Is anyone else bewildered by the response on social media?
I was with Captain K on the 27th with a timer on to remind us to refresh the page to find out what the next beer was on the count down. We were both ecstatic as the independent breweries shined in an ever increasing domination of the count down. However when I decided to look at social media, I was disappointed by the response. People upset about it being a “Dan Murphys Hottest 100”, people being upset about the fact their favourite brewery wasn’t in the count down or not up far enough, others were complaining that it’s a popularity contest.
These views completely bewildered me given how far the countdown has come over the past few years. The 2018 countdown had only 11 beers that are not brewed by an independent brewery. With Furphy coming in at 25 being the highest beer owned by one of the big boys.
Not only are the top 24 beers independent, but the beers in the countdown that are no longer independent took a massive hit this year. Pirate Life (CUB) taking the biggest hit with their IIPA going down 66 places to 79 and the IPA down 54 places to 69. A previous mainstay at the top, Ferals Hop Hog (Coca-Cola Amatil) down 39 places this year down to 53. And 4 Pines Pale Ale (CUB) down 24 places to 40.
And if this wasn’t bad enough for the Big Boys, their efforts to take on the craft industry seems to have taken a hit, with only four of the “Commercial Craft” on the list. With Furphy (Lion) leading the pack at 25, the next best is James Squire One Fifty Lashes (Lion) down 22 places to 44. Little Creatures Pale Ale (Lion) placed at 62 down 36 places. Yak Ales Wild Yak (CUB) came in at 75 down 46 places.
To me, this years countdown celebrates independent breweries. It shows a continued change in perception of craft beer in Australia, with a push to support independent craft operations.
Of course, as the name suggests, however it seems to be missed by many, the Hottest 100 is about the Hottest beers, meaning the most popular, which means it is a popularity contest! And given it is an Australian wide competition, it’s unlikely that small regional breweries that focus on their local communities have a chance of going well in this competition.
What does this mean for the Industry? Well given it’s an indication of the drinking habits of the nations craft beer drinkers, it is a good sign. Although I would like to think that it would move bars and pubs to a focus on craft beer, unfortunately the questionable and restrictive contracts that CUB and Lion offer publicans, I don’t see much of a change in the tap list at the Local, but it could mean that restaurants and cafes start to explore craft beers for an alternative on their menu.
Enough of the rant from me. It has been great to see the increase in independent breweries in the list and a big congratulations to all the breweries that made the list!