It’s been a big few months for the brewers of Arvo 51. With the opening of their state of the art brewery, through to deciding what to brew based on the punters’ data and, finally, launching the two brews – 34 and 51 – in a final showdown, the family-run business has certainly kept itself busy.
And according to Master Brewer Andy Mitchell, the brewery is running hot producing their crowd-sourced Lager. Just don’t expect a flood of new beers and new styles hitting shelves in the immediate future.
“We don’t want to confuse the drinking public,” he says. “We’re working to establish the beer in the marketplace as a brand, rather than flooding the market with a lot of different brews.”
And it is this democratic attitude to their drinkers that has garnered the new brewery a lot of fans already. “As brewers we have always wanted to tell drinkers what is good and what they should be drinking,” Mitchell says. “But the only good beer is what people want to drink.”
And it’s already clear that Mitchell is ready to live up to his convictions. The Master Brewer was already on the record saying that Batch 34 was his favourite with its hoppier flavour profile, and although he is a little disappointed that the “easier-drinking style” of 51 was the crowd favourite he is more than happy to brew what the people want to drink – it is after all their ‘perfect Lager’ – if it means more people will drink beer.
“It’s becoming harder to get the youth to drink beer. They are all drinking alcopops that taste just like the drinks they had as kids, just with vodka added,” says Mitchell. “Beer is better for you [than sugary RTDs] and we want to get them back to drinking it, in moderation of course.”
As such, Mitchell is adamant that he will continue to listen to what his punters want. And while the brew has copped some flack from some quarters of the media, he rightly points out that the brew has attracted praise for its flavour profile – within the Lager-style – and a lot of attention from drinkers. “The average punter likes an unchallenging beer,” he says. “That’s why Lager is by far the most popular drinking style.”
Mitchell also says that while he and the brewery team are more than comfortable producing their “good beer” they have been constantly playing with their two pilot plants and coming up with new recipes and new ideas – although it will be up to the higher ups to decide where the brand will go next and when. Until then, they are just enjoying the ride.
“We were at the [Australian Hotel] beer festival on the weekend and I was surprised by the interest from punters,” he says. “They were coming up and they knew the beer and wanted to try it and talk about it.”
The praise was gratifying to say the least, as was the interest in their Festival Brew, an Amber/Red Ale that was aimed at showing beer fans just what the brewery is capable of.
“It went down really well,” says Mitchell. “We have some interesting beers up our sleeves so we’ll just wait and see what gets released.”