A HISTORY OF BEER
Beer has a long history in both Australia and New Zealand and has long served as a traditional beverage and cultural icon. Since its introduction on the Endeavour by Captain Cook as, a means of preserving drinking water combatting scurvy, the Australian and New Zealand brewing industries have grown to cater for the evolving tastes and demands of their consumers.
Australia’s oldest surviving brewery, the Cascade Brewery, is still operating 188 years after its establishment in Tasmania in 1824. Within 70 years, many of Australia’s longstanding breweries had been created, including the Coopers Brewery in 1862, the Carlton Brewery in 1864, and the Fosters brewery in 1887 which produced Australia's first lager.
Joel Samuel Polack established New Zealand’s first brewery in 1835. The popular styles were predominantly ales, porters and stouts due to the influence of British migration. In 1919, New Zealand narrowly escaped a prohibition ruling which led to a 6pm closing time regulation for licenced premises. New Zealander Morton W. Coutts invented the continuous fermentation process in the 1930s which gradually led to a higher production of lagers and consequently, the ever popular New Zealand Draught.
Following the Australian Federation of 1901, a new Beer and Excise act was formed by the Federal Government which led to the regulation of beer brewing and sales. Homebrewing was determined to be illegal and the beer industry began to transform as 16 of Sydney’s 21 breweries began to shut their doors.
Within a short time, the remaining breweries in Australia looked towards consolidation. 1907 saw the merger of five Melbourne breweries to form Carlton and United Breweries. Over the last century, the continuing process of consolidation has led to our current industry environment.
Much like Australia, the beer industry in New Zealand has consolidated to provide greater economies of scale. A range of traditional brands are still brewed with authentic flavour and style but with much greater representation both domestically and abroad.