribution chain that is often beyond the control of the brewer, then throw in consumers who won't go near something they know is over 2 months old (or 2 weeks for some), and it's not hard to see why brewers aren't enthusiastic about setting themselves up for a potential hiding.

    I still want them to do it though. Just for me.
  13. heygeebee

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

    Yep - just had a Red Hill Wheat, and Red Duck Hoppy Amber last night. No dates anywhere. Not good beer, either.

    I will start to boycott the lighter, hoppier, styles until I see some numbers, methinks!
  14. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    Remember the US has the 3 tier model, Brewers have no control of their products distribution in comparison to ourselves ....
  15. goatherder

    goatherder Initiate (0) Jun 10, 2005 Australia

    But the US also has Jim Koch from Sam Adams. He regularly toured distribution centres & removed any of his beer which was out of date, replacing it at no cost to the distributor or retailer. He actually took responsibility for the freshness of his beer right through the supply chain. The same supply chain that is apparently out of the control of any other brewer.

    It's not good enough to produce a great beer at the brewery. It needs to be great when it I buy it. Blaming the supply chain doesn't cut it for me. Put a date on the beer so I can make an informed decision. I know it's a hard market but brewers need to live & die by the quality of the product in the punters hand.
  16. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Stone started their own distribution company to distribute their own, and several other brewery craft beers, to make sure it was arriving in the condition they wanted it to.
  17. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    Dunno why you are having a go at me personally about this when your a bit light on information and only make an example of Boston Beer Company? The US also had folks like Ken Grossman who set the agenda for Reefers, but with over 300 distrubutors in thier network, a tour of those across the US personally would be impossible. Same with New Belgium, Dan Carey at New Glarus who also enforce standards on thier distributors and its easy to throw out thier names. I sat in on a lecture at the CBC from a fellow at New Belgium who worked through his distributor program.

    The US, and in particular SN and Boston invest significant resources managing distributors. There is was also a large initiative to increase draft beer standards But, as per the laws of that model, the companies in most instances cannot have direct engagement with customers at bottle stores and on-premise venues unless in the company of distributors.

    But lets not take away from the problem and I agree with your insistence on a date for which to make a decision, and the need for brewers to 'man up' when it comes to quality. If its bad then will you ever buy it again?
  18. heygeebee

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


    Kudos to Bridge Road..... 'Bottled on' dates appearing.. good stuff :grinning:
  19. Darwin553

    Darwin553 Initiate (67) Jan 5, 2009 Australia

    One who I will call out is White Rabbit - I can't see their bb on their bottles :slight_frown:
  20. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    I simply don't buy beer without date labels. For example I will never buy bottles of Feral (and I live in Perth) even though they brew great beer.

    Question: Would you buy milk without a use by date?
  21. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Big difference between milk, a non-fermented perishable, and beer, a fermented product that can be argued is not perishable.

    And Feral have BB dates on their cases.
  22. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    I know its not strictly perishable, but for the $$$ we pay we deserve it dated and kept cool.

    Feral - I love them to bits, but it should really be on the bottles, not everyone buys cases. I would like to know that my local beer is actually super fresh. In saying that - its a good reason to buy a case!
  23. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I believe it requires a printing accessory to the bottling line to imprint. I will ask Brendan next time I see him what his thoughts are on it/whether they are looking at implementing it. I might be helping with packaging at the brewery soon, which will be coooool.

    I can at least guarantee that no Feral stock at IBS is older then 3 weeks from bottling, unless something has dramatically changed in the 2 weeks since I have left.
  24. sinkas

    sinkas Aspirant (201) Jul 9, 2008 Australia
    Beer Trader

    Lukie the IBS is now a Liquorland and only carries, aged corona
    Lukie likes this.
  25. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    Corona is more likely to have a preferred age (& class) range for the drinker.
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