The NSW Government has unveiled its Independent Brewers Action Plan to support the state’s growing craft beer sector.

Launched at the Beers to the Bush Festival in Dubbo on Saturday 29 February, the plan features a range of activities intended to “encourage the industry to work with government and academia for commercial advantage; create a fit-for-purpose workforce; support and accelerate business development; and help attract investment and boost access to international markets”.

John Barilaro, deputy premier and minister for regional NSW, industry and trade, has stated that two thirds of the independent brewing industry is located in rural and regional areas and employs over 3,300 people.

This Action Plan is expected to support increasing the number of people employed independent breweries to over 6,000 within the next five years.

It has been developed as part of the NSW Government’s Food and Beverage Manufacturing Industry Development Strategy and the NSW Food and Wine Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.

“Independent beer is a big contributor to the NSW economy and the social fabric of NSW, particularly in small towns across the regions,” comments Balinaro.

“During a time of unprecedented drought it s amazing to see an industry growing that is able to provide a stimulus to regional economies as well as showcase the innovative and high quality products regional NSW is famous for.

“Independent brewers produce a premium product and we need to support them to succeed domestically as well as crack international markets – that’s where the Action Plan comes in – to facilitate food, wine and ale trail experiences as well as export ready tourism experiences.

“We want to give our independent brewers the chance to expand and make their business dreams an ice-cold, refreshing reality.”

The goal is to position NSW as a centre of excellent for craft beer, with numerous initiatives to be set up as part of the Action Plan. These include facilitating the development of ale trail experience and tourism experiences, identifying skills gaps and then providing training opportunities to get people into brewing, and providing economic analysis and potential for growth within the industry.

Peter Philip, chairman of the Independent Brewers Association and founder of Wayward Brewing Company, has applauded the NSW Government for its support of independent brewers.

“This plan provides real actionable steps to help the industry grow which will create jobs, many of which are in small towns all over NSW,” he said.

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