By Andy Young, Editor TheShout
As Brooklyn Lager enjoys record sales in Australia CEO Eric Ottaway has told Beer & Brewer that the brewer is likely to make some adjustments to its portfolio of beers in this country.
Ottaway said that since joining with Coopers and Premium Beverages to brew and distribute its beers in Australia, sales of the brand have doubled. He added that the company is using its experience of what is happening to the craft beer market in the US, to predict the trends that will happen here and are looking to adjust their portfolio accordingly.
In terms of what the brand is looking forward to over the coming year Ottaway told Beer & Brewer: “We are taking a look at our portfolio and probably making some adjustments as we move forward. I think the craft beer market is moving towards more sessionable beers, and that’s a function of a number of factors: whether that’s just more consciousness about the amount of alcohol people are consuming or the age of the consumer, I think people are starting to appreciate flavour, but also flavour without as much alcohol.
“So our East IPA as much as it is a great beer, it is 6.9 per cent alcohol, you can enjoy one or two but then that strength is a factor. If I look at the US, and we have a few more years on the market, but that’s what is happening over there and I think that is what will start happening here. So we want to adjust our portfolio to reflect that.
“It’s also that craft beer is about making a new impression and trying different things and of course Brooklyn Lager is always going to be our flagship but beyond that you don’t want to just be selling the same three things forever. So switching up the portfolio is not a bad thing.”
He added: “Of course we’ll always look at bringing in some special beers for things like Good Beer Week, but in terms of whether we might offer some different things on a full-time basis, that is what we are taking a look at.”
Ottaway said that Brooklyn was very happy with its move to the Coopers and Premium Beverages partnership, which sees its draught beers brewed in this country.
“Things are going great for Brooklyn in Australia,” Ottaway said. “We made the switch over to Coopers in September of 2015, so 2016 was our first full-year and our sales are almost double what we were doing previously.
“So it has been a great move and the Coopers/Premium Beverages organisation has been very professional, they are excited to be working with us and they have really done a great job of building the brand in the right way. And I do emphasise that carefully because we probably could have sold four times as much beer this year if we had wanted to, but the point is to really establish Brooklyn in the right kinds of locations, that are appropriate for the brand and to build it for the long-term.
“This year we have been focusing largely on the on-premise area, and then to a lesser extent the independent bottleshops. Roughly half of what we now sell in Australia is brewed here by Coopers, so that’s Brooklyn Lager Draught and then the lager bottles and cans and the other products we are bringing in which includes the IPA, the East IPA and Brown Ale are coming in from the US.”
And for those who say that the beer brewed here can taste different to some of the imported beers, Ottaway said “that is absolutely true”, adding, “because it tastes like it should and not like it is months old and has been sitting in a container travelling through the tropics for eight weeks”.