I enjoy craft beer, but for me it’s not just about the brew. It’s about the jobs and the economic activity that are generated. In my own part of Sydney, for instance, a concentration of craft breweries has created a tourism spin-off, with people able to take breweries tours. There’s great economic potential in this industry and we need to support it as much as we can. It’s about jobs.”Labour Leader Anthony Albanese
Every week until every brewpub, taphouse and bar fully reopens across Australia, Beer & Brewer will chat with Australian beer lovers, both well known and less so, to find out how much they’re missing their local, which establishment they’ll head to first when restrictions lift and what they’ll be drinking when they do.
At Beer & Brewer, we want to do our bit to support the craft beer industry at this critical time and to raise awareness of the important role tap beer plays in a brewery’s livelihood, and the flow-on effect that has across the entire hospitality industry.
We also just want people to get excited at the thought of being able to one day soon enjoy a beer with friends again in some of our favourite community establishments.
We kick off our #backtothepub series with the member for craft beer himself, and leader of the opposition, Anthony Albanese.
Albo was the obvious choice to get things underway seeing as though he loves craft beer, hails from Sydney’s inner west, where small breweries are more densely populated than anywhere else in Australia, and where one of those – Willie the Boatman – even have a beer named in his honor – the Albo Corn Ale.
And please send us details of where you’ll head first and which craft beer you’ll be drinking when you do via this email link and via our social media posts and we’ll endeavour to get in touch with you to be part of the series. And post under the #backtothepub hashtag to share with your friends just how much you can’t wait to pull up a stool in your favourite watering hole.
Q&A with Anthony Albanese
Why is it important to support our local breweries, brewpubs, taphouses and bars at this time, and when restrictions hopefully lift soon?
Local breweries and bars are important because they provide jobs, not just in brewing, but also in the local hospitality industry. I enjoy craft beer, but for me it’s not just about the brew. It’s about the jobs and the economic activity that are generated. In my own part of Sydney, for instance, a concentration of craft breweries has created a tourism spin-off, with people able to take breweries tours. There’s great economic potential in this industry and we need to support it as much as we can. It’s about jobs.
What’s it been like for you not being able to head out and share a drink in the company of your community and how have you compensated?
I enjoy engaging with people. I’m no introvert. I’ve missed getting out and about in my local community, not just for a drink, but more generally for a meal or other social activity. Like most Australians, I have spent a lot of time at home lately. I’ve continued to work hard from home, but I’ve also tried to use this time to reflect on what kind of world we want to build post-COVID. I’ve also been impressed by the great job being done to get us through this crisis by working people like nurses, teachers, cleaners, drivers, supermarket workers and lot of other people who in the past we might have taken for granted. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
Which venue will you go to first to enjoy a beer when restrictions are lifted and why?
Willie the Boatman – because their social media during the lockdown has been so bad, it’s great!
And what Aussie craft beer will you be drinking when you get there?
Albo Corn Ale, of course.
As leader of the opposition, and someone who helped launch the Inner West Brewery Association, what can you do to ensure the small breweries and their associated enterprises bounce back strong after this?
When the medical advice says it is OK to go out again, I think a lot of people will want to enjoy their freedom. That will be good for all sections of the hospitality industry, so I’m optimistic for brewers in the short term. Over the longer run, it will be important in coming years that all levels of government support the sector by ensuring the taxation system and regulations in areas like town planning promote its growth while also serving the community interest.