Nathan Pieters is our Beer Baron over at Ocean Reef and a real craft beer enthusiast. We caught up with Nathan to ask him about what he thinks 2018 has in-store for Aussie craft beer. He told us the extremely hot demand for limited batch releases and in particular, those from the east coast will continue to intensify through 2018 as more and more people are being switched on to these epic beers that never last.
Nathan said WA often struggled to satisfy demand with many breweries over east already having to factor in the cost of production and cold transportation across the Nullabor to supply high-quality fresh beer.
"It's more common than not, sometimes less than a pallet of the hot ticket limited batch beers ever make it over to the west coast," he told LBHQ.
Joel Beresford has been in the craft beer industry for over 15 years and is the owner of The Dutch Trading Co. Joel also operates Shogun Empire as a beer distribution company and supplies Nathan's store in Ocean Reef with a number of small-batch releases from east coast breweries including Modus Operandi Brewing.
He explained many of the Eastern states breweries are taking notice of the rapidly increasing demand in our state for limited and small-batch releases and told us they would be allocating more of their future stocks for the WA market.
"(Modus) are seeing a much increased demand for these limited release beer outside of their local market and try to their best ability to share a fairer portion to markets such as WA," said Joel.
"In saying this, limited releases are simply that – brews that are small batches for several reasons - cost of material (usually more hops & malt & adjunct ingredients – vanilla beans a great example- super expensive!), less efficiency due to beer style (reduces quantity) and test batch sizes."
Joel also pointed out that special releases tend to reward stores and venues that have supported the brewery with purchases and SKU range. So some venues could miss out if this mentality applies.
Nathan explained it was a lot more difficult to hang onto enough stock from over east to keep all his loyal craft beer customers happy. Like many local liquor stores stocking limited batch release beers, he has been forced to impose a limit of often 1 or 2 beers per person depending on its demand and availability to ensure everyone gets to try a particular beer.
"We recently had the Balter Double IPA from QLD in that literally sold out in a single hour and there was a two can limit per person," he said.
"It really blows my mind how quickly these releases sell out in store."
Nathan also noticed the popular local limited batch releases do just as well despite there being typically larger stocks. He said he was amazed at the speed at which Feral Brewing Co's recent NEIPA - Biggie Juice and Cheeky Monkey's Imperial Monk Red IPA disappeared off the shelves.
"The quality of beers coming out of the WA craft breweries are outstanding and popularity is increasing rapidly, right now the trend is sour beers and NEIPA'S (New England India Pale Ale).”
The owner of Ocean Reef Liquor Barons lastly touched upon our nation's intensifying love for the aluminium tinnie over bottles and how he believed this trend will continue into 2018.
"Cans typically limit light & oxygen exposure which keeps beer fresher for longer, which also increases shelf life. Also the artwork on these craft cans are very cool, this adds to the appeal and hype of limited releases. We are certainly making imported craft brewers take notice.”
You can pop in to Say ‘Hi’ to Nathan in Ocean Reef if you’re passing by to have a chat about the future of Aussie craft beer and take a look at his glorious array of craft fridges. There’s no one better to chat to about past and future limited batch releases and how they’re being received!