In recognition of the importance of Australian barley farmers, it was Carlton & United Breweries’ shout at a bar in Mallee Victoria to thank the farmers for their fundamental contribution to its beer.
Barley is one of Australia’s top crops. More than 2 million tonnes of malting barley is produced on average by Australian farmers each year for brewing in Australia and overseas.
CUB, part of Asahi Beverages, purchases more than 30K tonnes of barley annually from Victorian farmers with the support of agribusiness Riordan Grains.
The grain is used to brew hundreds of millions of litres of beer at its Abbotsford brewery, including VB, Carlton Draught, Great Northern and Melbourne Bitter.
In Australia, barley is second in crop size to wheat, covering almost 4 million hectares from central and southern Queensland, throughout north to south and mid-western NSW, northern and western Victoria, north to south-central Tasmania, south-east and south-central SA and south-western WA.
Around 40 farmers attended the night at the Royal Hotel, Sea Lake, where they shared a meal, beers brewed with their barley, and a chat with CUB CEO Danny Celoni and third-party experts on mental health, soil health and farm safety.
“We’re enormously grateful for the barley our farmers grow, but we know it is tough work,” said CUB Chief Executive Danny Celoni.
“So, we wanted to say ‘thank you’ by giving them a night off, shouting them a meal and some beers and ensuring they had a laugh with their fellow farmers while also equipping them with some mental and physical safety tips.
“Our beers are only as good as the local produce we use to make them. Barley malt is the heart and soul of beer and has a defining influence on the taste, colour, aroma and foam. We are so grateful for the support of passionate and hard-working generations of farmers who provide our crucial grains.
“CUB can trace its brewing history in Victoria back to 1854, and there are families in the Mallee who have been farming barley for generations. We share a proud history with the region.”
Two years ago, Asahi Beverages elevated the partnership with Victorian barley farmers. Under its new model, it has a direct relationship with growers, giving the brewer a clear view of the barley growing process for quality control.
The model also allows brewers to work directly with growers to select and perfect barley types while giving growers the confidence and financial security to invest in new technology and improve farming sustainability and efficiency.