3 November, 2014
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
Carlton & United Breweries, a subsidiary of Foster’s Group in Melbourne, have today confirmed that the winner of last month’s Sydney Craft Beer Festival was, in fact, one of Australia’s oldest and highest-selling beers, Victoria Bitter.
The undercover infiltration of the festival took out number one place by an undeniable margin, which in turn, embarrassed the entire craft beer community of Australia.
Rebranded under the trendy guise of Vaucluse Bitter, the judges and punters could not stop talking about this “amazing beer from a tiny microbrewery in Sydney’s east”. However, those present at the Festival in Surry Hills were completely unaware that they had all been made for fools in a bold marketing ploy by one of Australia’s biggest brewers.
After sending in two undercover sales reps to offer tastings in a quiet corner of the Giant Dwarf Theatre in Surry Hills, VB presented itself as a family recipe created by ‘two brothers from Byron Bay’.
The revelations have enraged all that were present on the day, with both the competitors embarrassed to lose to a mass-produced ‘corporate beer’ – and many venue-owners left red-faced after having stocked their venues with ‘Vaucluse Bitter’ taps.
Victoria Bitter (more commonly known as simply VB) is Australia’s only billion dollar retail beer brand, selling the equivalent of one slab every second. At one time VB sold twice as much as any other full strength beer and was the only Australian beer brand that is in the top 3 sellers in every state. Victoria Bitter held the highest market share of all beer sold in Australia for more than two decades.
It is these kinds of mass-produced products that many micro-brewers feel are a dying breed when it comes to Australian beer. VB have proven that this is not entirely true.
The espionage was a simple yet clever intrusion into the contrived community of capitalist hipsters, with the VB logo slightly altered to look less establishing, using a cartoon-style version of the original branding.
The red and green colours were swapped and ‘Victoria’ was replaced with ‘Vaucluse’ – presenting the beer as the product of basement microbrewery from Sydney’s East, created by ‘two brothers from Byron’.
Inner-west craft beer enthusiast and former microbrewer, Banjo Clementé, was one of five judges on the day. He has since spoken out about the embarrassment.
“It is just so typical of these big corporations. They couldn’t cop the idea that our microbreweries might begin to compete with them on the main stage… They had to come in and cut us down to size,”
“Looking back, I was mainly impressed by Vaucluse Bitter as a rags to riches story, it wasn’t necessarily about the taste… turns out they weren’t as cool as I thought.”
Clementé has explained that the ‘suits’ from Cartlon & United went the whole nine yards to fool Sydney’s hipsters by wearing plain T-shirts from Rivers and torn jeans.
“They even grew their beards out to look the part. It’s disgusting see the lengths these corporate pigs go to keep us down,”
“They won by fluke, we are interested in a recall.”
A spokesperson from SAB Miller, the parent company to Carlton & United, was very keen to give comment this morning
“It just goes to show how much of a joke this microbrewery ‘culture’ is. Everyone knows there is only one way to tackle a hard earned thirst,”
“We won this round, and we will win again. This craft beer bullshit is just a phase. Long live the green demons.”
If you are interested in some Vaucluse Bitter-themed merchandise. Visit their online shop here!
The other prizewinners from the night included
AIBA Champion Pale Ale
Norman, Yulli’s Brews (Sydney, NSW)
Labelmakers Champion Amber/Dark Ale
Former Tenant, Modus Operandi Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)
Champion Porter and Stout
Black Lung IV, Moon Dog Brewing (Melbourne, Vic)
Champion Speciality Beer
Taco, Two Birds Brewing (Melbourne, Vic)
Beer and Brewer Champion IPA
Zoo Feeder, Modus Operandi Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW)
Champion French and Belgian style
Saison, La Sirène (Melbourne, Vic)
Hopco Champion Small Brewery (up to 49,999 litres/per annum)
Yulli’s Brews (Sydney, NSW)
Cryer Malt Champion Medium Brewery (50,000 to 299,999 litres/per annum)
Nail Brewing (Perth, WA)
Bintani Champion Large Brewery (300,000 to 40m litres/per annum)
Joint winners: 4 Pines Brewing Company (Sydney, NSW) and Two Birds Brewing (Melbourne, Vic)
CBIA Services to Australian Craft Beer