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New beer aims to help keep the local bowlo alive

Two Sydney locals have combined their love of beer and bowling by releasing the Bowlo Draught that aims to help Australian bowling club culture roll on long into the future.

Matty Graham and Alex Light (pictured in that order above) had previously worked together as creatives at Vice Media Australia but after it was closed down last year, largely due to the pandemic, they set about starting a new business brewing beer with the intention of supporting local bowling clubs – like the one in Bondi they are both members of.

They said Bowlo Draught, that is officially launched this Sunday (April 18) at their club and will come in 375ml cans and kegs, is their way to help clubs in need but also drive a “renaissance back to the iconic Aussie bowlo for a whole new generation”.

Contract brewed at Hairyman Brewery with Andy Odell, the 4.2% beer uses all-Australian ingredients, like Pride of Ringwood and Melba hops plus Voyager’s Vienna malt. While they want it to be relevant to the “older drinker” Matty and Alex also positioned it so it’s contemporary enough to appeal to a modern demographic as well.

“One of the reasons we wanted to go down this road is the fact bowling clubs are scattered all over the country but they’re also just great Australian institutions,” Matty, who is a volunteer director at the Bondi club, told Beer & Brewer. “They are the best of the old Australia but they are also one of the best and most important parts of every community… they are still an absolute treasure trove of good people and stories.

“I’ve seen small clubs struggle to stay alive due to COVID-19, declining revenues and dwindling membership bases. Sadly, some have been sold off or folded.”

A portion of the profits from every Bowlo Draught sold will go back to supporting local bowling clubs but the mates hope the beer can quench more than thirsts.

“From my point of view I would love to be able to help a few clubs that are in need,” Alex said. “That the branding and promotion of this beer might just give back to them in more ways than just selling beer – that it is the catalyst to see new members come on board.

“And if we can point to a few projects in a couple of year’s time and say ‘we were able to help’ that would be great. We’re not holding any illusions here that we’ll be able to help every bowling club through this but if we can support a few, and make a difference, that’s what we’d like.”

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