History of Beer

Cascade Brewery in Hobart… established in 1824.

Beer has a proud history in Australia and has long served as our traditional beverage and a cultural icon. It was first introduced Down Under via the HMS Endeavour, when Captain James Cook landed at what we now know as Botany Bay in 1770. Aboard ship it was a means of preserving drinking water to stave off scurvy.

The Australian brewing sector has flourished ever since to be a national success story, a major economic contributor catering for the evolving tastes and demands of consumers…

Time honoured traditions

Australia’s oldest surviving brewery, the Cascade Brewery in Hobart, Tasmania, is still operating almost 200 years after its establishment in 1824.

Within 70 years, many of Australia’s long-standing 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.

In 1878, brothers Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald, moved their entire brewing operation from Castlemaine in Victoria to Brisbane. Hence, the Castlemaine Perkins brewery was born, known today as the home of XXXX.

Following Australia’s federation in 1901, a new Beer and Excise Act was formed by the Federal Government, which led to the regulation of beer brewing and sales.

Home brewing was determined to be illegal and the beer sector 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 to consolidation. 1907 saw the merger of five Melbourne breweries to form Carlton & United Breweries. As with most sectors, over the last century continuing consolidation to achieve economies of scale has led to greater concentration in beer production – but, most importantly, the brew remains true.

For more information on the history of beer in Australia visit Our Members or to learn more about beer today, its source ingredients and modern contribution, checkout Beer: The Facts.