Artisans of Australian Wine crowned Trade Drinks Event of the Year

Wine Australia’s Artisans of Australian Wine tasting has won Trade Drinks Event of the Year in the UK’s Drinks Business Awards 2017.

Unveiled every year at the London Wine Fair, The Drinks Business Awards recognise and reward top performers across the international drinks sector. The competition, now in its 15th year, covers all sectors of the drinks trade including retail, distribution, logistics and marketing.

Winners were announced at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 23 May at the Olympia exhibition centre in west London. Hosted by Patrick Schmitt MW, Editor-in-Chief at trade publication The Drinks Business, the event was attended by the sector’s most influential figures.

Wine Australia won the trophy ‘Trade Drinks Event of the Year’ for its Artisans of Australian Wine event, held in London in September 2016. It was the first UK trade tasting to focus solely on new-wave Australian craft winemakers, a different approach to normal trade tastings. A nightclub in London’s trendy Shoreditch and 23 artisan winemakers ensured that perceptions about Australian wine were challenged while diversity and difference were celebrated.

“Winning Trade Drinks Event of the Year for our Artisans tasting is an incredible achievement and very rewarding as it reflects our efforts in promoting Australian wine,” said Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia Head of Market EMEA.

“By creating a different and unexpected event, we demonstrated that Australia is a modern, relevant category for the trade, and a country that offers diverse and exciting craft wines. Big thanks to the Aussie winemakers that came over and helped make this event a success.”

One alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk

Drinking just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk, a new report by World Cancer Research Fund has revealed.

The report found strong evidence that drinking just the equivalent of a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer a day (about 10g alcohol content), could increase your pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and your post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 per cent.

World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented in the UK each year if nobody drank alcohol.

This robust scientific report evaluated all of the research worldwide on how diet, weight and exercise affect breast cancer risk. It also found that vigorous exercise that increases heart rate such as cycling, swimming or running can decrease the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer and both moderate exercise, such as walking, and vigorous exercise can decrease the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

In addition the report showed that being overweight or obese increases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. Being overweight or obese is also linked to several other cancers, including liver, pancreatic and bowel cancers.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK with over 55,000 new cases each year. It is responsible for more than half a million deaths worldwide each year.

The UK government recommends drinking no more than 14 units a week equivalent to seven drinks a week, spread across at least three days.

“To help prevent breast cancer, one of the most important steps women can take is to not drink alcohol or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink,” said Dr Rachel Thompson, Head of Research Interpretation at World Cancer Research Fund.

“Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are also important for preventing breast cancer.

“It may be the most common cancer in women worldwide, but our evidence shows that there are steps that women can take to significantly reduce their breast cancer risk.”

Vic Govt confirms support for Victorian Liquor Subsidy

Wine Victoria has welcomed confirmation from the Victorian Government that the Victorian Liquor Subsidy (VLS – also known as the Cellar Door rebate) will remain intact and unchanged.

Wine Victoria Chair, Damien Sheehan said Victoria was now the only state with this level of industry support and was just another demonstration of how the Government was supporting Victorian winemakers and making sure Victoria was the best place to do business.

“Wine Victoria took a proactive role in engaging with Members of Parliament (MPs) and responsible departments on this issue,” Sheehan said.

“We wanted to make sure MP’s clearly understood how the rebate was being invested and the significant knock-on economic impacts – particularly in regional areas,” he said.

When reviewing the VLS, Wine Victoria engaged expert assistance to examine the subsidy and evaluate how the rebate was being used.

They found that subsidy recipients generated $680 million in gross state product annually and supported almost 5,000 ongoing full-time equivalent jobs (direct and indirect).

“This ongoing investment into cellar doors is so important – the Victorian visitor experience is often focused on big natural icons, but for a strong economic impact to be realised, providing access to value-add experiences such as an exceptional cellar doors is key,” Sheehan said.

“With the continuation of this subsidy, the Victorian wine industry looks forward to working in partnership with the Government on their tourism objectives by delivering first class wine experiences.”

Independent beer makers give big brewers the boot

Australia’s small and independent brewers have voted overwhelmingly to removing large brewers from the membership of their trade body.

In addition, the body which until known has been called The Craft Beer Industry Association, has been renamed the Independent Brewers Association.

The body said in a statement that the move is intended to create a body that is better placed to address the challenges faced by small brewers in Australia.

Under new rules for what was the Craft Beer Industry Association, membership will be prohibited for brewers that are more than 20 per cent owned by large brewers or other businesses that hold significant brewery holdings in Australia or overseas.

Previously the association had allowed membership by companies such as Little Creatures, Malt Shovel and Mountain Goat, all of which are 100 per cent owned by global brewing concerns.

“This is a great day for our association and for small, independent breweries in Australia,” said Independent Brewers Association chair, Peta Fielding.

“Our industry is a shining light in Australian manufacturing.  There are now more than 400 small, independent brewing businesses, up from just 200 when the association began five years ago.  The industry directly employs more than 2100 people and generates an estimated $655 million in economic output.”

Not everybody involved in the industry welcomed the move.

Chuck Hahn, a master brewer at Lion which owns Little Creatures and Malt Shovel, told the SMH he finds big versus small debate curious.

“If we measure brewers by their scale, and they need investment to achieve that scale, what message are we sending them – if drinkers love your beer and you grow as a result, are you are no longer a legitimate brewer?,” he said. “We believe it is short-sighted for the craft sector to be squabbling among ourselves. We should be working together to build craft in Australia – feeding off one another’s success as we always have done – rather than confusing beer drinkers into thinking ownership structure has any impact on the quality of what they’re drinking.”

New wine distribution company for Australia

Société Jacques Bollinger (SJB), Henschke and Villa Maria have come together to create House of Fine Wine, an Australian distribution company that will offer nationwide supply of premium wines from a single, focused portfolio.

The new company was established after the sale of Fine Wine Partners to Accolade earlier this year. The three family-owned wineries – who all had seats on the advisory board of Fine Wine Partners – are bringing together a customer-focused model that will offer the Australian market premium wines from the three well- known wine brands.

Etienne Bizot, sixth generation of the family and great-nephew of Lily Bollinger, oversees the family’s estates as President and Chairman of Société Jacques Bollinger.

“Represented in the Australian marketplace now for over 100 years, our houses Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala and Cognac Delamain are delighted to continue their close working relationship of a quarter of a century with the Henschke family and more recently Villa Maria’s Fistonich family in the House of Fine Wine,” Bizot said.

The new producer and customer-focused distribution model is unique in that it will allow the three wineries to build their brands through a tightly configured portfolio that places quality at the core of the business. In addition, they’ll dedicate a large percentage of their efforts to the fine wine retail and on-premise side of the business.

The new company will officially launch on 1 June 2017 and will build upon the existing infrastructure developed by Villa Maria with a dedicated sales and marketing team, customer services, supply chain and operational support.

Dare Cold Pressed coffee

Dare, owned and manufactured in Australia by Lion Dairy & Drinks, has released its latest creation, Dare Cold Pressed.

With a new recipe and new look, Dare Cold Pressed is available in two strengths, latte and strong latte.

The drink is crafted using three natural ingredients: fresh milk from Australian dairy farmers, quality Arabica cold-brewed coffee and a dash of raw sugar. It brings crafted cold brewed coffee to the masses through convenience and grocery stores.

Darryn Wallace, LDD’s Marketing & Innovation Director said Dare Cold Pressed has been developed in response to consumers’ evolving tastes and love of coffee. He said their appreciation of unique blends and higher-quality coffees had intensified, resulting in greater demand for premium-quality coffee.

The cold brew coffee in each Dare Cold Pressed coffee takes hours to make. Darryn adds, “taking the time to infuse the beans in cold water gives the coffee a smoother, richer taste. Ultimately, the technique delivers a superior form of coffee extraction; it really delivers on a fancier fix.”

To mark the launch of the new iced coffee range, a series of Dare Cold Pressed “cafes” will be popping up in key metro locations from 1 May.

Adelaide brews up huge craft beer week

Adelaide will be at the centre of the craft beer galaxy in July when the South Australian capital hosts five major brewing events in the same week.

The events kick off on Tuesday, July 25, with brewery tours and a three-day trade expo at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The two-day Australian Craft Brewers Conference, also at the convention centre, begins on Wednesday the 26th and culminates with the Craft Beer Awards at Adelaide Oval in the evening of Thursday the 27th.

The Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards
presentation will begin the three-day Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival on Friday July 28.

In its third year, the Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival will run from July 28-30 at the Adelaide Showground and includes the largest and most diverse lineup of brewers and cider makers ever assembled in South Australia.

More than 60 beer and cider brands will headline the main beer hall and the ‘ABBF IPA Soundsystem’ will have 20 rotating IPA taps pouring beers that have never been seen on tap in South Australia, some never in the country.

The BBQ side of the festival will be headlined by larger than life Canadian Chef Matty Matheson, while Regurgitator, Hockey Dad and Ali Barter will pump out the tunes across the three days.

Event director Gareth Evans said having the festival in the same week as the national craft beer conference and awards in Adelaide was a great chance to boost the event’s profile.

“This year ABBF has a huge opportunity to show its wares as a festival and
the brewing industry in SA as a whole, on a national scale,” he said.

“We have really amped up the event and can’t wait to show it off in July.”

More than 400 brewers from around Australia are expected to attend the Australian Craft Brewing Conference. It is the first time the event will be held in Adelaide and will feature renowned brewer, academic, teacher and author Charles Bamforth as its keynote speaker.

Known as the “Pope of Foam”, Dr Bamforth is a statesman of the international brewing industry after a distinguished career as an academic.

Dr Bamforth is also editor in chief of the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, is on the editorial boards of several other journals and has published innumerable papers, articles and books on beer and brewing.

His recent scientific contributions have included the third of a six-part series on beer quality titled Freshness.

The conference program has two streams: the business of beer; and brewery operations. The trade expo sits alongside the conference and is the only one of its kind dedicated to servicing the Australian beer industry.

South Australia has a flourishing craft beer scene of more than 40 brewers and is home to Pirate Life, Prancing Pony and arguably Australia’s first craft brewery, Coopers.

It prides itself as being the “flavour state”, is the main supplier of barley and is a rich source of artisan produce.

Craft brewers from those in the start-up stage to more established national set-ups will be catered for at the CBIA conference. Different business models will be examined and there will be a big focus on ways to maintain quality through growth.  The trade expo continues to grow in reputation and this year will be the largest yet with more than 50 exhibitors representing the entire brewing supply chain.

The Craft Beer Awards will be presided over by 40 of Australia’s best judges who will sample more than 600 of the nation’s finest brews.

Aussie spirit grabs silver at global awards

Vantage Australia has just been awarded the silver medal in this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC).

More than 2,100 spirits were judged this year, the largest number of entries in the competition’s 17-year history with the botanical Vantage Australia taking home the silver medal in this year’s awards.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 silver medal demonstrates that Vantage Australia is among the finest in the spirits industry, awarded for its ability to show refinement and finesse.

Vantage Australia was recognised for its multi-layered complexity, the smooth yet peppery mixture is made up of Australian botanicals, lemon myrtle, Tasmanian mountain pepper berries with a hint of mandarin oil from Australian produced imperial mandarins.

Complimented with zesty citrus notes, this unique premium Australian tipple has the ability to cut across traditional spirit genres, making it the perfect base for most mixers while also giving life to old classics, with an Australian twist.

Riding on its 2016 success, where Vantage Australia won Best Innovation-Best in Class 2016 from the Australian Drinks Awards, the Aussie spirit was also recognised for strong performance across key measures, including purchase intention, excitement, and relevance.

Vantage Australia was honoured with this prize for having the highest level of uniqueness, reflected through its inspiration of Australian native flora.

The complex flavour comes from only using natural bush foods to create a blend that blurs the lines between sweet and dry, giving this multi-layered spirit the uniqueness that it has been nationally and now internationally, recognised for.

“We are honoured by the international award Vantage Australia has received from the highly competitive San Francisco World Spirits Competition and now having been involved with this year’s TV Week Logie Awards, we appreciate the overwhelming domestic and international support our Australian owned and produced spirit has received,” said Bill Hargitay, Vantage Australia Owner.

It’s full steam ahead for Woolies

FMCG giant Woolworths has posted its strongest sales growth in seven years- with sales rising 4.5 per cent in the March quarter, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

This figure was well above market forecasts between 3.2 per cent and 3.6 per cent and compared is the strongest quarter for Woolworths supermarkets since the first quarter 2010.

According to Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci, “We are pleased with the continued improvement in Australian food sales in the third quarter, particularly the more stable and predictable nature of our daily and weekly sales,” he said.

Banducci also said that he wanted to build on this figure well into the next financial year.

“We are focused on making sure we continue our progress in rebuilding sustainable sales momentum for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018,” he told the AFR.

Jobs, factories and profits all go as MG battens down the hatches

In a sign of the impact the falling milk price is having on the food sector, food company Murray Goulburn (MG) said it will be closing down factories and reducing its farmgate milk price in a bid to address its “cost base, improve efficiencies and ultimately increase earnings.”

This will include closure of MG’s manufacturing facilities at Edith Creek, Rochester and Kiewa, forgiveness of the Milk Supply Support Package (MSSP), total write-downs of up to $410 million, and a dividend suspension.

The factory closures, the company said, are expected to impact some 360 employees while at the same time delivering a net financial benefit of $40 million to $50 million per annum. Overall, MG said that it anticipates a net financial benefit in FY18 from the closures of approximately $15 million.

However, the dairy company said that it needed to spend $60 million of capital expenditure to enable the closures, which will be largely funded by maintenance capital expenditure no longer required at the sites.

MG also announced that it will write off farmers loans incurred in the MSSP, with all future repayments of the MSSP which were to recommence from July 2017 ceasing, meaning the company will write-down $148 million.

Due to weaker trading conditions, the FY17 forecast available FMP of $4.70 per kilogram milk solids is expected to be fall to $4.60 per kilogram milk solids.

The company said that it remained “committed to paying a FY17 average FMP of $4.95 per kilogram milk solids.”

In order to protect against any potential further losses this financial year, MG has provided access of up to $30 million of additional debt funded milk payments, so as to maintain the forecast FMP of $4.95 per kilogram milk solids up until the end of this financial year, the company said.

Barley genome sequencing good news for beer, whiskey makers

A group of 77 scientists worldwide has sequenced the complete genome of barley, a key ingredient in beer and single malt Scotch. The research, 10 years in the making, has been published in the journal Nature.

“This takes the level of completeness of the barley genome up a huge notch,” said Timothy Close, a professor of genetics at UC Riverside. “It makes it much easier for researchers working with barley to be focused on attainable objectives, ranging from new variety development through breeding to mechanistic studies of genes.”

The research will also aid scientists working with other “cereal crops,” including rice, wheat, rye, maize, millet, sorghum, oats and even turfgrass, which like the other food crops, is in the grass family, Close said.

Barley has been used for more than 10,000 years as a staple food and for fermented beverages, and as animal feed.

It is found in breakfast cereals and all-purpose flour and helps bread rise. Malted barley gives beer color, body, protein to form a good head, and the natural sugars needed for fermentation. And single malt Scotch is made from only water and malted barley.

The report in Nature provides new insights into gene families that are key to the malting process. The barley genome sequence also enabled the identification of regions of the genome that have been vulnerable to genetic bottlenecking during domestication, knowledge that helps to guide breeders to optimize genetic diversity in their crop improvement efforts.

Ten years ago, the International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium, which is led by Nils Stein of the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research in Germany, set out to assemble a complete reference sequence of the barley genome.

This was a daunting task, as the barley genome is almost twice the size of the human genome and 80 percent of it is composed of highly repetitive sequences, which cannot be assigned accurately to specific positions in the genome without considerable extra effort.

Multiple novel strategies were used in this paper to circumvent this fundamental limitation. Major advances in sequencing technology, algorithmic design and computing made it possible. Still, this work kept teams around the world – in Germany, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United State – occupied for a decade. This work provides knowledge of more than 39,000 barley genes.

Alcoholic beverages have been made from malted barley since the Stone Age, and some even consider this to be a major reason why humankind adopted plant cultivation, at least in the Fertile Crescent, where barley was domesticated.

During malting, amylase proteins are produced by germinated seeds to decompose energy-rich starch that is stored in dry grains, yielding simple sugars. These sugars then are available for fermentation by yeast to produce alcohol. The genome sequence revealed much more variability than was expected in the genes that encode the amylase enzymes.

Barley is grown throughout the world, with Russia, Germany, France, Canada, and Spain being among the top producers. In the United States, barley is mainly grown in the northwest. Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota are the leading producers.

The Nature paper is called “A chromosome conformation capture ordered sequence of the barley genome.”

Photo credit: Close Lab, UC Riverside.

WA alcohol reduction ad ranked best in the world [VIDEO]

A graphic advertisement showing how alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of cancerous cell mutations is the most effective alcohol education advertisement in the world, according to a new study.

The study, published in British Medical Journal Open, tested 83 alcohol education advertisements from around the world and found that Western Australian advertisement ‘Spread’ (by The Brand Agency) was most likely to motivate drinkers to reduce their alcohol consumption.

The advertisement demonstrates that alcohol is carcinogenic, which Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said is still widely unknown in the community.

“Our 2015 survey of Victorian men and women found that nearly half of the respondents either believed that alcohol made no difference or were not sure if it had any effect on a person’s risk of cancer,” Harper said.

“It’s worrying because alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen – the highest classification available. It means that there is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at some body sites in humans.

Harper said that every drink increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, bowel, liver and female breast.

“More than 3200 cases of cancer each year in Australia could be prevented if people limited their alcohol consumption,” he said.

“We recommend that those who choose to drink alcohol consume no more than two standard drinks on any day.”

Harper said the research highlights how mass media campaigns can be used to help the public understand more about the consequences of long-term alcohol consumption.

“We’ve seen how effective campaigns around drink driving and short term harms such as injury or violence have been in terms of changing our drinking habits, but in Victoria and the majority of the rest of Australia, we rarely see the long-term health effects of alcohol portrayed on our screens,” he said.

Cancer Council Victoria is hoping to use the top advertisement in a campaign later in 2017.

James Boag introduces Epicurean beer range

James Boag has introduced James Boag Epicurean, a limited edition and Australian-first beer offering, crafted for premium dining.

The premium range features two varieties, James Boag Epicurean RED and James Boag Epicurean WHITE.

Inspired by Tasmania’s epicurean culture, the bespoke beer range is co-created by chef and owner of Aria Matt Moran, sommelier Matt Dunne and Boag’s head innovation brewer Simon Hanley.

Intended to accompany red meat dishes, such as wood oven roasted standing ribs or a shoulder of lamb with caramelised onion, Epicurean RED is full flavoured, and amber in colour. The specialty malts selected give a rounded, fuller mouth feel.

In contrast, the floral and fruity aroma and notes of the WHITE are intended for lighter dishes, evoking images of charcoal-barbecued fresh seafood such as Moreton Bay bug, lobster or Tasmanian trout.

“Working with experts in the Australian food sphere, such as Matt Moran and Matt Dunne, allowed us to bring the unique characteristics and finest quality Tasmanian ingredients together in a way that’s not been explored until now,” said Hanley.

“Wine has been lucky to be the natural drink of choice when it comes to fine dining. With the James Boag Epicurean range designed specifically to complement the fine dining experience we’re excited to now see how Epicurean evolves the gastronomical experience for the modern man.”

James Boag Epicurean is launching for a limited three-month availability in a selection of hatted restaurants across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Tasmania.


‘Clear Coffee’ that won’t stain your teeth

Brothers Adam and David Nagy have released ‘Clear Coffee’, a cold beverage that can be drunk from a bottle or used in cocktails, in their native Slovakia as well as the UK.

As The Evening Standard reports, one of the drink’s main selling points is that it won’t stain your teeth. It contains freshly roasted Arabica beans and water, but no preservatives, artificial flavours, stabilizers, sugar or other sweeteners.

The brothers came up with the idea while living in London.

“We are heavy coffee drinkers. Like many other people we struggled with the teeth stains caused by it. There was nothing on the market that would suit our needs so we decided to create our own recipe,” said David Nagy.

“Because of the hectic lifestyle we lead we wanted to make a refreshing ready-to-drink coffee which provides the boost but is low in calories.

“The production method is based on physical processing and doesn’t include any chemicals.”

Diageo rolls out new alcohol labelling

Global alcohol producer Diageo has begun rolling out new labelling intended to make it clear how much alcohol consumers are having in each drink.

The labelling introduces clearer ‘icon-led’ on-pack information panels including alcohol content and nutritional information per typical serve.

According to research released by the company, consumers want more information about what’s in their drink and want it presented in a clearer way.

The study found that, of over 1,000 Australians aged 18 and over, nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of consumers believe that it is important to have clear information about the number of standard drinks, calorie content and alcohol strength of their beverages.

Research insights also show that women (52 per cent) are significantly more likely to rate clearer labelling very important, than men (38 per cent).

“As part of our commitment to responsible drinking, we’re always looking for ways to help consumers make the most informed decisions around drinking, or choosing not to drink. This initiative helps consumers have clearer information about what’s in their glass, and in a way that they can easily understand it at a glance,” said Diageo spokesperson Kylie McPherson.

Updated labelling - Bundaberg Rum

Research insights also highlight information gaps in existing alcohol labelling – given calories aren’t currently detailed on most labels. Over half (57 per cent) of Australians find it difficult to work out the calorie content within a serve of alcohol, and 87 per cent of people have no understanding of the calorie content in their favourite drink.

Additionally, only one in five (18 per cent) consumers claimed they found it very easy to know how many standard drinks there are per serve of alcohol.

Bundaberg Rum Original is the first brand to receive the updated information panels and will be followed by a roll out across the wider Diageo portfolio.

Linerless self-adhesive labelling system featured at foodpro

Le Mac are suppliers of the linerless labelling system that is self-adhesive for trays of meats, ready meals, salads etc.

Linerless labels are an environmentally-friendly innovation: they do not use backing liner like traditional labels, which cannot be recycled and does not decompose in landfill.

The system itself is fully automatic and delivers significant efficiency gains over traditional pressure sensitive labelling machines or hand-application of carton sleeves.

It works with heavy gauge cardboard, film or paper labels in 8 formats (top, top & side, top & 2 sides, Full-wrap, C-Wrap, D-Wrap, Skin Packs and Slide Sleeve). It is suitable for stretch wrap trays, top seal trays and vacuum skin packs (with protrusions). To top it, all this can be run on the same machine without change parts.

The La Mac linerless systems are used by a number of major Australian food manufacturers, and they are currently also used on a range of Woolworths and Coles products.

The Le Mac Australia Group will be showcasing the linerless labelling system along with other products at Stand K61 on Level 4 at foodpro,  16-19 JUL 2017 @ the ICC SYDNEY, DARLING HARBOUR.

Fonterra introduces instantly traceable baby formula info

According to a story in, Fonterra has introduced new traceability technology allowing shoppers to instantly check the authenticity of infant formula products while they are still on the shelfs.

The Quick Read (QR) codes have been initially put on the co-operative’s infant formula brand Anmum in New Zealand stores, said the story.

Each baby formula can has a unique QR code when scanned connects the buyer to a webpage with information and a batch number verifying that it is authentic.

Consumers can also scan cans at any stage after they have bought it to get up to date information about the product.

By the end of this year, Fonterra says it will have 90 per cent of its global plants with traceability data electronically connected, with the remaining 10 per cent to be completed by 2019.

Bob Hawke launches his own beer

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who famously once held the world record for downing a yard glass, has unveiled a beer bearing his own name.

Hawke’s Lager made its debut yesterday at the Clock Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills and the 87 year-old Labor Party stalwart had the honour of pouring the first beer.

“How’s that for a pour?” Hawke said as he did the honours. “A lovely beer.”

As Good Food points out, the beer was the brainchild of Nathan Lennon and David Gibson who came up with the idea during their time working in a New York Advertising agency.

According to Lennon, it all happened on Australia Day. “It was minus 5 degrees outside. We were getting homesick and we realised all our friends were back home having nice cold beer in the sun. So we started talking about who we’d most like to have a beer with and we landed on Bob Hawke,” he said.

Hawke agreed to the project on the provision that his share of the profits be donated to Landcare, Australia’s largest environmentally-focused movement.

The brew itself contains 4.5% ABV and is brewed with all-Australian ingredients. According to the brewer’s website, it has a subtle citrus aroma, light bitterness and a gentle dry finish.

Right now, it can be purchased from 11 pubs across Sydney and Newcastle. However, it will be rolling out to the rest of Australia throughout 2017.

Gin from Adelaide named world’s best

The Adelaide Hills Distillery’s 78 Degrees Gin was awarded the Best International Gin at the American Distilling Institute Awards held last night in Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A.

Apart from this award, judges also awarded the gin a double gold medal.

The awards add to others won by Adelaide Hills Distillery, which took out gold in last year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Artisans in a growing craft spirit industry, the company is planning to open a new distillery later this year as part of the Premium Adelaide Hills Beverage Experience.

“We started out making 78 Degrees Gin and have moved on to creating some other amazing small batch spirits like our Gunnery Australian Spiced White Rum and The Italian, a Campari style spirit, as well as some really unique trial batches and collaborations – but it’s fantastic to see that our original 78 Degrees Gin is now considered to be one of the best in the world” said Sacha La Forgia, Head Distiller and Founder.

“I don’t really like to pick favourites, but this one’s a no brainer really. We use a really unique blend of botanicals and individually vapour infuse each of them. We are just thankful that the judges saw how good the gin coming out of South Australia and the Adelaide Hills really is.

“The future is exciting for us and we have embarked on an intensive Australian Native Botanical Program as well.”

WA food stocks hit after roads damaged by flooding

Agriculture and food minister Alannah MacTiernan has called for road repairs in Western Australia after the region was hit by flooding.

She has identified roads in Ravensthorpe, 540km south-east of Perth, as a priority after the collapse of the South Coast Highway has caused stock losses and damage to fences and top soil.

According to a report in The West Australian, MacTiernan said farmers had lost between 5 and 7 per cent of their arable land after the floods.

“It was important to see that damage that had occurred,” she said. “It’s pretty severe.”

Funding is expected to be reimbursed to primary producers which has up to $25,000 after the council collates more data of the damage caused. 

“The Shire wants early sign-off on the ability to use day labour,” MacTiernan continue.

“It was made very clear that the Shire needs to get moving on the roads. We understand time is of the essence, we certainly don’t want to prevent planting season.

“Until those roads are repaired, we can’t get the gear in.”