Australians love their beer. No surprises there! What they love more and more are craft beers. Packed full of taste and as far removed from the cold lagers Aussies have enjoyed for much of our history as you can imagine. One organisation that is trying to help even more Australians enjoy a high quality brew is the Victorian Association of Microbreweries Inc (VAMI). Victorian microbreweries are passionate about craft brewing and also sharing that passion with the many thousands of consumers… eager to know more and more about the beer they’re enjoying.
According to their website, “With over 32 microbreweries currently operating, and many new ones in the beer lines, Victoria is at the forefront of craft beer production in Australia. With an ever expanding base of beer lovers that are driving demand, the quality and range of craft beer is rapidly expanding and challenging people to try something different. This interest in craft beer is not only making it possible for so many microbreweries to get started but also for the many specialist bars and retailers to get behind microbrewed beer, creating a vibrant industry.”
What is unique about the microbrewing industry in Victoria (and other states) is that they openly welcome the public into their businesses. Brewing craft beer is an art form as much as it is about science, and they want to share it with you. There’s nothing better than driving out to the hills on a sunny Sunday and experiencing a new brew or a forgotten style while enjoying the fine food that is often on offer at these premises. The microbrewery industry is also a small industry so it’s important the people that make up the industry work together to achieve much needed change in government policy towards microbrewers.
The Mountain Goat Brewery in Victoria's innercity suburb of Abbotsford is a member of VAMI and open to the public.
The main focus of the Victorian Association of Microbreweries Inc for many years has been pushing for excise reform. “We have twice commissioned economic modelling by an analyst and organised numerous lobbying missions to Parliament House in Canberra. It’s going to be a long slog but we remain adamant that change needs to happen so that the Australian microbrewing movement can get out of survival mode and start to grow sustainably and create more enjoyment and regional tourism attractions along the way.”
The excise tax is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the industry today, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Basically, what it boils down to is that microbrewers have to pay 25% of their sales income straight to the Australian Taxation Office in the form of excise. This is on top of the usual taxes most small business pay and the excise is paid whether they are turning a profit or not! VAMI is actively lobbying the Federal government to afford microbrewers the same excise conditions enjoyed by the wine industry.
So while the microbrewing industry is a vibrant and passionate industry to be involved in, it’s also a challenging one full of costs and hard work. That so many brewers are so passionate about making quality beer despite the hardships speaks wonders of their endeavour. And ultimately its all for you (and me) the consumer. They brew the beer they think we should be drinking. And they’re doing a mighty fine job I say.
For more information about the Victorian Association of Microbreweries Inc visit their website.
For more information about microbreweries and where you can find them visit our microbrewery finder.
Remember to enjoy your beer responsibly too.