01.Big bad brewers
Following a CHOICE investigation into big brewers stealing Aussie craft beers in January, the ACCC has fined super-sized brewer Carlton United Breweries (CUB) for one of the most blatant attempts yet to hijack independent Aussie beers.
The brewing giant, owned by UK based SABMiller and well known for its production of Fosters and Victoria Bitter, last year produced Byron Bay Pale Lager with a map on the bottle showing the location of the brewery nestled behind Byron Bay’s Main beach and Cape Byron lighthouse.
But the beer is actually brewed at CUB’s doomed Bluetongue brewery 630km south of Byron.
Brewers steal craft beer
Earlier this year, CHOICE found international conglomerates such as the Japanese owned Lion, and UK based SAB Miller, along with Woolworths, Coles and Coca-Cola Amatil are muscling in on Australia’s true independent craft brewers by mimicking their branding or buying out the smaller brewers.
The misleading labelling used by CUB is supposedly designed to take advantage of true blue beers such as Stone and Wood, which is actually Aussie owned and based in Byron Bay.
CUB's Byron Bay Lager on the other hand, is brewed at its Warnervale brewery, jammed between the Pacific Highway and Warnervale airport and within smelling distance of a sewage treatment plant. The true location is a stark contrast to the romanticised story of the “spirit of Byron Bay which has attracted local and international musicians” printed on the back of the Byron Bay Pale Lager bottle.
CUB has provided a court enforceable undertaking agreeing to cease distribution of the beer with the misleading labelling and undertaking that it will not make false representations of the scale of the brewery in which its products are brewed.