Health Check: how do I know if I drink too much?

While alcohol is a legal and common way many societies stimulate social interaction, when consumed at high levels over long periods it can undermine physical health and cause cancers and other disease. Most people know excessive drinking isn’t good for our health, but how do we know when we’re drinking too much?

Alcohol consumption is associated with long- and short-term consequences. Long-term health consequences include: alcohol-related diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver; stroke; high blood pressure; heart disease; and more than 60 cancers, including of the mouth, lips, throat, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, bowel and breast.

Short-term health consequences include fatalities, physical injury or road accidents due to impaired cognitive performance and diminished reaction times.

Social consequences may include domestic violence, absenteeism, violence and crime.

How much is safe to drink?

It’s important to know the recommendations on drinking to ensure we’re not drinking too much for our own health and for the safety of others.

In 2009, the National Health and Medical Research Council updated the Australian drinking guidelines. The guidelines contain four recommendations to ensure our drinking is “low risk”. Low risk is defined as drinking at a level that reduces the chance an individual will suffer from short-term injury or long-term disease.

Healthy men and women are advised not to drink more than two standard drinks on any one day. If a person drinks less than that, the probability he or she will suffer from long-term alcohol-related disease (such as cancer) is approximately one in 100.

For both men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury to one in 100. Risk of injury includes physical injury, or road accidents due to impaired cognitive performance and diminished reaction times.

Short-term risky drinking is most often associated with intoxication. Intoxication in its mildest form produces slight changes in inhibition, reduced co-ordination and decreased alertness. More extreme forms may involve slurred speech, boisterous or aggressive behaviour, inappropriate sexual behaviour, swaying, rambling conversation and difficulty concentrating.

Who can drink?

Pregnant women are advised to avoid alcohol because of the possibility of alcohol passing through the placenta into the embryo. This may affect brain and other developments of the child.

Evidence shows the brains of children under the age of 18 are still developing. Thus it is recommended children under the age of 18 should avoid consuming alcohol. Consuming alcohol before the age of 18 also increases the risk of numerous poor developmental and social outcomes.

Settings and their associated customs and norms can influence how much alcohol we consume. People will often consume more alcohol in settings like bars, nightclubs and sports clubs, for example. This is usually because alcohol in these settings is sold, managed and marketed in ways that encourage easier or greater consumption.

People should be aware of this phenomoneon and try to consciously consume moderate amounts in these types of settings.

Symptoms of drinking too much

While all drinking has elements of long- and short-term risk, consistent drinking can lead to dependence and other alcohol-related problems. If you find it hard to stop drinking after you have started, you do things that are not normally expected of you because of your drinking, or you feel you sometimes need a drink in the morning, you may be showing signs of dependence and should consult your GP or a health practitioner.

Another sign of dependence is that, over time, greater amounts of alcohol are required to achieve intoxication. Persistent use and being preoccupied with your consumption, despite evidence of harm, is another sign your drinking might be unhealthily habitual.

If you feel guilty after drinking, have injured someone because of your drinking, or someone has suggested you reduce your drinking, you should also consider talking to someone about your alcohol consumption.

Steps to reduce alcohol consumption

While alcohol is part of our world, we can reduce the risk of short-term harm, disease and dependence. For adults, it is advised you have no more than two standard drinks a day. On any one day it is advised adults should not consume more than four standard drinks in a session.

A good way to cut down on your drinking is to start by ensuring you are having at least one to two alcohol-free days. On these days, you may want to substitute an alcoholic drink with something else, like sugar-free tonic water. This has a sophisticated taste but has no calories or alcohol.

Because of the long- and short-term risks, there should always be room to reduce your alcohol consumption. Perhaps in the long term you could try to avoid consumption during weekdays.

When going to functions where alcohol will be available, have a strategy rehearsed in your mind as to how and why you will not consume alcohol. You may say it is one of your alcohol-free days, you are not drinking today, or you are pacing yourself this week.

People are more health-conscious these days so tend to be more open about not drinking for health and well-being reasons. A non-alcoholic substitute drink will help you feel more socially integrated in these settings.

We should also ensure our children avoid alcohol before the age of 18. This is the safest way of maximising their health and human potential.

The Conversation

Bosco Rowland, Senior Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Deakin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Bickford’s Group to open new $6.6-million Renmark distillery

Bickford’s Group of Companies will give local distilling a veritable shot in the arm and provide the Riverland with a major economic boost and world-class tourism attraction when it opens its new $6.6-million distillery and visitor centre in Renmark this Friday.

The distillery, a century-old landmark on the town’s 23rd Street, has been transformed and given new life thanks in part to a State Government grant and the vision of its owner, Angelo Kotses (pictured). When opened by South Australian Tourism Minister Leon Bignell at precisely 11.23am, it will serve as the company’s premier distillery and significantly lift Australian spirits profile and volume with a new range of craft spirits, focused on gin and brandy.

The facility and its associated visitor centre also promise to boost the local economy through job creation – it’s anticipated more jobs will follow the initial 15 fulltime and casual positions – and tourism.

Described by Bickford’s Group Managing Director Angelo Kotses as “a great day for South Australia as we’re using local produce wherever available, adding a new ‘must see’ tourist destination to this beautiful region and creating dozens of jobs for locals”, the launch will also be celebrated in Adelaide later in the day, bringing the region to the city.

The city event kicks off at 6.23pm at a replica ‘pop up’ distillery experience in Rundle Mall featuring cocktails, fresh Renmark produce prepared by award-winning chef from Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard, Matt Fitton, body art with Amanda Nash and live entertainment courtesy of Fresh FM.  Bickford’s Group Brand Ambassador Shaun Pattinson will also be on hand to showcase the distillery’s signature cocktails.

Image: Adelaide Now

Labor pushes for IR inquiry as unions rally against CUB

The Opposition, in the backdrop of yesterday’s Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) protest, is pushing for a Senate inquiry into the use of legal loopholes to cut workers’ pay and conditions.

The SMH reports that Labor already has the support of the Greens and crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie for the inquiry, and will need just the support of either the Xenophon or One Nation parties for the motion to be carried.

As reports, about 3,000 people took part in yesterday’s march which started at AFL House and moved through city streets to Parliament House.

Given that CUB is a major sponsor of the AFL, protestors were calling for a “CUB beer-free footy finals season” as part of their protest.

More broadly, the industrial action stems from June when a group of 55 maintenance workers at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery were told that their jobs had been re-contracted to a new service subcontractor, Programmed-Skilled Maintenance, and that they would have to reapply to keep them.

However, the new contracts did not include the conditions of the previous contracts and involved pay cuts of up to 65 per cent. They refused and now find themselves unemployed.

Victoria’s Industrial Relations Minister Natalie Hutchins addressed the rally on the steps of Parliament House.

She warned CUB of brand damage and said the Andrews Government preferred a “co-operative approach” on industrial relations.

“I know CUB say these technicians and workforce in that area are not theirs, but I also know CUB can’t produce beer without them,” she said.

“To let this company get away with what they’ve done to these workers would be a travesty, a (travesty) for people not to be able to stand up and have their say.”

According to the Herald Sun, State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy slammed Hutchins’ presence at the rally.

“This is Victoria under Daniel Andrews where the Industrial Relations Minister picks sides rather than mediating and solving disputes,” Guy said.

“The Andrews Labor Government is so fractured that even a supposedly impartial minister will take sides in an industrial relations dispute just so they can build a union power base.”

CUB spokeswoman Jennifer Howard claimed no workers had been sacked and said that all had received their full entitlements, including redundancy payments, and that the new roles offered salaries of $70,000 – $120,000, before overtime.

“CUB has not employed maintenance workers since 2009 and we changed providers this year,” she said.

“Anyone losing their job is not an issue to be taken lightly — that’s why the former contractor and their people were given six months’ notice of the end of the contract and people were paid redundancies by their employer.”

Image: AMWU

Drambuie celebrates brand relaunch

Scotch Whisky Liqueur, Drambuie has had an official relaunch which includes a three-month bar activation, ‘A Night with the Nail’, hosted each Thursday at The Swinging Cat in Sydney’s CBD.

The activation involves a recurring ‘Drambuie-themed’ evening to promote the revival of its most famous serve, The Rusty Nail, along with a range of new Drambuie cocktails. Bar-goers will be treated to an exclusive Drambuie experience and live jazz music as they enjoy the flavour and energy of the New Orleans inspired underground bar.

The Rusty Nail is a timeless whisky cocktail born in the infamous New York nightclubs of the early 60s and served at the renowned ‘21 Club’ frequented by Hemmingway, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra. At a time when the legendary carousing of the Rat Pack came to prominence, the Rusty Nail was adopted by the scene, confirming the drink’s iconic status and establishing its place in pop culture history.

More recently, the cocktail was the drink of choice of Saul Goodman and featured in the very first episode of Netflix’s TV series Better Call Saul.

In a mission to revive The Rusty Nail and recruit a new generation of fans to Drambuie, the bar activation is defined by elements of the brand’s history that will resonate with the current generation of drinkers.

Swinging Cat Owner Pete Fischer is excited to treat visitors to this exciting new venture.

“Our regular customers love to be transported to a different time and place when they visit The Swinging Cat. This Drambuie partnership will offer a different kind of experience and one not to be missed,” he said.

Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale

Coopers Brewery is celebrating the 60th birthday of its Managing Director and Chief Brewer, Dr Tim Cooper, by releasing limited edition 440ml cans of his eponymous beer, Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale.

Dr Cooper turned 60 in June and to help celebrate the milestone, the company is producing 20,000 cases of Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale in the 440ml can format. It is the first time that Coopers has released a 440ml can.

It is envisaged they will be available at the same price as the standard 375ml cans and are expected to be in stock in major retailers across Australia later this month (August).

National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said Coopers had been keen to celebrate Dr Cooper’s birthday with customers.

“Members of Dr Cooper’s brewing team suggested that a special edition can of Dr Tim’s would be a suitable recognition,” he said.

“The decision was made for this to be a 440ml can, to be sold at the same price as the 375ml can.”

Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale was first produced in 2004 as an experiment to see whether Coopers ales, which undergo secondary fermentation, could be successfully packaged in cans.

Coopers’ packaging company, Amcor (now Orora), provided cans for this experiment with Dr Tim’s Traditional Ale already printed on them.

This resulted in what the brewery calls an “accidental product” which has since developed its own dedicated following. For many years, sales of Dr Tim’s were restricted to South Australia, but it is now available nationally.

The technical success of Dr Tim’s resulted in Coopers releasing Coopers Mild Ale 3.5% later in 2004 in both cans and bottles. It is thought that these two products are the only ones in the world to undergo secondary fermentation in the can.

Heineken 3 mid-strength beer

Heineken’s latest innovation, Heineken 3 mid-strength beer, is the first the company has released in Australia since its arrival here.

The launch seeks to capitalise on the growing demand for premium mid-strength beer, with the company identifying growth potential among occasional beer drinkers across Australia.

The company has also analysed data and insights from Australian consumers to identify opportunities to leverage spontaneous, easy-drinking, mid-energy and mid-afternoon consumption occasions. This will form a major part of a strategy to enable the brand to access more drinkers in more occasions.

The beer enables consumers to “Have It All’. This is communicated through the product’s three key attributes: lower calories, lower carbohydrates and an award-winning great taste.

The latter is supported by award-winning success at the World Beer Championships as best Lower Calorie lager in 2013 & 2014 and a Gold Medal at the 2015 European Beer Star Awards for best German Style Liechtbier.

The beer has only 86 calories per bottle, 5g carbs and 3.3 per cent ABV so consumers no longer have to compromise on taste and premium experience when choosing a lower calorie beer.

Furthermore, research has shown that the beer is appealing not just to its traditional core target male audience but it’s also an opportunity to recruit more female consumers, particularly among those who want an easier drinking and lower calorie lager.

Apps a useful tool for booze marketers

The art of pairing food with alcoholic drinks, particularly wine, is a well-established and common practice. Mobile apps, however, are starting to offer a novel way of encouraging consumers not only to pair food and drinks more often, but to consider beverages other than wine when doing so, according to consumer insight firm Canadean.

The company’s latest research has found that 35% of consumers worldwide see food pairing as a key consideration when choosing alcoholic drinks. However, this behavior is more prevalent among older adults than younger ones, as the figure rises to 43% of those aged 55 and over, but decreases to 26% for 18-24 year-olds. As such, social media and apps will be crucial tools in encouraging younger consumers to think about food and drink pairing more often.

Ronan Stafford, Senior Analyst for Canadean, explains: “Encouraging young adults to consider pairing alcohol with food will be a crucial way to grow volumes of wine, beer, and even some spirits. Brands need to use highly visual social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, and even beverage-dedicated apps, to demonstrate to young adults the exciting experiences offered by food and drink pairing.”

In April 2016, Bloomberg reported that Snapchat users were watching 10 billion videos a day, up from 8 billion in February.

Stafford continues: “Forget 140-character Tweets – social media is now a visual medium. This should play into the hands of brands building around food and drink pairing: videos provide appealing ‘hero’ shots of the food and drink, help to explain the pairing thought process, and educate consumers.”

Brands should also consider consumer-dedicated mobile apps encouraging pairing, or targeting functionality like near-field communication (NFC) and augmented reality. For instance, Johnnie Walker launched an intelligent label with NFC technology, which could send food and drink pairing suggestions to shoppers’ phones.

In addition, the recent success of Pokemon Go shows the potential for augmented reality, with apps featuring phone cameras to layer new pieces of information in front of what consumers can see. Dagschotel beer, from Brouwerij Martens in Belgium, already uses this technology, with characters on the beer labels coming to life when scanned by a phone.


2014 Special Selection red wines

The team at Sacred Hill has released the 2014 Special Selection red wines from their Gimblett Gravels Vineyard; Helmsman Cabernet Merlot, Brokenstone Blend and Deerstalkers Syrah.

According to the company, the wines are characterised by richness and depth of flavour, with supple tannin balance and elegance of structure.

Sacred Hill Helmsman 2014

Winemaker’s note – Inky deep colour. Rich aromas of chocolate, cassis, dark berry, violets, roasted meats and savoury dried herb notes. The fine tannin structure builds intensity in the palate to a plush mid-palate texture, wonderful forest floor complexity, and a fine and lingering finish. A very classical and elegantly powerful wine.

Sacred Hill Brokenstone 2014

Winemaker’s note – Deep plummy red. Complex aromas of baked plum, sweet leather, dark flowers, cedar, licorice and baking spices. The palate is supple with sweet black fruits, baked plum, sage and dark chocolate notes. The structure is fine with soft chalky tannins and a lovely slatey/mineral aftertaste.

Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah 2014

Winemaker’s note – Excellent depth of colour. Lifted floral nose with black pepper, blue flowers, milk chocolate and sweet black berries and dark cherry notes. The palate has profound depth, yet elegance and style. Ripe black berry and cherry flavours are enhanced by black pepper spice and hints of minerality.  A powerful and finely structured Syrah.



CUB facing beer boycott in support of workers

Pubs across Australia have stopped serving beers supplied by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) as an act of support for workers sacked by the company.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) is urging beer drinkers to join the boycott and support the workers who were told in June that their jobs at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery had been re-contracted to a new service subcontractor, Programmed-Skilled Maintenance, and that they would have to reapply to keep them.

However, the new contracts did not include the conditions of the previous contracts and involved pay cuts of up to 65 per cent. They refused and now find themselves unemployed.

Industrial action against CUB has included weekly rallies outside the Melbourne headquarters of the company by the AMWU as well as the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

The beer boycott sprang up through a social media campaign and pubs participating in it include The Lincoln in Melbourne, and the Cecil Hotel in Queensland.

“For anyone drinking a CUB beer or cider, just consider, ‘Do you think it’s fair the company has sacked 55 workers and forced them to reapply?’” AWMU assistant state secretary Craig Kelly told the New Daily.

CUB, which is controlled by South African multinational SABMiller, claims to have no direct contractual relationship with the sacked workers. The issue of pay and conditions, it says, is the responsibility of the new subcontractor.

The company claims that unions and workers were informed of the new arrangements in January and that some of the sacked workers have taken up the new contracts.

“Unions have been aggressively targeting CUB and its brands over the last few weeks trying to enforce their terms and conditions on an independent contractor which provides workers to CUB,” a company spokesperson told The New Daily.

“CUB acknowledges that any change of contract or commercial decision can impact people and their families, which is why the previous contractor and their employees were told six months ago that their contract would end. All entitlements were paid by the contractor, including redundancies, pay in lieu of notice and leave entitlements.”

Why do Australians choose vodka?

It’s one of the world’s most popular spirits with more than 4 billion litres sold in 2012. But its popularity is now in decline.

While premium and flavoured vodkas have seen a surge in popularity, drinkers are increasingly moving to whisky for its apparent authenticity, as well as gin as it loses the label of a drink for ‘old people’.

Given vodka is a drink that’s supposed to have no taste, vodka companies must resort to less traditional methods to differentiate their brands.

New research by Associate Professor Catherine Prentice from Edith Cowan University has shed light on what helps Australian consumers make the decision to buy vodka.

Her research surveyed 350 Australians on their attitudes towards vodka in a variety of different subjects. It found we’re basically just suckers for marketing.


The research found branding was hugely important to drinkers’ attitude towards vodka in general, which brands they preferred and how often they would drink certain brands.

“Slick branding and advertising creates a vital point of difference and is a big part of the reason consumers have a positive attitude towards vodka,” Dr Prentice said.

Unsurprisingly, some brands do it better than others.

For example, Absolut Vodka has one of the most recognisable brands of any company in the world.


Vodka companies spend endless hours designing spirit bottles, logos and packaging. While they certainly affect drinkers’ choice of a vodka brand, they’re unlikely to choose vodka because of a fancy bottle if they set out to buy gin.

“To consumers packaging is regarded as a cue to a product’s quality,” Dr Prentice said.

“It directly affects the way consumers perceive the quality of products and their brand, and in some cases packaging has been more important than the product itself.

“The research showed elaborate packaging would only affect drinkers’ choice of which brand of vodka – it has no impact on whether they choose vodka over another drink.”

So those assault rifle and crystal skull bottles are even more of a gimmick than you thought they were.

Country of Origin

Unlike wine and whiskey, the country of origin of vodka makes little difference to drinkers’ preference. This is despite almost universal agreement by study participants that some countries produce better vodka.

“In Australia, most of our vodkas are imported. So while we know vodkas from Russia, Sweden, Poland or France can be good quality we don’t distinguish between them,” Dr Prentice said.

Social Media

Social media marketing appears to have a big influence on what brand of vodka was consumed. It also influences how frequently they’re likely to purchase the same brand.

“Social media has been acknowledged as being potentially the most powerful tool for marketing brands,” Dr Prentice said.

“When consumers see their friends posting positively about a product or brand, that’s a big influence for them to purchase the same brand.”

“Likewise when consumers are engaging with a brand on social media they’re very likely to remain loyal to that brand.”

In other words, once you’ve ‘liked’ a brand on Facebook you’re much more likely to buy it in the future.

The research was published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

Young Henrys Brewing Company collaborates on new beer

Young Henrys Brewing Company has announced a limited release collaboration with Adelaide restaurant Africola and head chef Duncan Welgemoed.

Young Henrys brewer Hamish MacKenzie was tasked with creating a unique combination of hops, malt and water and bringing the collaboration to life.

Throwing clay ideas onto his 6000 litre potting wheel full of wort, MacKenzie spun the traits of the big, bold South African chef Welgemoed into a spicy, bold and citric, Young Henrys IPA.

The limited release beer —the Africola Rock ’n’ Rola—is a rich, dark amber brew with all the hallmarks of a stone cold classic.

From a citrus hop explosion intro on the nose, to a fruity flavor sliding its chorus across your tongue, to an outro of alcoholic warmth, which hits you like a punch from velvet gloved fist.

“’Duncan has the madness of mind and the rock n roll spirit that we love to be around,” said Young Henrys co-owner Oscar McMahon of the collaboration.

“He’s also a bloody good cook who doesn’t mind the occasional one or two. After we met him we knew we’d have to do a beer together sometime…”

Africola Rock ‘N’ Rola launched last week at Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival and will be available for a limited time.

Gage Roads Brewing extends major supply agreement

Gage Roads Brewing Co has executed a three-year extension, with a further two-year option, of its supply and distribution agreement with Pinnacle Liquor Group, a subsidiary of the recently re-named Endeavour Drinks Group (formerly Woolworths Liquor Group).

The agreement provides for a stepped reduction in minimum volume commitments from Pinnacle over the financial years of 2017 through to 2019, allowing Gage Roads to prioritise the supply and increase distribution of its higher-margin proprietary craft beers, while maintaining overall production volumes.

With a shift in the market away from mainstream beer consumption, Gage Roads is focused on the continued development of its proprietary craft beer portfolio, which is currently experiencing strong growth and is expected to be sustained well into the future.

Gage Roads Managing Director, John Hoedemaker, said the directors of Gage Roads worked collaboratively with Pinnacle to seek an arrangement that optimised the strategic objectives of both businesses.

“Under this agreement we maintain certainty over volumes through the continued support of Pinnacle, while also providing us with the scope to pursue our strategy of growing Gage Roads’ higher-margin proprietary brands nationally,” Hoedemaker said.

“Pinnacle’s continued support and ranging of Gage Roads’ products, while accommodating a reduction in contract brewing volumes, provides us with the capacity to focus on higher-margin craft products and the flexibility to open up other channels to market.”

Pinnacle has an option to extend the agreement for a further two years beyond 2019.

Budweiser to change its name to ‘America’

Budweiser, the ubiquitous American beer, will temporarily change its name to ‘America’.

The beer’s owner Belgium’s AB Inbev said in a statement that the name change will only last for the duration of the northern summer. On November 8, the date of the US federal election, ‘America’ will revert to its old name.

“We are embarking on what should be the most patriotic summer that this generation has ever seen, with Copa America Centenario being held on US soil for the first time, Team USA competing at the Rio 2016, Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Ricardo Marques, vice president at Budweiser, said.

According to the New York Times, the new beer cans will carry several other new design features like the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a new slogan – “E Pluribus Unum” (which means “Out of many, one” and also features on US currency.)

AB InBev purchased Budweiser in 2008 for $52 billion. The brewer has been producing the iconic beer since the 1800s.

UK’s biggest selling wine set for release in Australia

Wine supplier Treasury Wine Estates will launch the Blossom Hill range, which is the UK’s highest selling white and rose brand, in Australia on May 16.

As AAP reports, Treasury Wine purchased the brand as part of its acquisition of the Diageo wine business in January. The company will initially release four varieties on the Blossom Hill label, rose, moscato, sauvignon blanc and shiraz.

“It’s been a phenomenal success in the UK, and when we look at the opportunity that it presents in Australia, we get really excited,” Treasury Wine’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand Angus McPherson said.

“It’s targeted a little bit at the millenial consumer (aged 20-plus), and a little bit female biased.”

According to the SMH, to minimise the ‘cannibalisation’ of Treasury’s other brands, the release will initially focus on independent retailers. In other words, it will not be available from Liqourland, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and so forth.

“It’s just the first phase of the launch. We’re using the same model that was used in the United Kingdom,” McPherson told the SMH.

“The strategy is make sure we see it well established in the independents first.”

While the UK version of the wine is sourced from US grown grapes, the Australian version will be made locally from local grapes.

Sustainable, recyclable, light weight beer kegs hit US market

Lightweight Containers has launched UniKeg, a family of lightweight recyclable beer kegs that don’t require return transport. For the time being, these one-way kegs will only be produced and sold in the United States.

The fact that return transport is unnecessary means that these beer kegs save more than 60 per cent on transport, and consequently on CO2 emissions as well.

They feature an integrated standard Sankey D fitting and use an inner tube, called a spear, for dispensing the beverage. The barrier qualities for the beverage are provided by “scavengers” in the PET material integrated into the innermost container. The spear and the Sankey D fitting constitute the main difference between a UniKeg and a KeyKeg, which is fitted with the KeyKeg coupler and the laminated inner bag.

“UniKeg has benefitted from the expertise, R&D and know-how within Lightweight Containers, which enabled us to develop a high-quality concept and product. UniKeg gives our customers a new worthy alternative for developing successful product-price-market combinations,” said Jan Veenendaal, CEO of Lightweight Containers.

The beer kegs will be manufactured in the US and will be fitted with the US Sankey D coupling system. Production will begin in August 2016 in Joliet, Illinois.

Buderim Ginger launches new alcoholic ginger beer range

Australians are about to get their own range of pre-mixed alcoholic Ginger Beer drinks, featuring universal favourites Ginger Beer & Vodka and Ginger Beer & Spiced Rum.

Served in chilled, slimline 250ml cans, these newly launched concoctions of ginger beer and alcohol can now be consumed in two easy steps; open and sip.

Also known as a Moscow Mule, the Ginger Beer & Vodka variant boasts the unique flavours of Buderim Ginger and clean high-quality Vodka, paying homage to this classic cocktail.

And the Ginger Beer & Spiced Rum combination is steeped in a rich history, dating back to the late 1800’s. Traditionally known as a ‘Dark and Stormy’, this mix of Buderim Ginger and Spiced Rum delivers an extra smooth taste with a rich vanilla & spice character.

The launch of the new alcoholic range in First Choice Liquor and Vintage Cellar stores comes off the back of the launch of Buderim Ginger’s non-alcoholic range last summer, including Original Ginger Beer, Ginger Beer & Guarana, Reduced Sugar Ginger Beer and Ginger Beer & Pear, which recently just won the 2016 Product of the Year Award in the Beverage Category.

The new alcoholic Ginger Beer range can be consumed straight from the can, or poured over ice with a twist of lemon for a pleasing tipple.

Made on home-soil, Buderim Ginger’s alcoholic Ginger Beer range is available from First Choice Liquor and Vintage Cellars stores across Australia.

Screw cap innovation removes wine preservatives at the push of a button

AN innovative bottle closure with the potential to significantly reduce wine allergies is being developed in Australia’s most famous wine region.

Barossa Valley brothers Joshua and Simon Schmidt started their South Australian company Vinnovate in 2012 and have developed a bottle closure that releases a solution to reduce the impact of preservatives or add subtle flavours to wine.

When activated, by pressing a button on top of the screw cap, the solution is mixed with the wine and binds to free sulfites, removing their preservative properties and reducing their ability to cause a reaction.

The Vinnovate invention has beaten more than 100 Australian and New Zealand industry innovations to take out the Brancott Estate Winexplorer Challenge.

Co-founder and chief innovation officer Joshua Schmidt said the award – a $35k cash prize plus the opportunity to work with Pernod Ricard to bring the product to market – was a huge thrill.

“We believe that the Winexplorer Challenge has validated our idea and it now gives us a springboard from which to go forward,” he said.

He said it would be up to the consumer as to whether they activated the solution or not.

Sulfites, or sulphur dioxide, is a preservative widely used in winemaking because of its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Common reactions to sulfites include headaches and red, itchy skin.

Vinnovate Managing Director Simon Schmidt is a winemaker while Joshua’s background is in marketing, with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical industry.

The Schmidt brothers have developed prototypes and have commenced discussions with a number of wineries around trials.

Joshua said he hoped for a commercial release towards the end of the year.

“It’s our vision to see this as the next generation screw cap closure for wine,” he said.

“We currently are talking to some wineries about this and it’s our goal that this would be inclusive wine packaging.”

“We believe this has tremendous widespread appeal and application just like how the Clare Valley was an early adopter of the screw cap 40-odd years ago.”

Aussie bush gin prepares to take on world

A small distillery on a remote island at the bottom of the world is preparing to take its award-winning gin to the world.

Kangaroo Island Spirits this week took out the Champion Gin Trophy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards for its Old Tom Gin.

The accolade, handed out by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria in Melbourne, comes as the remote distillery prepares to install a second still to give it the capacity to enter the export market.

Kangaroo Island Spirits owners Jon and Sarah Lark have been distilling at Cygnet River for more than a decade.

Jon, whose brother Bill founded renowned Tasmanian whisky distillery Lark, said the second still would have the ability to “significantly more than double” production, which currently sits at about 7000-litres a year.

“We’ve intentionally remained small over the years because we wanted to maintain control of our product but we’ve just been receiving so much interest, particularly in export, that we are about to install a 300-litre pot still and within 12-months we’ll have that running off solar power and have the only solar distillery in the country,” he said.

Kangaroo Island Spirits has up to five gins using local botanicals and traditional processes in its range at any one time. It also produces vodka and liqueurs.

Jon said although the most significant sales were through the cellar door, wholesale was rapidly expanding with a great deal of interest from high-end bars, restaurants and independent bottle shops across Australia.

He said the artisan distillery had received international inquiries from the United States, United Kingdom and from Asia.

“I’d particularly like to go into Spain because Spain consumes more gin than the UK but a lot of people don’t realize that and certainly Asia makes a lot of sense from here as well,” Jon said

Kangaroo Island, Australia’s third largest offshore island, is about 150km southwest of the South Australian capital Adelaide.

Known for its natural beauty and wildlife, it is a tourism icon drawing more than 40,000 international visitors every year with the majority coming from Italy, Germany and North America.

“We’ve been here 10 years and we’re going from strength to strength and this award is going to help us no end in getting to that next stage,” Jon said.

“Also, Kangaroo Island has developed a fairly significant food and wine industry and we’ve been a part of that. “

Kangaroo Island Spirits took out the national award for its “Old Tom” gin, a traditional gin flavoured with native plants.

It boasts a distinctly Australian flavour enhanced by the inclusion of foliage from the coastal Daisy bush (olearia axillaris), native Juniper (myoporum insulare) and locally grown Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed myrtle.

Jon said “Old Tom” was a slightly sweetened gin, which took its name from an English gin tradition from the 18th century.

“We’ve made an Old Tom style of gin using that process but we’ve added local botanicals and we’ve aged it for six weeks in reconditioned French oak barrels to give it some character.”

Major breweries experience record-high M&A

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has long been a fixture of alcoholic beverage industries. Recently, major producers, particularly breweries, have begun consolidating their operations more frequently than previous years. The effects of these consolidations have radically transformed the market for alcoholic beverages throughout the 21st century.

Due to the pervasiveness of alcohol consumption, alcoholic beverage producers will play an indefinite role in the global economy. Many consumer goods industries experience rapid growth only to be quickly replaced by new technologies or innovations. However, alcoholic beverage manufacturers will maintain stability as long as alcohol consumption remains engrained in cultures across the world. Nevertheless, this built-in stability also presents challenges for the industry’s leading manufacturers.

Many beverage producers experience occasional surges in popularity resulting from various trends, such as the emergence of light beer in the late 1970s, martini and cocktail culture in the 1990s and the recent craft beer boom of the 2000s. Historically, however, alcoholic beverage producers have exhibited sluggish growth.

This is primarily due to unchanging alcohol consumption patterns, particularly in the United States. IBISWorld estimates that per capita expenditure on alcohol in the United States will increase at an annualized rate of 0.9% in the five years to 2016. Conversely, it is expected to contract at an annualized rate of 0.2% over the next five years. Because US consumers’ alcohol consumption patterns provide alcoholic beverage producers with little opportunity for organic growth, many companies have expanded across the globe through major mergers and acquisitions.

The Breweries industry was not a highly concentrated industry throughout the 20th century. St. Louis brewer Anheuser-Busch, Milwaukee’s Miller Brewing Company and New York breweries Ballantine and Rheingold only held significant market share in their respective regions of the United States, until waves of acquisitions ultimately consolidated these brands under the corporate umbrellas of national brewing companies. By the early 1980s, 92.0% of the industry’s production was generated by six major players, Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Heileman, Stroh, Coors and Pabst, thereby enabling the industry’s most dominant brewers to stretch production and distribution channels into previously untapped regions of the United States. Despite this rapid consolidation, industry leader Anheuser-Busch realized that minimal organic growth opportunities in the United States would create the need for overseas expansion. In 2008, Brazilian beer manufacturer InBev, a company based on a major merger between international beer giants Interbrew and AmBev, purchased Anheuser-Busch. Similar international deals continued throughout the United States and Europe, and in 2016, the Global Beer Manufacturing industry is currently dominated by four major breweries, which accounts for 73.8 per cent of all global production.

The recent popularity of craft beer in the United States placed even greater competitive pressure on large US beer manufacturers.

The Craft Beer Production industry has grown at an annualized rate of 17.8 per cent over the five years to 2016, compared with the larger Breweries industry, which is anticipated to grow at an annualized rate of 5.8 per cent over the same period.

In response to this uncharacteristically high growth in sales and surging popularity of alternative beer products, major brewers have pursued small regional breweries that once had been regarded as too insignificant to threaten the sales and profit margins of major beer manufacturers. In 2011, Anheuser-Busch InBev exhibited one of the first signs of Big Beer’s interest in craft breweries when it acquired Chicago-based brewer Goose Island for $38.8 million. Since then, some of the most successful niche craft brewers, including Blue Point Brewing, Elysian, Lagunitas and Ballast Point, have been scooped up into the brand portfolios of the world’s largest beer behemoths.


With the Global Beer Manufacturing industry expected to grow at an annualized rate of just 1.4 per cent over the five years to 2016, rapidly growing craft brewers are in high demand. According to The Wall Street Journal, Goose Island, at the time of its purchase in 2011, sold about 127,000 barrels of beer per year before its $38.8 million acquisition. San Diego craft brewer Ballast Point reported in 2014 that it produced a comparable 123,000 barrels of beer annually, yet it sold to international alcoholic beverage producer Constellation Brands for a staggering $1.0 billion in 2015. The explosive growth in valuations for popular craft brewers demonstrates the increasingly urgent need among major producers for new growth opportunities, as well as the small number of craft brewers willing to relinquish control of their operations. For major brewers unsatisfied with the limited availability of craft breweries that are willing to sell their operations, the next step has been global consolidation. In November 2015, Anheuser-BuschInBev and SABMiller, which respectively represent the largest and second-largest beer manufacturers in the world, announced plans for a projected $104.0 billion merger that would represent the biggest alcoholic beverage merger in history. Pending the approvals of various governmental antitrust bodies, IBISWorld estimates the combined company would generate 53.0 per cent of the Global Beer Manufacturing industry’s total revenue.

Massive craft beer valuations and international beer mergers represent the culmination of a global industry’s decades-long effort to expand despite minimal organic growth opportunities and the crowded landscape for alcoholic beverages.

Rather than compete for the slim profit margins that come from traditional premium and light beer brands, reducing competition has been the industry’s last hope to maintain strong growth. Over the five years to 2016, IBISWorld estimates that the average industry profit margin for the Breweries industry has fallen from 8.7 per cent to 6.9 per cent. The next logical step for international brewers to maintain growth is to acquire and expand beer production, distribution networks and the pre-existing brand portfolios of its competitors at a global scale. If the Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller merger prevails, odds are that 53.0 per cent of consumers’ next green St. Patrick’s Day beers will come from the same company.

Beer Piece


This article was posted on IBISWorld. See the original here.

China takes WA’s drop to invest in the wine industry future

A new report released by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre at Curtin University outlines major considerations for wine producers when exporting Western Australian wines to China.

The report, titled WA Wine Exports: Building an economic future with China, was completed in consultation with six key industry stakeholders and 26 wine producers across all WA wine regions to gain insight into expert issues and the Chinese market.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Jeremy Galbreath, said the report identified five key themes: the growing market for Australian wines in China; distribution; packaging and product development; marketing and branding; and a business model innovation.

“There is a perception that WA’s wine production volume is too small to make any significant penetration into the Chinese market,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

“Our research, however, determined that there was a definitive market for premium wine in China and that WA was well poised to meet a slice of that demand, providing wine producers consider a few key aspects when exporting their wine.

“Successful exporters must be creative around labels, colouring and wine descriptors, while investigating the value of creating new wine brands specific to the Chinese market.

“Producers should also be aware of the language differences and how terminology is understood when using descriptors of their wine on labels. This will ensure Chinese consumers understand the messages in the same way.”

The importance of precise marketing and branding of Western Australian wines was also highlighted as the impact of WA’s isolation presented additional challenges.

“Outside of some knowledgeable wine consumers, even regions like Margaret River have little global recognition. This needs to change in order for Western Australian wine producers to successfully increase exports to China,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

“Several participants in the research expressed that regional producers should investigate more thoroughly how they can collaborate or cooperate to increase the volume of their exports to China,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.

“This would help overcome some concerns about too many small producers acting alone, encouraging participation towards a common goal, and keeping individual brands intact.”

“The reality is that the majority of wine producers in WA are unprofitable and new business models are needed to restore profitability and to secure a sustainable future,” Associate Professor Galbreath said.