Bundaberg Rum Distillery brings home international tourism awards

Bundaberg Rum Distillery has been named as one of the world’s top distillery attractions winning two gongs for the second time at the 2018 Drinks International Distillery Challenge Awards in London.

The Bundaberg Rum Distillery Experience was named World’s Best Distillery Retail Experience while The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival was awarded World’s Best Distillery Event.

The Drinks International Distillery Challenge Awards recognises innovation and excellence amongst distilleries and associated businesses.

Bundaberg Rum also received a Highly Commended award in the World’s Best Visitor Centre category.

The accolades follow past wins for Bundaberg Rum at the Distillery Challenge Awards. In 2017, the Visitor Experience was crowned the World’s Best Distillery Retail Experience and Educational Experience. In 2016, The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival was voted The World’s Best Distillery Event.

Duncan Littler, Visitor Experience Operations and Brand Manager says: “With each award win we are more humbled that our iconic Distillery continues to delight visitors from both near and afar. It’s an honour to win these awards and accolades that highlight that our world class distillery experience here in Bundaberg. We’re extremely proud.”

Just recently it was announced HRH The Prince of Wales will visit the Bundaberg Rum Distillery as part of a tour of the region on 6 April. Visitors near and far are invited to join in the celebrations.

The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival will also return to the distillery grounds on 13 October as part of Bundaberg Rum’s 130th anniversary celebrations. The Festival is the largest food and rum festival in Australia.

WA tourism push needs more beer

The Western Australian Government’s goal to raise the value of tourism to $12 billion by 2020 could be boosted by more attention to ales, pilsners and lagers, Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers suggest.

Tourism WA’s Taste 2020 quite rightly focuses on the South West region’s premium food and wines as a way to increase the 400,000 ‘gourmet travellers’ who currently grace our state annually.

However, the recent boom in craft breweries indicates wine’s less revered younger brother has earned a seat at the table.

“Judging from the awards brewers in WA are getting, it’s fair to say they’re producing really good beers,” said Nevil Alexander from ECU’s School of Business and Law.

“Craft breweries work very well with wineries and food, as they fit the ‘premium’ reputation of the region, particularly the Margaret River brand.

“However, they need recognition and support to thrive.”

Currently there are approximately 66 craft breweries in WA, with the highest concentrations in Perth and the Swan Valley and between Dunsborough and Margaret River.

Since 2006, craft breweries in Australia have risen from 30 to 528; and an average of 68 new establishments per year have opened since 2014, with a closure rate of only 4 per cent.

 Researching the way forward

In a recent publication from ongoing research, Mr Alexander and Dr Abel Duarte Alonso canvassed 57 craft brewery operators and 219 hobby craft brewers to identify challenges and opportunities related to tourism engagement.

In terms of barriers, commercial brewers pointed to the long distance between breweries, unfair competition from larger breweries and a lack of critical mass.

Hobbyists were most concerned with costs, particularly excise tax on craft beer, but also noted distance.

“Both groups indicated that the craft brew experience would work best in combination with other activities, whether that is gourmet food, wineries or things like festivals and sporting events,” Mr Alexander said.

“This would help overcome concerns about the distance between breweries and provide those taking tours with a more enhanced experience.”

Hobbyists also had a keen desire for behind-the-scene activities such as hop farm tours or opportunities to observe the malting process.

“There is clearly a desire for craft brewery experiences – the whole industry is evolving, and we need to recognise beer as a tourism asset,” Mr Alexander said.

Mr Alexander is also chief steward of the Perth Royal Beer Show.

‘Craft Beer Tourism Development “Down Under”: Perspectives of Two Stakeholder Groups’ was published in Tourism Planning & Development.

Johnnie Walker changes iconic label, replaces man with a woman

Johnnie Walker has unveiled Jane Walker, the first-ever female iteration of the brand’s Striding Man logo.

The new image will debut in the US on a special-edition offering of the scotch whiskey’s Black Label blend. The product will be available beginning in March to coincide with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day celebrations.

“Important conversations about gender continue to be at the forefront of culture and we strongly believe there is no better time than now to introduce our Jane Walker icon and contribute to pioneering organizations that share our mission,” commented Stephanie Jacoby, Vice President of Johnnie Walker. “We are proud to toast the many achievements of women and everyone on the journey towards progress in gender equality.”

To support this effort as part of Keep Walking America, Johnnie Walker will be donating $1 for every bottle of the Jane Walker Edition made to organizations championing women’s causes, with a total donation of up to US$250,000.

One organization Johnnie Walker will be supporting is Monumental Women, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a monument honoring America’s women suffragists in New York City’s Central Park, where there are 23 statues of historical figures but not one honoring a real woman.

In addition to celebrating historic female figures through the Monumental Women partnership, Johnnie Walker will also celebrate the next generation of female leaders by donating a portion of Jane Walker Edition proceeds to She Should Run, who are dedicated to inspiring women to run for office.

$10.3m upgrade for iconic Cascade Brewery

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is making a $10.3 million capital investment to significantly increase Cascade’s brewing capability and launch Cascade as one of Australia’s leading craft breweries. The brewing upgrade will result in a 65 per cent increase in production at Cascade.

According to the company, the upgrade is intended to secure its future and realiseits for Cascade and Tasmania to become a craft brewing hub for the Asia Pacific region.

Cascade will expand its craft brewing options, including brewing experimental beers for our Australian and Asia Pacific region operations. It will also brew a number of beers from some of the world’s leading craft brands.

The beers brewed at Cascade will be distributed to all Australian states, with some exported to the Asia Pacific region. This is good news for Tasmania’s local economy and jobs.

The expansion will secure Cascade’s existing jobs, while also creating jobs in the construction phase and five new ongoing full-time jobs.

“We are thrilled that Cascade will become CUB’s craft brewing hub for the Asia Pacific region. It is testimony to our long-term confidence in Cascade, Hobart and Tasmania”, said Jan Craps, CEO of CUB.

CUB selected Cascade to lead our growth in craft beer for a number of reasons. “We love Tasmania’s vibrancy and confidence and its world renowned reputation for clean food and drink. We’re also backing our team of experienced brewers at Cascade to take us to the next level. We’re going to build on a heritage that commenced when Cascade first brewed for Tasmanians in 1832,”  Craps said.

Image: Will Hodgman, Premier of Tasmania at Cascade Brewery.

Sheep, cheese, vodka and sustainability in Tasmania

Hartshorn Distillery, winner of the Beverage of the Year at the 2017 Food & Beverage Industry Awards, uses a cheese making waste product to create alcoholic beverages. Matthew McDonald writes.

About 15 years ago, Ryan Hartshorn’s family moved from Queensland to southern Tasmania with the idea of establishing a dual wine and sheep-cheese-making business.

As Hartshorn, a director and owner of Grandvewe Cheeses and Hartshorn Distillery told Food & Beverage Industry News, given that nobody in the family had experience in these fields, the move was a gamble. His mother Diane Rae did much of the early work. Among other things, she travelled to Europe to learn from experienced cheese makers.

From the outset, sustainability was a key priority for the business. For example, the original idea involved the sheep doing the job of maintaining (eating) the vegetation between the vines. Unfortunately, the sheep weren’t disciplined enough to limit themselves to grass and destroyed the vines themselves. So the vineyard was abandoned in favour of just the cheesery.

Hartshorn Distillery's Ryan Hartshorn (centre) with his sister Nicole Gilliver (left) and his mother Diane Rae (right).
Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn (centre) with his sister Nicole Gilliver (left) and his mother Diane Rae (right).



Then, three years ago, Hartshorn decided to take another gamble. “I started to get a bit sick of the cheese side of the business and wanted to have my own creation. I decided to learn how to distill. Essentially, I was trying to figure out how I could make a distillery relevant to a cheesery and how they could work together,” he said.

The obvious path would have been to make milk liquors, but Hartshorn wanted to try something different. He had heard about a business in Ireland using cow whey (a cheese making by-product) to make alcohol and decided to try something similar with sheep whey.

“I asked the Irish operation how to do it but they wouldn’t tell me,” he said. So he had to work it out for himself.

The process of using lactose (the complex sugar found in whey) to make alcohol is not simple because fermentation requires a basic (not complex) sugar.

The only way to transform the lactose into a basic sugar is to use enzymes to break down its protein molecules. Hartshorn read about some enzymes that might be able to do this. With the help of some food technologists in Melbourne, and by a long process of trial and error, he identified the right enzymes and then started to develop his products.

Today, Hartshorn Distillery makes Sheep Whey Gin, Sheep Whey Vodka (which took out the aforementioned award) and Vanilla Whey Liqueur. After three years of operation, the distillery has now overtaken the cheesery, accounting for about 60 per cent of the overall business.

Experience is crucial

Hartshorn emphasised the fact that, in his case, taking a risk and innovating was not easy. He advises others considering taking such a step to first make sure they have plenty of experience behind them.

“I don’t think I could have done this if I came straight from working for someone else. I’d worked in my business (the cheesery) for 12 or thirteen years before making this leap,” he said. “So I had a pretty good understanding of the market. I wasn’t in the alcohol industry but there are a lot of similar factors involved. I had an idea what the market wanted.

“Basically, if you want to innovate, you need to do your research. You need to make sure you know what’s out there and what’s not out there, then try and fill those gaps.”

There is another unique aspect to Hartshorn Distillery. All its bottles are hand-painted and one-of-a-kind. As Hartshorn explained, nobody has copied this. “Big companies can’t really do it because of the work involved,” he said.

The distillery has grown by an impressive 600 per cent in the last year and, while Hartshorn is currently focusing his energies on keeping on top of this demand, he conceded that he may have to soon start thinking about adding some new buildings to the operation.

“I’ll keep my range the same but I’ll keep changing the bottle design. I want to do more collector items,” said Hartshorn.

Whatever happens, sustainability will remain important to the business. “We’ve been trying to use our waste almost from the beginning. We do a few other little lesser-known products like making fudge from whey,” he said. “We also make some of our older sheep into a sausage that we sell through our cheesery. And we make a fruit paste that goes with our cheese made from the waste of wine making.”

For more information on the Awards, or to get involved for 2018, click here.

Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn makes vodka and gin from sheep whey, a cheese making by-product.
Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn makes vodka and gin from sheep whey, a cheese making by-product.


Major organisations supporting 2018 Drinks Industry Show

Two major drinks industry organisations, along with publisher Food & Beverage Media, have thrown their support behind the 2018 Drinks Industry Show.

Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT and the Restaurant & Catering Association (R&CA) have both announced their support of the revamped industry show for 2018, which will be held from 18-19 June at Dockside in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

“The Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT is pleased to again support and partner with The Drinks Industry Show. We look forward to collaborating to develop a strong program that delivers a unique and valuable educational and networking experience for our members and the broader retail liquor industry,” said Michael Waters, Association Executive Director of the Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT.

R&CA CEO Juliana Payne was also upbeat about supporting the show.

“The Drinks Industry Show offers Australia’s food and liquor industries a unique way to work together to improve the consumer experience. Having the perfect opportunity to trial Australian wines and beverages that suit their menus enhances the potential for Australia’s restaurants, cafés and caterers to benefit from turnover and customer loyalty. The association is proud to support this show, which clearly supports the Australian industry,” she said.

Building on the strong points of last year’s show, industry-leading workshops, seminars, taste testings and networking will again be strong elements in the 2018 event.

Both exhibitors and visitors value the educational components, with highly positive feedback about the quality of the speakers and seminar content. The 2018 program will address key industry trends and challenges, offering the drinks trade a unique opportunity to discuss and have their say in the industry’s future direction.

With face-to-face still the best way of doing business, this year will see two networking events in both a welcome and closing reception. These enjoyable, highly useful occasions will allow attendees to engage and develop meaningful connections for their enterprises.

And to guide attendees through discovering the latest flavour combinations, a Pairing Station will be added in 2018. Top industry professionals will showcase and demonstrate “what’s hot” for attendees via a thoughtfully prepared menu.

New alcoholic popsicles

Pops, which brought the world the first Champagne Popsicle three years ago, is back this summer with its biggest ever range.

The latest additions are Frosé and Watermelon Martini. Made in Britain using natural ingredients and low in calories, the new launches join a lineup that already includes   Classic Champagne and Bellini popsicles.

Frosé popsicle

The frosé trend is set to hit new heights this year with the launch of the Frosé popsicle. Each Rosé & Raspberry contains real rosé wine and raspberries. It contains just 30 calories and 4.3 per cent alcohol.

Watermelon Martini popsicle

Each Watermelon Martini popsicle contains a splash of vodka and real watermelon, making them the perfect tropical treat to enjoy over summer. It contains 4.8 per cent alcohol.

These new releases bring the full Pops range to four flavours containing alcohol (Classic Champagne, Bellini, Frosé, Watermelon Martini) and two alcohol-free flavours (Strawberry & Mint, Apple & Elderflower). All are now also available in Perth.

Coopers Brewery continues strong growth

Coopers Brewery chalked up its 24th consecutive year of growth in beer volumes in 2016-17, with sales rising 2.9 per cent to a record 83.8 million litres.

In releasing the company’s annual results, Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper said Coopers now held almost 5 per cent market share in the national beer market where industry figures showed a decline in sales volume of 1.9 per cent during 2016-17.

“This marks 24 consecutive years of growth in beer volumes for a compound annual growth rate of 8.9 per cent,” he said.

“Turnover for 2016-17 rose to $252.4 million compared with $245.9 million from the previous year.

“Profit before tax of $33.4 million was down 3.5 per cent from $34.6 million in 2015-16, a result impacted by the final write-down of the goodwill and brand names of Mr Beer (USA), overhead costs associated with the construction of the new maltings plant and redundancy costs arising from a restructure as we reallocate resources to our growing interstate markets.”

Fully franked dividends totalling $12.50 a share were paid, steady from the previous year.

Dr Cooper said the new $65 million maltings plant, which will be officially opened at Regency Park on November 30, will immediately start to contribute to earnings, with a view to achieving full utilisation of the facility over the next two financial years.

“The maltings will be able to produce about 54,000 tonnes of malt a year, of which Coopers will use a little over 17,000 tonnes,” he said.

“The rest will be available for sale and Coopers already has signed contracts with customers in Australia and Asia.”

Dr Cooper said sales growth during the year had been built on improved packaged beer sales.

New South Wales led this growth with sales up 6.9 per cent, Queensland up 5.5 per cent, Victoria up 3.5 per cent and Western Australia up 1.8 per cent. Sales in South Australia fell slightly.

“NSW is our strongest market, representing 27 per cent of total sales, compared with 22.9 per cent for our home state of South Australia, 18.7 per cent for Victoria and 16.2 per cent for Queensland,” he said.


Tooheys New goes retro with classic beer can

Tooheys New has brought back its iconic 30-pack of classic cans for a limited time only.

Tooheys New has long been the chosen beer with mates and has shared some damn beautiful moments over the years with you all, from the footy sheds to fishing trips, buck nights to baby showers, and everything that’s good in between.

Tom Bills at Tooheys said the cans will only be available for a limited time and explains the idea behind the classic edition design.

“We reckon they’re a big old ‘cheers’ and a nod to the values of our drinkers back in the day, you know the kind – mateship, honesty and loyalty – cracking values that continue to remain important to Aussies today,” said Bills.

Available at all good beer retailers in NSW, these limited edition cans are sure to sell themselves and won’t be around for long.

Frerejean Frères Champagnes

Noble Spirits has added a premium brand to its portfolio – Frerejean Frères Champagnes.

The Frerejean-Taittinger brothers grew up with love and respect for the Champagne tradition and were surrounded by prestigious Champagne makers. They built their own Maison de Champagne, an independent house, as a tribute to their passion for the historical terroir. Today, Guillaume, Richard and Rodolphe are fulfilling their vision of producing cuvées in the manner of great wines.

In the quest of authenticity and purity, Frerejean Frères only work with grape variety from Premier Cru coming from the famous Côte des Blancs (9% of the best vines in Champagne). The Frerejean Frères Premier Cru Champagnes are aged for a minimum of five years in the cellar.

Frerejean Frères is having great success overseas, with their Champagne available in 2 and 3 Michelin Star venues such as The Dorchester in London, Coi Restaurant in San Francisco, Le Grand Véfour in Paris and Bocuse in Lyon.

Frerejean Frères are breaking the codes, it is not just a drink for ‘special occasions’, but a refined drink for summer and the festive season.

Noble Spirits has brought the full range of this premium brand here for the Australian consumer. This includes the Brut Premier Cru, which is characterised by the tastes of crystallised fruits, spices and honey, and made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The delicate and satin textured Blanc de Blancs, which is made from Chardonnay of different years; and finally Cuvée des Hussards, a powerful gastronomy champagne that is well supported by a creamy and delicate foam, with scents of candied fruits and saffron spice. This range has already been picked up by premium independent bottles shops and prestigious restaurants across Australia.

Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, one of the three owners, will be visiting Australia in November. He will be running masterclasses and sharing his knowledge of Champagne and Frerejean Frères. This is an exciting time for Noble Spirits and the Champagne world in Australia.

Magners voted best cider in Australia

Magners Original Apple has been voted Australia’s best cider, winning ‘Best in Show’ at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards. As well as the top honour, Magners Original Apple also won Best New World Cider and Best International Cider.

This year saw the largest ever field of entries for these prestigious awards, with 250 local and international ciders taking part. Honoured at a gala dinner in Melbourne, the ‘Best in Show’ award came despite stiff competition from a host of new craft entrants to the fast-emerging cider category.

In recognition, the judges said that Magners Original Apple, which is made by C&C Group, was awarded the top prize because “it displayed a perfect balance of sugar, tannin and overall complexity combined with toasty, savoury, creamy notes – the ‘wow’ factor that helped this product rise to the top”.

Jason Ash, Chief Marketing Officer, C&C Group plc, commented: “We’re delighted to win ‘Best in Show’ at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards. This is international recognition for a cider that proudly adheres to the traditional methods employed since it was founded in 1935. Magners is made using 17 varieties of apples, many grown amongst our 150 acres of orchards and delivered directly to the cidery in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

To win such a prestigious award is a great tribute to the Magners team, their dedication and passion for preserving the essence and provenance of the brand, and giving us such a complex yet beautifully balanced and refreshing flavour to enjoy.

Australia is an integral international market for the Group, with sustained strong growth recorded in the last year. We’re excited with the prospects of our distribution agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil, with whom we share this great success”.

With the recent packaging update, Magners also has an exciting and appealing new look to match the quality of the cider itself. Magners Cider is distributed in Australia exclusively for C&C by Coca-Cola Amatil, including Magners Original (330ml and 568ml bottles and draught), Magners Pear (568ml bottles) and Magners Blonde (330ml).



Sunshine Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival to showcase regional brewers

The inaugural Sunshine Coast Craft Beer and Cider Festival will debut on the 25th November at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, showcasing over 160 beers and ciders from  Australia and New Zealand.

The Sunshine Coast festival joins the likes of established regional beer festivals such as The Great Australia Beer Festival (Geelong & Albury) and Bitter & Twisted (Maitland) and will focus on celebrating independent beers from across Australia, with 26 passionate regional brewers – including nine local Sunshine Coast brewers – showcasing their beers and cider.

In recent years, the Sunshine Coast has developed a strong network of quality craft beer producers, with brewers such as Moffat Beach Brewery and Brouhaha winning national acclaim for their frothies.

Festival Director, Tanya Taber, said that the Sunshine Coast’s ‘naturally refreshing’ image and renowned agricultural produce were inspirations for staging the first craft beer and cider festival on the Sunshine Coast.

“Our local crafters in the Sunshine Coast are already attracting national attention, and we’re extremely excited to include them with other outstanding independent brewers from all over Australia,” said Mrs Taber.

“It makes it the perfect time to introduce a Craft Beer and Cider Festival to the region. We have had phenomenal interest from brewers to participate and I’m sure that both Sunshine Coast locals and those visiting the region for the event will be pleased to taste such a rich variety of quality brews on the day.”

The Festival will be a relaxed, family friendly event including live music all day, competitions, food pairing demonstrations, meet the brewer sessions, a roving circus, sideshow alley and plenty of activities to keep the children entertained.

Eric Vivian Thomson receives Victorian wine honour

Eric Vivian Thomson, fondly known as Viv Thomson amongst wine industry peers, has been announced Legend of the Vine Victoria at the annual WCA Melbourne Wine Show Awards Lunch. Thomson comes from a long line of winemakers and received ‘Legend of the Vine’ status for his service to the wine industry as one of Australia’s longest serving winemakers.

“Viv has made an outstanding contribution to the wine industry and is a highly respected figure amongst his wine peers in Australia,” said WCA National Chair Angus Barnes.

“His list of accolades, including his 2014 Order of Australia Medal, is a true reflection of where his reputation sits within the industry, and why he is recognised as Victorian’s newest Legend of the Vine.”

Thomson descends from one of Victoria’s most successful wine families dating back five generations. Born and raised in Swan Hill, Thomson moved to Great Western as a six-year-old boy where his grandfather owned Concongella Vineyards in Great Western. Winemaking has always been a part of Thomson’s family – in 1920 his grandfather purchased Best’s Great Western where Thomson has spent majority of his career managing operations and acting as chief winemaker.

A graduate of the acclaimed Roseworthy College in South Australia, Thomson spent three years studying agriculture before deciding it would be worth taking a crash-course in winery analysis. After returning from two years abroad, he joined his father Eric running the vineyard and making wine at Best’s Great Western, and managed two wineries 230 kilometres apart from each other, one at Great Western and one at Lake Boga.

Since entering the winemaking role in 1962, he has completed 51 consecutive vintages and was acknowledged for his service to the wine industry, awarded an Order of Australia Medal in the General Division as a part of the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

During the Christmas period, Thomson would close the doors of Best’s Great Western as there was no cellar door to manage. He spent a week behind closed doors examining each barrel to ensure it was meeting industry expectations and would virtually plan a 12-month program for the business before pre-harvest.

Best’s now operates across six vineyard blocks including Rhymney Vineyard, Concongella, Thomson Family Block, Nursery Block, Barts and Marcus and The Hill Block. The winery’s Concongella and Nursery Block was planted in 1868 by Henry Best, Best’s Great Western original founder.

Thomson now considers himself the elder statesman of Best’s Great Western since handing over the reins of the business to his eldest son Ben. Viv has been recognised by the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival as a “legend” for his services to the wine industry and was also President of the Victorian Wine Industry Association for many years.

Session Ale joins Coopers Beer Family

Coopers Session Ale is a refreshing summer style beer with tropical fruit notes and an aromatic hop character  from the Galaxy and Melba hop varieties used in this brew. It will be available in keg to the on-premise (hotel) trade around Australia from October 9.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said Session Ale had been developed to meet the growing demand for fruity, easy-drinking summer style beers and filled a niche in Coopers’ unique range of ales.

“Session Ale is brewed using Coopers’ traditional secondary fermentation process that eliminates the need for additives or preservatives,” he said.

“Being secondary fermented, the beer will also have the slightly cloudy appearance of our unique traditional ales.

“Our brewers have used pale and wheat malt and a combination of Galaxy and Melba hops along with a “secret ingredient” to brew Session Ale.

“The hops have been added late in the brewing process for bitterness and then dry hopped to extract flavour and aroma. This gives a moderate level of after-palate dry-hopped bitterness to balance the estery flavours produced by the famous Coopers Ale yeast.”

The beer has a golden straw colour and an alcohol level of 4.2 per cent.

The release of Session Ale follows earlier limited releases of Family Secrets Amber Ale and Brew A IPA to the on-premise market.

Mr Pearce said while Amber Ale and IPA had been released under the Thomas Cooper’s Selection label, Session Ale has been released under its own distinctive rondel (ale label) making it an obvious and distinct member of the family, alongside Sparkling Ale, Pale Ale, Stout, Dark Ale and Mild Ale.

“We believe Session Ale has the potential to become very popular among consumers looking for a premium quality, refreshing, summer-style beer,” he said.

 He said Session Ale’s distinctive blue Coopers rondel would be readily spotted in hotels stocking the beer.

International Riesling Week Starts in Canberra

One of the biggest international promotions of Riesling starts today at the Albert Hall in Canberra.

The 18th Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC) during the week 9 -14 October, will see the judging of 517 Rieslings from 225 wineries across seven countries.

Then winemakers, consumers and the wine trade can learn about the secrets of the golden wine, Riesling, at a Master Class, before the week concludes with one of the biggest consumer tastings of Riesling in the world.

Judges from Germany, USA, New Zealand, and Australia will rate the wines by region, country and the world over three days with results announced on Friday evening at an Awards ceremony at the Hotel Realm in Canberra. The judges of this this year’s entries will be John Belsham (NZ), Steve Baraglia (South Australia), Greer Carland (Tasmania), Alison Eisermann (NSW), Steffen Schindler (Germany), Trent Mannell (NSW) and Jim Trezise (USA).

Chair of the CIRC James Service AM said the Riesling Challenge has always prided itself on its ability to attract first class judges. Having three international judges again this year is indicative of our success in positioning the Challenge as a leader in the industry.

Riesling is the most flexible of grapes making a wide range of styles from very dry to sweet dessert wines and even sparkling wines. It is the wine which most reflects the terroir of the vineyard where it is grown. For this reason the Riedel Riesling Master Class (Old and New, Rieslings from Germany and Canberra District), will follow the pattern of showcasing Riesling trends and styles from an international competitor country and from an Australian Riesling region.

The Hotel Realm will hold a Riesling dinner where their Chef will match food with rare award winning Australian Rieslings. Bookings are essential for the events taking place at the Hotel Realm, Barton, on Riesling Friday, 13 October 2017 (by email or phone, details below).

The Challenge is a truly international event, and unique to Canberra. Its longevity and popularity reflect the growing interest in Riesling in all of its styles among consumers and producers. Join us during the Challenge and enjoy some golden wine, Riesling.

Redeveloped 2018 Drinks Industry Show tailored to industry needs

Extensive pre-show industry research has resulted in a redesigned 2018 Drinks Industry Show that will deliver the sector the innovative, high-level boutique event it’s looking for.

The redeveloped show takes all the very best elements of the trade-only event, and incorporates a host of new features.

Event Director David Paterson, of Exhibitions and Trade Fairs Pty Ltd, said, “In preparation for next year, we undertook extensive industry research.  As a result, we’ve completely reinvented the show – right down to the opening hours attendees prefer: 11am-8pm.

“The show will give on and off-premise buyers of alcohol the ideal platform to meet and engage with suppliers of independent, craft product from Australia and across the globe. What we have planned for 2018 will achieve exactly that.”

Mr Paterson said the redeveloped 2018 show will be a highly useful business event that captures the industry’s energy and forward focus.

The show will also relocate to Dockside in the heart of Sydney’s thriving Darling Harbour entertainment district.”

Mr Paterson said successes from 2017 will be retained and augmented.

“The industry-leading workshops, seminars and taste testings will remain. There was very strong feedback about the quality of the speakers and the seminars, with both exhibitors and visitors valuing these educational components. Our 2018 program will be even stronger, addressing key industry trends and challenges. It’s a unique opportunity for the drinks trade to discuss and have their say in their industry’s future direction.

We’ll build on the networking event and next year run two, a welcome reception and a closing reception. Connected with that, we’re planning a Summer Party to bring the trade together over a glass, and share the exciting changes taking place for this boutique show.”

He said other major changes in 2018 would be a focus on “product first”.

“To match industry desires for this event, we’ve revised the floor plan and stand set-up. Exhibitors will be zoned according to their product type, with section numbers capped to ensure a complete market cross-section for our discerning buyers, and to present them with maximum value. Visitor quality will equally be a focus, with VIP buyers qualified and personally invited in line with their purchasing potential.”

Exhibitor space will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We’ve devised a new uniformed stand model, too, where exhibitors are allocated personalised suites of equal size. It’s a stress-free exhibiting option for our suppliers and really does ensure product comes first.

“Exhibitions offer instant engagement with a target audience in a live environment, making them one of the most effective forms of marketing there is. The re-branded, redeveloped 2018 Drinks Industry Show will be the place to discover the latest products and knowledge to help grow Australian drinks-trade businesses across in this exciting, fast-moving industry, from craft breweries, cideries, boutique wineries and spirit distillers.”

The redeveloped Drinks Industry Show will be held from 18-19 June, 2018, in Sydney.



Spirits sector welcomes lifting of drinks restrictions for small bars

The spirits industry has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement to remove the current restrictions on small bars in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross from serving neat spirits and cocktails not listed on bar menus after midnight.

This decision means that from this Sunday, 1 October, Sydneysiders and visitors will be able to enjoy their favourite drinks exactly how they like them in some of the world’s best bars after midnight.

Sydney’s small bars have always had strong compliance and safety records. The move to lift spirits restrictions from these venues that contribute significantly to Sydney’s night time economy has been supported by major spirits producers, bartenders, small bar operators and craft distillers alike:

David Smith, Managing Director of Diageo Australia and Chair of Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia said, “We’ve been seeing cultural change in the way Australians consume alcohol for some time now. A rising premiumisation trend and consumers choosing to drink better rather than more has seen them embrace cocktail culture.

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction for much needed liquor reform and equal treatment of spirits in line with wine and beer. A patron who wants to sip on a neat serve of a wonderful whisky or bourbon, or enjoy a fantastically crafted cocktail, will again be able to order it after midnight in their favourite small bar – just like they can order a schooner of beer or a glass of wine.”

Martin O’Sullivan, Chair of the Small Bars Association and owner of Grasshopper Bar, said, “This is an important step and we welcome the NSW Government’s announcement. Small bars are revolutionising the way people drink, creating a more sophisticated setting for people who want to unwind. Some of the best small bars in the world are here in Sydney.

It never made sense in a global city like this to explain to a customer they could only have a nip of whisky past midnight if I mixed it with coke. Small bars specialise in premium spirits, so these changes will help our industry grow and contribute to a vibrant but safe night-time economy.”


Wine awards – gold medals announced

The finalists of the 2017 Pier One Sydney Harbour NSW Wine Awards have just been revealed, and the 22nd annual NSW Wine Awards has unveiled one of the most exciting and diverse ranges of new gold medal wines on record.

In fact, 58 gold medals have been awarded this year, to wineries from 10 different NSW wine regions and to wines made from Semillon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vermentino, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Barbera, Merlot and Durif, as well as blends of the above!

“We have indeed had a great result for both the show and our state’s wineries this year, with a high proportion of gold medal winners highlighting the quality and diversity of NSW wines available out there,” said President of the NSW Wine Industry Association Tom Ward.

“This is in no way a result of us trying to punch up the wine and make everyone a winner; a gold label is a level of trust for the consumer and our gold medals have to be seriously earned.

“That is why getting such a high profile and experienced panel of judges is so important. This year we were thrilled to have Dave Brookes as our Chief Judge, leading a panel of 8 other expert judges from across Australia, and 6 associate judges.

“We have also introduced a more hi-tech scoring process with an iPad based system from the Australian Wine Research Institute. This has enabled us to really get the best out of the judging – correlates all the scores in one system and monitoring judges high and low scores – and be as efficient as possible.”

Announcement of the 2017 Trophy winners will take place on Friday 27 October at the NSW Wine Awards Presentation Lunch at Pier One Sydney Harbour.

List of gold-medal-winning Finalists  (in alphabetical order) 

Agnew Wines 2017 The Ridge Semillon

Hunter Valley

Agnew Wines 2017 Winemakers Selection Semillon

Hunter Valley

Angullong Wines 2016 Fossil Hill Barbera


Ballinaclash 2016 Edward Shiraz


Berton Vineyards 2016 Reserve Botrytis Semillon


Bimbadgen 2017 Signature Palmers Lane Semillon

Hunter Valley

Bit O Heaven 2016 Think Outside The Circle Cabernet Sauvignon


Briar Ridge Vineyard 2016 Limited Release Tempranillo

Hilltops / Hunter

Brokenwood Wines 2016 Forest Edge Vineyard Chardonnay


Brokenwood Wines 2017 Forest Edge Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc


Calabria Family Wines 2016 Calabria Private Bin Vermentino


Calabria Family Wines 2016 The Boxer Bin 11 Durif


Collector Wines 2015 Marked Tree Red Shiraz


Coolangatta Estate 2011 Wollstonecraft Semillon

Shoalhaven Coast

Courabyra Wines 2013 805 Sparkling


De Bortoli Wines 2015 Noble One Semillon


De Iuliis Wines 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon


De Iuliis Wines 2016 LDR Vineyard Shiraz, Touriga Nacional

Hunter Valley

De Iuliis Wines 2017 Special Release Grenache


First Creek Wines 2013 Winemakers Reserve Semillon

Hunter Valley

First Creek Wines 2015 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

First Creek Wines 2016 Winemakers Reserve Semillon

Hunter Valley

First Creek Wines 2017 Harvest Semillon

Hunter Valley

Highland Heritage Estate 2016 Fume Blanc


Hungerford Hill 2016 Pinot Gris


Lerida Estate 2016 Canberra District Shiraz


McWilliam’s Wines 2013 Barwang Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon


McWilliam’s Wines 2014 Single Vineyard Shiraz


McWilliam’s Wines 2015 1877 Shiraz


McWilliam’s Wines 2015 842 Chardonnay


McWilliam’s Wines 2016 660 Reserve Chardonnay


Mino and Co 2013 Growers Touch Botrytis Semillon, Chardonnay


Montoro Wines 2013 Pepper Shiraz


Montoro Wines 2015 Pepper Shiraz


Moothi Estate 2017 Riesling


Moppity Vineyards 2016 Escalier Shiraz


Moppity Vineyards 2016 Estate Shiraz


Moppity Vineyards 2017 Lock & Key Rose Nebbiolo, Sangiovese


Mount Majura Vineyard 2017 Riesling


Mount Pleasant Wines 2011 Lovedale Semillon

Hunter Valley

Nugan Estate Pty Ltd 2014 Cookoothama Shiraz


Nugan Estate Pty Ltd 2014 Manuka Grove Durif


Robert Stein Winery 2017 Dry Riesling


Rowlee Wines 2016 Chardonnay


Shaw Vineyard Estate 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz


Tamburlaine Wines 2016 Orange Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon


Tamburlaine Wines 2017 Preservative Free Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot


Trentham Estate Wines 2016 Shiraz

Murray Darling (NSW)

Tulloch Wines 2016 Cellar Door Release Sangiovese

Hilltops / Young

Tulloch Wines 2017 Cellar Door Release Vermentino


Tulloch Wines 2017 Hunter River White Semillon

Hunter Valley

Tulloch Wines 2017 Julia Limited Release Semillon

Hunter Valley

Two Rivers Wines 2017 Wild Fire Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2005 Vat 1 Semillon

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2013 Vat 47 Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2015 Belford Chardonnay

Hunter Valley

Tyrrell’s Vineyards Pty Ltd 2017 Belford Semillon

Hunter Valley

Windowrie Estate 2016 Family Reserve Shiraz


Aussie Wine Week makes its mark in the US

The inaugural ‘Aussie Wine Week’ headed to the US this month, with sixteen winemakers travelling to New York and San Francisco to showcase their wines at a series of trade, media and consumer events.

The week–long event kicked off a suite of early activities in the US and China delivered under the Australian Government’s Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the Package) – a one-off allocation of $50 million aimed at driving demand for our wine exports and showcasing Australian wine tourism.

Wine Australia CEO Andreas Clark said the early activities are part of a broader program of   sector–led events, designed to capture the growing enthusiasm for Australian wine in our largest and growing export markets.

“Our fine wines are gaining attention in the US, with exports growing by three per cent last year due to a rise in the average value of bottled wine exports. We’re maintaining this momentum by partnering with Australian wineries and exporters to deliver a series of early activities that showcase our diverse and quality styles of wine,” said Clark.

Speaking about Aussie Wine Week, the General Manager of Marketing at Wine Australia Stuart Barclay said, “The event was a terrific opportunity to kick start our program of activities for the US and China markets.”

“The event, alongside other trade activity taking place in the market, has given the US market a new thirst for Australian wine and we look forward to keeping the momentum up as we roll out our broader strategy for the Package over the next three years.”

Following the official launch of the Package in August, a three–year strategy is being developed by Wine Australia, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Australian Vignerons to guide the broader program of sector–led wine export and tourism activities.

In anticipation of the strategy being finalised later this year, Wine Australia received approval to commence some early activities in the US and China as the appetite for Australian wine gains momentum. Future opportunities will be communicated after the strategy is approved.

Australian alcohol consumption a key to reducing cancer deaths

New research has found that reducing alcohol consumption at the population level would lead to a reduction in cancer deaths in Australia.

The study found that there would be a significant preventive effect on liver, head and neck cancer deaths, particularly among men and older age groups as a result.

Published today by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), the report, Alcohol consumption and liver, pancreatic, head and neck cancers in Australia: Time-series analyses, provides the first suggestive evidence that a decrease in population level drinking could reduce the prevalence of liver, head and neck cancer mortality in Australia.

The long-term use of alcohol has long been recognised as a risk factor for cancer, and the relationship has been widely addressed in individual-level studies. However, the relationship of alcohol consumption and cancer mortality at a population level have rarely been examined.

The study revealed that across a 20-year period, a one litre decrease in annual alcohol consumption per capita was associated with reductions of 11.6 per cent in male and 7.3 per cent in female head and neck cancer mortality, and a 15 per cent reduction of male liver cancer mortality.

Lead author, CAPR’s Dr Jason Jiang sought to understand whether or not the trend of population-level alcohol consumption is related to the trend of population-level cancer mortality– a question not answered by individual-level studies.

CAPR Deputy Director, Dr Michael Livingston says the results suggest that a change in alcohol consumption per capita is significantly and positively associated with change in male liver cancer mortality.

“Alcohol is a major contributor to Australia’s burden of disease. The epidemiological evidence provided over the last several decades shows that alcohol contributes to the development of specific cancers. This study demonstrates that reductions in per-capita alcohol consumption would lead to lower rates of mortality for liver and head and neck cancers,” Dr Livingston said.

Compared with other age groups, stronger and more significant associations were found between per capita alcohol consumption and head and neck cancer mortality among both males and females aged 50 and above compared to younger age groups – reflecting the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on the development of cancer in the human body.

“This study has extended our understanding of the role that alcohol plays with respect to liver, pancreatic, head and neck cancers in Australia, and the importance of addressing the nation’s alcohol consumption levels,” Dr Jiang said.

The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risk from Drinking Alcohol suggests that an adult should drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of harm attributed to alcohol.

FARE Chief Executive, Michael Thorn says that the population-level study adds further weight to what we know about the links between alcohol and cancer.

“There is no doubt that alcohol-related cancers would be significantly reduced if more of the population reduced their alcohol consumption and followed the national drinking guidelines, yet a lack of recognition of the links between alcohol and cancer remains,” Mr Thorn said.

“The study exposes the need for improved public health education campaigns, better public health policies on alcohol, and more promotion of the guidelines – to reduce the toll of cancer-related diseases and deaths in Australia.”