Indie Beer Day set down for July 25

On Saturday, July 25, independent beer fans across the country are coming together to say, “Cheers to Indie Beer”.

Only the second of its kind, Indie Beer Day and the nationwide synchronised toast at 7 pm (AEST), is designed to celebrate resilience, survival, and easing (in some states) of restrictions. Most of all, it’s a toast to the great indie brewers and venues who have been doing it tough, many of which were dealing with fires and floods before this pandemic even began.

Breweries, pubs, and venues across the country are hosting celebrations (both physical and virtual), launching beers, and offering special deals to help us raise a glass to our favourite indie beer.

“With restrictions eased in most states, we need Indie Beer Day now more than ever. We need the people who love and support indie producers to give our industry a much-needed boost in every way,” explains Independent Brewers Association (IBA) General Manager Kylie Lethbridge. “Many indie breweries are located in regional areas, so the loss of regional tourism and pub closures has hit them hard.”

“Whether you’re buying takeaway beers, ordering your indie mixed pack online, having a small gathering with mates or heading to your favourite local for drinks, make sure you ask for indie beer and raise a drink with us at 7pm on the 25th,” says Lethbridge.

Sydney’s Northern beaches will hit party mode as Modus Operandi celebrates its 6th birthday with new brews, top food, and tunes. Traveling north to Queensland, newly established Straddie Brewing Co will be launching their Point Lookout Lager, and Bribie Island Brewing Company will be reopening its doors for the first time since lockdown. Over in South Australia Little Bang Brewing Company is showcasing 21 taps of indie beers from around the country. While Melbourne may be in lockdown, it doesn’t mean they’re not joining in the fun – Killer Sprocket is offering take away specials all day. From Margaret River to the Top End and all the way down south in New Norfolk, Tassie, you’ll be able to find indie beer and venues elebrating in style. In fact, some indie brewers have donned their dancing shoes to get people excited for the day.

NSW government provides relief to indie brewers

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, announced welcome support NSW independent brewers by providing financial assistance to the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) to implement a range of measures that aim to pave the way for recovery.

Barilaro revealed $135,000 would contribute to the cost of memberships for the 120 independent breweries in NSW for a year and $60,000 would go to a partnership associated with the IBA’s annual conference, BrewCon being held in November. These contributions ensure the industry body can continue to provide valuable assistance and resources for members during their recovery from the Coronavirus crisis.

The Independent Brewers Association represents over 600 small and medium business in every state and territory across Australia with a majority of members located in regional areas. We directly employ over 3,000 people and support the employment of more than 25,000 in related industries of agriculture, logistics, hospitality, manufacturing and services.

“Our region depends on tourism, so we’ve been struggling to hang on, especially after the fires and then Coronavirus. This support will allow us to keep staff onboard and focus on getting new beers ready for our local community and the next tourist season.” explains Jacob Newman from Eden Brewery.

The support follows on from the NSW Independent Brewers Action Plan launched by the Deputy Premier late last year which contained a broad range of initiatives to support growth in the sector. This new funding recognises that the industry has been devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic and that NSW breweries will struggle to recover without assistance.

“We’d like to thank Deputy Premier John Barilaro for being a champion of the independent brewing industry, his support has been essential in delivering policy and regulatory changes that will have long-term benefits for every NSW brewery. This strong partnership with the NSW Government is crucial for the health of our industry and it is the first step toward recovery for NSW breweries and their employees”, said Peter Philip, IBA Chair and founder of Wayward Brewing Company.

“Our industry has been doing it tough, especially small breweries based in regional areas that rely so heavily on tourism and taprooms for survival. A large percentage have lost nearly all their revenue since the pandemic started. This support will go a long way to alleviating some of the immediate pressures being faced these small, family owned and operated businesses.” explains Philip.

Furthermore, the NSW Government is lending its voice and asking the Federal Government to provide tailored responses for our industry, including modifying the small brewer excise refund scheme and developing a national strategy for the independent beer industry.

IBA starts to spruik events as lockdown restrictions ease

With lockdown restrictions slowly starting to ease across the country, the Independent Brewers Association has furiously been in planning mode to revise their events schedule for the year. It has meant a major reshuffle of timings, locations, and in some cases, going virtual. All good reasons to celebrate and to come together as an industry as we begin to recover from the devastating effects caused by the global pandemic though!

Good Beer Week
This week was supposed to see the 10th anniversary Good Beer Week celebrations kick-off. The team couldn’t let that milestone go by without some sort of isolation-inspired celebration so instead, the Good Beer Week Virtual Festival launched on Monday.

“We wanted to do something to commemorate the event, and all the venues who have been struggling since restrictions came into place. For us, Good Beer Week is every week. So why not celebrate it in a way that is safe, supports our venues, and brings together the community spirit that Good Beer Week is known for” explains Siobhan Kerin, Head of Events for the IBA.

The website will house online events, activities, and a very cool program for the Cryer Malt Virtual Trade Hub. We’ll also be sharing the memories we have created since the first Good Beer Week back in 2011.

BrewCon was originally scheduled for September and while we expect fewer restrictions then, the IBA felt it was too risky to go ahead as planned so the conference and trade expo has been moved to November, between 9-12 with further announcements to follow at the beginning of June once the schedule has been locked in.

With the date change also comes a change in scene as BrewCon moves to the Sunshine Coast. BrewCon2020 will be heading up to the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre, where the members can enjoy a little slice of paradise and a raft of fun and games.

The Indies Awards Ceremony will run in conjunction with BrewCon in November. There may be some changes to the judging process depending on restrictions however, this will have very little impact on breweries who enter. Further announcements for Indies entry information will be made in June.

Indie Beer Day 
With the shuffle of the above events, Indie Beer Day has been brought forward to July 25. This was a great success last year in raising the profile of indie beer so with venues slowing starting to open across the country, and social distancing expected to stick around for a little longer, the IBA saw this campaign as another opportunity to promote indie beer and to share a universal ‘cheers’ to all the makers and consumers who have done it tough the last few months.

“We are really pleased to be able to make these announcements now, especially as people are starting to feel a little more positive about the road ahead. While we may have to do things a little differently this year, our aim is to bring everyone together, to have a beer, learn some stuff and to have some fun while we celebrate our recovery from what has been a really tough time”, said Peter Philip, Chair of the IBA and head honcho at Wayward

The right brew for beverage and distillery flooring

The craft beer and distillery market in Australia is worth in excess of $4 billion and growing. Although currently dominated by North American brands, more exciting new craft brewers and distilleries are setting up rapidly throughout the country, with up to 600 brands now being available.

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) estimates that there will be double-digit growth of 24.2 per cent for local craft beer through the liquor stores over the next 12 months, proving Australia has a growing appetite for quality beer and spirits. Wealthy investors and bankers also view the market as a key opportunity with the likes of Gerry Harvey recently investing $20 million to build Australia’s largest whisky company.

Similar to the building and construction of a winery, breweries and distilleries have parallel challenges in getting the floor coating just right.

The brewing process is subject to constant wear and tear and spills. This is driven by steam and boiling water creating a large swing in temperatures that the flooring needs to withstand. Following on from the production process, forklifts and pallet jacks are used to transport ingredients and finished brews to delivery trucks. This constant traffic movement can cause the floor to crack and peel and result in dangerous trip hazards, as well as a build-up in bacteria. A seamless heavy-duty, non-slip epoxy floor from a company like Roxset Health and Safety Flooring will protect from accidents and inhibit growth of bacteria and provide ease of cleaning.

READ MORE: Flooring meets strict food code requirements

Another key consideration with the final coating is erosion. Sugar solutions used in wine making and brewing rapidly erode concrete, which can leave the surface pitted and damaged resulting in expensive downtime and repairs. It also creates a hazardous working environment for workers.

Breweries, distilleries and wineries have a lot of rules and regulations they are required to follow, not just in terms of how they run overall, but their set-up, too.

Important requirements they must meet include:
• A brewery floor needs to be made of non-porous material, with no cracks and gaps.
• Flooring must have anti-microbial properties to prevent collection of bacteria and other harmful organisms and meet HACCP Compliance.
• Floor coating must be moisture and chemical resistant and not degrade quickly due to repeated exposure.
• Floor coating must work well in both wet and dry conditions.
• Floor coating should be non-slip and have low environmental impact.

The SE Floor Coating Solution from Roxset is a specialised tailored system to suit high impact wet areas for the food and beverage industry. Key clients over the past 30 years include, Ned’s Whisky, Capital Brewing, Vasse Felix Winery and Voyager Estate.

For consumers, breweries and distilleries are a cool place to hang out and see how the beverage is made and to sample offerings. But what they do not realise is the level of detail, which goes into every choice made. From the brewing of equipment to the flooring, everything needs careful consideration.

Roxset has the expertise and history to make sure all hygienic and safety concerns are met in distilleries, wineries and breweries. It works with clients so it can find a solution that will mean the floor surface meets strict Australian standards and makes for a safe and healthy workplace for employees.

International baking expo highlights automation

Every three years, anyone who is anyone in the baking industry converges on Munich for the iba, the international bakery exhibition/conference. This year there were more than 1700 exhibitors, 76,000 visitors and about $3.4 billion in trade completed at the event.

One person hitting the stands and looking over the event was Total Construction’s general manager for its food and beverage division, Tony Tate. It’s an industry he’s been involved with for more than 30 years and is deft at spotting upcoming trends and where the industry is heading. He thinks the next big thing to hit the baking industry will be “Indulgence Individual Creation”. The Universal Bread production is focusing on sourdough long fermentation and process Quality.

Walking around the show clearly is showing Automation of artisan breads, is happing now which will mean they take the step from being a specialty product to becoming a commodity.

He believes that there will be an uptake in both national and multi-national bread bakers opening up new premises, or converting current ones into those that will meet the demands of consumers who no longer go after traditional white and brown breads – in other words, traditional tin-baked breads.

“In the 60s bakers were trying to get the baking of white loaves automated because white bread was part of the staple diet of Australians,” said Tate. “You look at it now, it is in decline. It is only added value breads like grain breads or low GI breaks that is keeping the tin bread market open. You look at the large bread companies who are shutting down bakeries and consolidating manufacturing to survive the large supermarkets low price strategy.

With artisan and sourdough loaves now becoming popular, bakers have to shift gear and start producing facilities that will cope with influx of demand.

“In the 1970s and 1980s they developed mechanisation and made white bread more competitive. The Chorleywood bread mixing process was invented and started bringing in 3000-loaves-an-hour lines, then 8000-loaves-an-hour lines. In the late 2000s they brought in 10,000-loaves-an-hour lines. Now everybody is going for the sourdough. If you go around the show it is all about artisan, sourdough and French baguettes, Vienna’s etc.”

And the building of plants based around these breads has already begun. French-based artisan bread specialist, Laurent, has just invested huge amounts of money on building an Artisan plant in Victoria. Their first plant in 2009 they could bake 3000 baguettes an hour now over 8000 baguettes an hour.

Early demand of Sourdough bread sold for premium $8.49 per loaf now they selling them in the supermarkets at $4.99.” per loaf.

Tate believes that baking will go through an interesting transition over the next 10 years due to the expectations of not only consumers, but what bakers will be capable of doing – the hard part is to gauge is what that will entail.

“White bread rose and then declined, sourdough will follow because of the automation of mechanised plant cable of mass producing Artisan bread available now but couldn’t do artisan 10 years ago.

Tate see an opportunity for individualised, indulgent artisan creations made to order same day. Order in morning pick up or get delivered the afternoon.

The process equipment automation will struggle to try and automate these kinds of products. But you have to start somewhere and start chipping away.

When it comes to automation, Tate said there was a demonstration at the event that could be a precursor to what the future holds for some fast-food outlets and how their food is served.

“There was a booth with a robot in it,” said Tate. “It grabbed a bun. The robot put a knife through it and sliced the bun. The robot turned the bun over, put butter on it, it then changed its arm to pick up a piece of salami, then put on some lettuce and then some cheese. It then put the bun into a wrapper station, folded it over, then put a stamp on it that said ‘freshly made for you’ or something like that. But it took 15 minutes. So somebody who works at McDonalds has still got a job at the moment, but the technology will eventually come through.”

One of the main drivers for attending the event was about building relationships, and taking those associations a step further.

“It was more than just about building relationships, it was about understanding the relationship all the way through,” said Tate. “It’s that relationship building and being consistent to the industry that means if anybody has a referral then people’s first port of call will be Total Construction. We have the knowledge. We know the industry. We know about bakeries and we can build it.”

One more key take out from the iba for Tate, was some of the oven technology coming through whereby several types of products can be baked at once.

“Mecatherm has designed an oven to encompass flexibility. The oven itself can cost up into the thousands depending on specification and flexabliity” said Tate. “This allows the entrepreneur baker to have the flexibility to take several format such as sourdough breads, tin breads, batch soft rolls or cakes. For this investment bakeries can get into the market and say, ‘by the way I have the flexibility to do my tin bread in the morning, I can do my artisan in the afternoon and do my cakes whenever.’”

With his final thoughts on the exhibition, Tate has some definitive ideas on where the baking industry is heading, but is a little unsure when it will get there.

“Is automation here? Yes, it is,” he said. “Artisan and sourdough are the main drivers going forward, and it is the level of automation as to whether it will become a commodity. The next phase I believe will be indulgent products that are being created whether it is chocolate, whether it is bread, whether it is a work of art and those processes will eventually become automated robots, but it’s a long time away.”

With another three years before the next iba comes around, it will be interesting to see if Tate’s predictions come true.

Food and Beverage Industry News heads to iba food expo in Germany

Food and Beverage Industry News is attending iba – an international bakery and confectionery craft fair.

The expo, held in mid-September, will bring equipment and food manufacturers, and electronics specialists together in Munich, Germany. 

With more than 1300 exhibitors from around the world, the expo will showcase companies offering a variety of products and services. 

This includes companies with a presence in Australia, such as NORD Drivesystems, which manufactures drive technology for mechanical and electronic solutions.

READ: Highlights of Fine Food Australia include focus on robotics and health foods

The company’s range of products includes geared motors, motors, industrial gear units, frequency inverters, motor starters and frequency inverters for decentralised drive control.

Companies such as Siemens will also be there, as well as numerous baking equipment manufacturers, ingredients manufacturers such as German exhibitor Advanced Enzyme Technologies, and logistics companies such as Chinese exhibitor – Anqing Lush Paper industry.

The iba Speakers Corner will host discussions on current and future trends and challenges.

Discussion topics also include digitisation, industry 4.0, hygiene and modern social media marketing.

Visitors can look at bakeries working on a national and international level with the help of virtual reality glasses and 360-degree videos.

Bakeries from Germany, Greece, Iceland, Austria and USA will feature in virtual reality.

People can also see a bakery in action first-hand and learn about specific areas at seminars and training sessions.

Food and Beverage Industry News will be at iba from the 17th of September exploring the latest trends and technology. The expo runs from the 15th to 20th of September.