Food and beverage stories
Wild rivers inspire artisan brew
The wild rivers and pioneering spirit of Tasmania are the inspiration behind the first major beer launch in more than a decade at Australia’s oldest brewery site.
James Boag’s Wild Rivers is an artisan inspired beer, and the first significant new product to be made at the historic site in years.
Since the 1820s, a prime location on the banks of the Esk River in Launceston has been continuously occupied by a succession of brewers.
In 1881 James Boag – who had arrived in Tasmania from Scotland with his wife in 1853 – took control of the Esk Brewery, and moved in. His famous beer is still produced there.
Wild Rivers pays homage to this rich history.
“This is a really significant beer, and our first major new release for more than ten years,” Boag’s Head Brewer, Nathan Calman, explained.
“It is also a beer that is inspired by the pioneering spirit of James Boag, who was an adventurer who moved from one side of the world to another.
“It is important for us to respect the brand’s rich history and keep its integrity intact, while creating something new that everyone could enjoy.”
However, Wild Rivers is also a Taste of Tasmania, with marketing focused on place of origin and a commitment to quality.
“We are proud of the fact that anything with a Boag’s label is brewed in Launceston,” Calman adds.
“Tasmania is renowned for its quality fresh food and produce, and this is reflected in our beer which is made from pure water that flows down from the Ben Lomond catchment and fresh hops which are the best in the country.”
He also expects it to become one of their biggest sellers, second only to James Boag’s Premium Lager which was first released in 1994, and accounts for 50 per cent of total beer sales: that’s around 30 million litres every year.
“Wild Rivers is a modern take on Australian style premium lager, and we expect it to be hugely popular,” Calman says.
“It is a crisp, refreshing beer, that is slightly piney, and slightly hoppy in character. We also expect it to attract a different type of consumer, looking for a more contemporary style.
“A perfect beer for the warm summer months ahead. Team it with freshly shucked oysters, or it can be just as easily paired with a BBQ.”
This new beer is also a nod to the craft beer boom that is sweeping Tasmania – and in fact, the world.
Last year Boag’s Brewery made its first artisan inspired beers.
The brewery released a one-off limited-edition range of epicurean beers designed as the perfect accompaniment to fine dining – just like a wine.
Celebrity chef, Matt Moran, was enlisted to create a light ‘white’ and heavier ‘red’ beer.
Wild Rivers builds on that.
“James Boag Epicurean was a once-off limited release,” Calman explains.
“Wild Rivers is our first major attempt at producing an artisan style beer. The boutique beer segment is growing really quickly in Australia, and we are keen to tap into that.”
Since the 1800s beer has been close to Tasmanian hearts, and the state is dotted with some of the oldest pubs in the country.
It is now also dotted with increasing numbers of small artisan brewers, and a growing beer tourism sector which is built around the popular Beer Trail and the thirst for premium artisan brews.
Wild Rivers fits perfectly into that Tasmanian story.
Image courtesy of Adam Gibson Photographer
12 September 2018, Edition 198