Pubs in the inner west and small bars in the CBD are well known hotspots of craft beer in Sydney. For years now however, all major retail chains and independents have been stocking craft beer out in the suburbs and with consumers continuing to get a thirst for more flavour in beer. On premise operators in the burbs are responding. We took a look at three different venues leading the charge.
Nick Porter, licensee at the DOG Hotel in Randwick oversaw the group bringing its successful craft beer strategy from the Keg & Brew Hotel in Surry Hills to the venue when they purchased it in 2015. With 59 taps pouring craft beer and being a larger sized pub, getting the food offering in line with the beer was very important. “Whether you offer craft beer or not, food quality and price in any pub is what brings people in and keeps bums on seats. Where craft comes in is that there is so many good beers to choose from in the market that you can pair it with items on your menu or run specific promotions in line with food offerings.
Managing so many different brewers and rotating taps through the bar Porter reflects on what makes a good craft beer supplier “I think the best suppliers are the ones who are consistent in both product quality and service. Responsiveness and flexibility is also pretty important.” Porter continues “There is no doubt that apart from our customers, suppliers are our most important stakeholders in the business.”
Brodie Parish General Manager of Hillside Hotel in Sydney’s North West has seen the rise of easier drinking and more accessible craft beer work in his venue. “Sessionable IPA’s are moving well for us at the moment, on the back of the success we have had ranging the Australian Brewery All Star IPA we are adding the Pirate Life Throwback IPA into the mix.”
Recently opening Fire and Brimstone Barbecue adjacent to the Hillside rooftop bar Parish has seen craft beer sales soar with a food pairing that goes hand in hand with beer. “Our craft volumes through our rooftop bar where the smokehouse has taken over have doubled, with some lines tripling in volume. Our tap volume overall is up 20%.” Parish also believes that generational change is helping drive movement in the beer market. “I see the growth being driven by the newer generations and their want to challenge the status quo, they aren’t happy to accept things the way they have always been and are forcing the hand of the big brewers to up their game.”
Opening in 2017 High Street Social helped bring craft beer to the otherwise bare Penrith in Western Sydney. Venue Manager Aodan Wilkinson has had to bring in a mix of craft beers that appeal to everyone to keep the beers flowing. “Our bestselling styles are by far Lagers, Pale ales and Summer Ales.” Wilkinson continues “But we still get in and sell through plenty of IPA’s, including doubles and NEIPAs”
Echoing other operators Wilkinson reinforced the importance of a strong food offering to pair with craft beers. “With our food being predominantly burgers, pairing it with craft beer is a match made in heaven. There’s nothing better than sitting down to an amazing burger with a pint of great beer”
With the growth of craft beer seeing no sign of slowing down and a re-energised independent brewers movement continuing to drive awareness for the category. Suburbs of Australia should expect to see more tasty beers on tap, especially with the rapid proliferation of more breweries around the country.
This article originally appeared in leading pub news website pubtic