Posts Tagged ‘homebrewing’

Give that they may brew

February 10, 2009

As many of you may be aware, my home state of Victoria has been ravaged by some brutal fires in the past week which have killed hundreds and destroyed the livelihoods of thousands more. It is a truly tragic and heartbreaking state of affairs. Australians are being very generous with donations and efforts to help rebuild people’s lives. I thought I would take this opportunity to highlight a particular instance of loss.

Hargreaves Hill beer fire ravaged donate pleaseOne young business devastated was a microbrewery dear to my heart at Hargreaves Hill just north of Melbourne. This business had recently expanded into a full-blown offsite brewing facility that has now been totally wiped out by the fire. Such growth was no doubt a very large financial risk and to see it destroyed must be heartbreaking.

The founder of the firm has been a leader of the microbrewing community in Victoria through his role as president of the Victorian Association of Microbrewers, and lobbied hard for more sensible taxation of these start-up businesses.

A Melbourne beer bar, The Local Taphouse, is running a fundraising effort to try and kickstart Hargreave’s recovery effort (as well contributing to the broader post-fire effort).

As any of my past students know, I am not a particularly generous fellow :), but I have handed over some cash to help them out and hope other beer (and small business)-lovers amongst you will do similar. More information at this blog.

Other agencies helping out in these difficult times, and also well worth donating to include the Red Cross and the RSPCA.

Please do not see this post as belittling or trivialising the losses of any others in these fires.  Rather this is an effort to target some small percentage of the generosity towards a particular entrepreneurial effort.

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Beer drinkers of the world united?

January 16, 2009

As I discussed back in November, the big boys of brewing are not finding the international arena as bountiful as they’d hoped. More reports are coming in of declining (or, at best, plateauing) sales across a range of markets.

SAB Miller certainly seem to be taking some hits, as do Danish giants Carlsberg (hence me giving their elephant a calming hug).

the-carlsberg-elephantWhat is unclear from these reports is whether the international players are hurting more than domestic rivals (where there are such). By rights the multinationals should be spreading their risks more effectively and have some cost advantages. But any cost lead may have been eaten up in acquisition premiums as they’ve spread their wings chasing international markets over the past decade.

That latest news piece seems to confirm the earlier November news showing consumers in emerging markets abandoning the amber nectar as they feel the recessionary pinch (i.e. beer seems more income elastic in such markets). This begs the question where these big brewers are going to find more market growth, given the very low growth in sales in the developed world. Maybe more high-end product.

Alternatively they might want to follow the lead of Australia’s third biggest brewer Coopers, who also happen to be the world’s largest producer of “home brew” concentrates (the core ingredient for making beer at home). They are reporting considerable sales growth at the moment. Looks like folks are chasing more crafted beers, but at bargain prices (or more positively, seek a more hands-on beer encounter).