Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beers brewed in Australia under licence

An interesting follow-on from one of my earlier posts on Lion Nathan. Reader "Angry" makes a very valid comment about Lion Nathan's efforts brewing Beck's under licence.

This aligns nicely with Gage and Robert's first beer tasting in their excellent The Beer Frontier series. Episode One sees the guys compare imported and local versions of Stella Artois. The local version is brewed by Fosters. The link to their clip is here: The Beer Frontier Episode 1 - Part 1 of 2.

I think we should pursue this topic for a while. There does seem to be a vein of concern in the discerning beer public. Maybe it's time to catalogue all brewed-under-licence beers, and conduct our own research...

And this isn't specifically a shot at Lion Nathan..... just a happy coincidence !

Angry kindly provided a link to the following, which I have managed to somehow embed in this post (much to my surprise):


  1. Michael,

    The other point to note here is are the local brews any better than some 'surprise imports'. For instance a nice-looking case of imported Heineken that I purchased a while back tasted somewhat odd.

    Further inspection revealed www.heineken.es as the website. Spanish Heineken!!!! Indeed a genuine import tho.

    Not been caught out on that one since.

  2. Yeah another bone of contention is the topic of "parallel importing". Combined with brewing under licence, we have greater uncertainty as to the "originality" of the beer.
    In the case of Stella, it's brewed in Melbourne.... which is a cost strategy to eliminate the need to import Stella from Belgium.

    However, a Stella importer in, say, Malaysia, gets the beer at a lot lower cost than an Australian importer, then on-ships it to Australia (after opening the box and adding those little white labels to comply with Aussie laws). Even with two legs of shipping, the "original" beer arrives in Australia at a competitive price; quality after so much shipping may be an issue, however. The Beer Frontier guys discuss this.

    Barney, your example is a third, and probably very insidious and risky scenario: a combination of both brewed-under-licence, and parallel importing.

    Thanks for the comment; another area to study in greater detail.

  3. I stumbled upon this blog and I am glad that others are noticing the poor Aussie brewed foreign beers.

    I can tell simply from smell what are the Aussie brewed Becks, Stella or Heineken (the beer brewed in the real country smells far more hoppy.) I bought a case of Heineken (brewed in Holland) for $40 and in the same shop local brewed (cats p1ss) was going for $55 - a disgrace!

    (Still the sheep will just pick it up because it is a brand and buy it...)

    Good luck with the blog! :)

  4. Picked up a carton of Kingfisher this arvo.....had I not turned the box upside down I would never have noticed the "brewed under licence".....why did I turn the box upside down?....because it did not taste like Kingfisher and I had to investigate.
    This whole brewed under licence is a rort and should be stopped....quality goes down price remains the same or goes up.


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