Asahi Beverages and more than 30 Victorian barley growers celebrated three years of the Victorian Barley Program at a gathering held last week at Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium.

At the dinner, barley farmers were treated to dinner and beers grown with their own barley, as well as hearing from farming and brewing industry professionals, agronomy experts, and mental health advocates.

Asahi’s Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) uses 40,000 tonnes of Victorian-grown barley every year at its Abbotsford Brewery. Barley is central to the production of beer, defining its taste, colour and aroma.

Amanda Sellers, CEO, Asahi Beverages, explained the importance of the program.

“It is a privilege to have access to Victorian barley, which is among the world’s best. Our relationship with our farming partners and rural communities is extremely important and we wanted to thank them by sharing a meal, a beer and a few stories.

“We elevated our partnership with farmers three years ago when we launched the Victorian Barley Program. Our direct relationship with growers helps ensure we only use the best barley. The program provides us with clear oversight of the growing process and we can trace barley right back to the paddock. In addition, it gives growers the confidence and financial security to invest in new technology and make improvements in farming sustainability and efficiency.

“This procurement model is a win for Asahi Beverages, a win for beer lovers and a win for farmers and their communities,” she said.

The program is delivered by Riordan Grain, and owner Jim Riordan spoke about his pride in the project.

“The event was a tremendous success and allowed farmers to catch up with each other, learn a little but most importantly have some fun. We love being a part of the Victorian Barley program because it supports Victorian farming communities,” he said.

“One of the special things about beer is that people come together to enjoy it socially. The local pub and the beer that it serves have long been an incredibly important part of rural Victoria. We raise our glass to Victorian farmers for making it possible.”

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