Fosters - It's Australian for beer, mate! Or is it?
One fine day in 1887, two yanks of Irish extraction William M. Foster and his brother Ralph R. Foster stepped off a boat in Melbourne. They had sailed from New York, USA with the dream of starting a successful brewery on the other side of the world. They set up the Fosters Brewing Company on Rokeby Street in Collingwood. The first Fosters was brewed in 1888.
The Fosters brought something relatively new to Australia - a local lager. No trace of what the Fosters brothers subsequently did in the USA has been found. No doubt these Americans did not realise that one day their name would be promoted as "Australian for Beer".
At turn of the century, Foster's was still a relatively small operation but it was already starting to take the first steps in its future direction. It was sending beer to all Australian states and exporting to Samoa and South Africa. In 1908, not long after its amalgamation into CUB, the Foster's brewery at Rokeby Street was closed and the Foster's name was almost lost. CUB only continued to brew Foster's because of orders from Queensland and Western Australia.
The Foster's yeast in use today was brought to Carlton in 1923 from Professor Jorgensen in Denmark.
In 1971 Foster's was introduced to England through Barry Humphries' highly successful ocker film called The Adventures of Barry McKenzie. Bazza almost spent the entire film with a Foster's in his hand. The eyes of the English were opened to this wonderful antipodean brew. Foster's came to the USA in 1972. It success there is linked with its with sponsorship of sporting events. Foster's sponsored the 1972 America's Cup challenge and tennis champions such as the great John Newcombe. John once said that he drank five 26 oz. cans after each tennis match! The novelty value of the large 26 oz. cans, known as Oil Cans, also greatly contributed to Foster's initial popularity.
It was not until 1977 that Foster's Lager became Australia's leading brand.
In 1981 some Foster's yeast was flown to England and Foster's Draught began to be brewed over there. Foster's Draught was a modified version of Foster's Lager, modified to make it more appealing to the English palate. Sales grew exponentially. Locally canned Foster's Lager was first sold in England in 1984.
Foster's phenomenal growth had been aided by the fair dinkum Paul Hogan (who later went on to make it big as Crocodile Dundee). By the time of his first appearance for Foster's he had already moved on from his job as a rigger on the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and was a popular comedian. His first Foster's commercial went like this:
"G'Day. They've asked me over from Oz to introduce youse all to Foster's Draught, here it is. Cripes! I'd better start with the basics. It's a light, golden liquid, like, except for the white bit on top, the head, and it's brewed from malt, yeast and hops. Technical term is Lager. That's L-A-G-E-R. But everyone calls it Foster's. Ahhhh, ripper! Tastes like an angel cryin' on yer tongue. Foster's."
And so the paths of two Aussie legends crossed.
Foster's connection with sport also continued. It was the official Olympic beer for Australia at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. More importantly, on 1 April 1985 it was announced that the Melbourne Cup would henceforth be known as the Foster's Melbourne Cup. The running of the race is celebrated all around Australia. The Cup is "the race that stops a nation" and is a public holiday in Victoria. Mark Twain was amazed at its almost religious significance. Foster's was the official beer of the Adelaide Grand Prix, now the Melbourne Grand Prix, and the Aussie Rules grand final. It was also emblazoned on Kookaburra III's spinnaker after its unsuccessful 1987 defence of the America's Cup. In addition Foster's sponsors cycling, tennis and golf.
In 1986 CUB began brewing Foster's in Canada in partnership with Carling O'Keefe Ltd. Paul Hogan was flown in to promote it and again was hugely successful.
Today Foster's is brewed in 8 countries, namely, Australia, Canada, China, England, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden. It is sold in over 135 countries.
Foster's is the leading foreign beer in many markets. It's one of a handful of truly global beer brands. A real true blue Australian that's made it good!
http://www.realbeer.com.au/alefiles/bee ... 8_2445.php
Search for the Great Aussie Beer
Author: Willie Simpson
And in the category of Great Australian Beer, the winner is ........... Hang on a minute, there! Before we start dishing the silverware we better decide on some parameters for the award and whether there is, indeed, a worthy winner.
A truly Great Aussie Beer must be something of a national icon which we can hold up alongside the likes of Vegemite, Aeroplane Jelly and lamingtons. Is there a single beer out there which has become engrained on the Australian psyche or best reflects our national character? Is there a beer equivalent of Grange Hermitage (rare, expensive and excellent) or even Jacob's Creek, the international flagship for our wine industry?
Foster's Lager probably comes closest to the Jacob's Creek image in our export markets but a match for Grange isn't so immediately apparent. I recall Cooper's Extra Stout once being touted as the "Grange Hermitage of beer" but this had more to do with its dark, robust palate than its rarity or expense.
This is not intended as a search for our best beer based on flavour or style considerations; rather it's an investigation of whether any beer brand has achieved "iconic status" and can truly be labelled: The Great Aussie Beer. The nominees are my own personal choice, based on two decades of practical and theoretical research.
And the nominees are ... Foster's Lager, VB, Cooper's Sparkling Ale, Redback and one or two surprises.
Bazza MacKenzie and his mates knocking back cold tubes of Foster's in The Adventures of Barry MacKenzie undoubtedly helped introduce the brand to a wider audience. In truth, Foster's Lager endeared itself to hordes of ex-pat Aussies in London from the 1950s onwards as a nostalgic taste of home. But do we really want this awards ceremony to be associated with the behaviour of Bazza and his chundering mates?
Besides which, the original Foster brothers who started the brand in Melbourne in 1889 weren't even Aussies, they were Yanks. William and Ralph Foster were opportunists who arrived from New York with a German American brewer, a refrigeration engineer and the latest lager brewing equipment, including an ice-making machine. Remember, this was the dawn of refrigeration and the Foster's brothers had neatly anticipated the beer style that, by and large, was going to slake Australia's thirst in the twentieth century: ice cold lager.
Once launched, bottled Foster's Lager took the Melbourne pub trade by storm, especially when the Foster boys chucked in a free slab of ice with every order. So successful were the Fosters that within 18 months they had been bought out by Carlton & United Breweries and thereafter disappeared from the pages of Australian brewing history. Speculation is that they returned to their native United States of America with their pockets full of money.
This century, Foster's Lager became CUB's national and international brand mainly because its name was less parochial than Victoria Bitter or Melbourne Bitter. Remember that until the mid-1980s state beer brand loyalty ruled the roost. They drank Fourex in Queensland, Tooheys or Tooth's (or Resch's) in NSW, carlton in Melbourne, and Swan in Perth, but none of these beers had any real following outside their home states.
Alan Bond found this to his detriment around 1988 when he tried to foist Swan Premium on the country through his Bond Breweries empire which by then controlled the Fourex, Tooheys and Swan Breweries. Bondy spent squillions on billboards and TV ads ("This Swan's made for you") but the Aussie beer drinkers weren't having a bar of it, for the most part they stuck loyally to traditional state brands.
The first beer brand which really crossed borders in vast numbers was Victoria Bitter. In the early '90s VB suddenly became the flavour of the month everywhere and the brand marketed to the blue singlet brigade was just as likely to be found in the hands of a Sydney stockbroker or a Brisbane doctor. It must have been both fascinating and frustrating to CUB's sales executives who were still spending oodles of ad dollars on the Foster's brand in the Australian market.
Ironically, the voice behind the original VB ads ("You can get it lifting; you can get it shifting .... matter of fact, I've got it now"), the late actor John Meillon, was a died-in-the-wool Foster's drinker. I once interviewed Meillon in the John Meillon Bar at The Oaks in Neutral Bay. It was noon and the great actor was having trouble stringing syllables together as he drank his first can of Foster's for the day. Meillon always insisted on drinking cans and carried a leather-clad can cooler with him at all times. By the second can he was uttering complete phrases and by the third he was up and running, spinning actor's yarns about days of drinking in English pubs in the early '60s with the likes of "Finchy and O'Toole" (fellow actors and enthusiastic drinkers Peter Finch and Peter O'Toole). Meillon explained that he enjoyed a regular of supply of Foster's during his acting days in London thanks to some friendly Qantas cabin crew.
Around the time of my interview, the Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrated its 50th anniversary and was closed one Sunday to allow the public to walk across it. Someone roped Meillon into the walk and he was approached by a young reporter at the end. "How was the walk, Mr Meillon?" the eager cub inquired. "It was a three can walk," Meillon replied, straight-faced and was duly quoted in the newspaper the next day.
Cooper's Sparkling Ale
If we're talking Australian icons then surely a case can be made for Cooper's Sparkling Ale. I mean, forget these new-fangled lagers which have appeared in the last 100-odd years, Cooper's cloudy ales boast a 138-year heritage. Amazingly, the brewery has remained family-owned and independent in an age of brewery takeovers and conglomerates. Because they concentrated on the bottled beer market rather than pubs, Cooper's has always had something of a national following.
Sometime in the early 1980s, the Australian beer drinking public really woke up to Cooper's and in the Sydney market Sparkling Ale rapidly progressed from cult beer to bulk beer. At one point it seemed as if every second pub had it on tap. Even now Cooper's cloudy ales stick out like the proverbial and offer a full-flavour alternative amid the ocean of mainstream lager taste-alikes.
There was always something quaint and old fashioned about the cloudy ale in the heavyweight bottle with the tear-tab top. Sadly, the Cooper's "handgrenade" was phased out in recent years. I always thought it was the passing of a great Aussie icon and somehow the beer never quite tasted the same. For my money, Cooper's Sparkling Ale had a fuller yeast character (with a delicious hint of apricots) back then.
The name Redback is more quintessentially Australian than most and offers some appeal as a potential beer brand icon. For a while in the 1980s when boutique breweries were adding much-needed diversity to the local brewing scene, Redback achieved something like cult status among beer fanciers. The thirst-quenching wheat beer (usually served with obligatory lemon slice) from WA also seemed to suit Australia's hotter climate. Redback's following has ebbed since those heady days and after CUB took over Matilda Bay Brewing, it has been largely lost amongst the latter's portfolio of premium brands.
Carbine Stout might receive the odd sympathy vote in the icon stakes if only because it is named after arguably Australia's greatest racehorse. Carbine was an outstanding stayer who carried the heaviest weight ever and beat 41 other starters to win the Melbourne Cup in then record time. The stout isn't too shabby either - full of dark chocolate notes and nicely bittered. It's one of the Australian brewing industiry's best-kept secrets but most of our commercial breweries make excellent stouts. But let's not get carried away by sentiment alone, Carbine Stout may be a dark horse but it's rank outsider to be named Great Aussie Beer.
"What about Crownie?" I hear you bay from lounge bars and Chinese restaurants across the nation. Crown Lager surely has some claim to national appeal, especially as it had the premium beer stakes to itself until recently. Interestingly, Crown Lager began life as Foster's Export Lager and adopted the Crown moniker some time after Queen Elisabeth's coronation in 1952 (?). Some of us have long felt that Foster's and Crown are one and the same beer and this historical clue perhaps seals it. Crown Lager the Vegemite of beers? I hardly think so.
New wave premiums Cascade Premium, James Boag Premium and Hahn Premium might get a look in, especially the latter two which were crowned Grand Champion Beer respectively at the last two Australian International Beer Awards. But really these three praiseworthy premium lagers are all Johnnie-come-latelies in the Great Aussie Beer scheme of things. Wait a couple of decades guys and then re-apply.
And the winner is ... oops, sorry! Even the Academy Awards doesn't declare winners anymore, they say: "And the award goes to ... " (drum roll) ... Cooper's Sparkling Ale.
Why Cooper's won:
Cooper's Sparkling Ale has both a distinctive flavour and a distinguished pedigree. It offers a rare taste of our brewing heritage from a 100 per cent Australian-owned independent brewery. This cloudy, bottle-conditioned ale has evolved from a curiosity (even in its home state of South Australia) to something approaching a national treasure. After all, it's been around longer than either Vegemite or Aeroplane Jelly.
Oh - and the judge's word is final and no further correspondence will be entered into.
100 YEARS AGO: OLD & NEW (BREAKOUT)
Pale gold in appearance. Subdued nose with some malt character evident. Palate: clean, moderate bitterness. International lager style more reknowned for its consistency than character.
Similar in appearance to Foster's. Moderate body with some malt character. Hop bitterness may be a tad higher than Foster's but there's not much in it.
Pale gold. Clean aromas with some fruity esters evident. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. Palate is balanced but subdued, with moderately bitter finish.
Cooper's Sparkling Ale
Tan colour with evident haziness. Nose: fruity and yeasty. Palate is complex with fruity, malty and reasonably bitter characters. Well-bittered finish with warming alcohol.
Lemon-gold colour. Clove and phenolic (medicinal) characters in aroma. Spitzy carbonation and fullish mouthfeel. Palate shows grainy characters, some wheat tartness and a restrained bitterness. Carbine Stout Deep black/brown colour. Roasted malt and coffeeish characters on the nose. Fullish body. More roasty, coffee characters in the palate with a reasonably bitter finish.
http://www.fosters.com.au/enjoy/beer/fo ... _brand.htm
Foster's Lager is the largest selling Australian beer brand in the world with more than 100 million cases of Foster's consumed worldwide every year.
Brewed in nine countries and over 20 plants, Foster's Lager is widely sold and distributed throughout Australia, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. It is the world's third most widely distributed brand, available in more than 150 countries.
Foster's Lager is the international flagship brand for the Foster's group.
http://www.beercollections.com/Brewerie ... osters.htm
The first bottle of Foster's lager was brewed in 1888. The crash of the 1890's resulted in a long economic recession in Australia. To help cut costs, the Foster Brewing Company and the Carlton Brewery Amalgamate combined with four other breweries to form a new company: Carlton and United Breweries (CUB). CUB acquired Northern Australia Breweries and Cairns Brewery in 1931. The Fosters brand made it into the UK and the US in the 1970's. CBU took over the New South Wales Brewing Company (Tooth & Co.). In 1989 the Carling O'Keefe Brewing group merged with the Molson Breweries of Canada and the company name was changed to Foster's Brewing Group Limited. Since then Foster's has aquired several more breweries, wineries and other businesses.
Foster's is now produced on four continents in 10 countries - Australia, Canada, China, UK, Germany, France, Portugal, India, Ireland and Vietnam. Excellent distribution system and partners throughout the world make Australian Foster's one of the most successful contemporary beer brands.
is on sale in over 150 countries of the world;
is one of the most quickly growing international premium brands;
has showed a 50% international sales growth over the last 5 years;
is in the Top 10 of the best selling brands in its segment in Europe;
has been the sales leader in London over the last 10 years.
Foster's has for many years been an official sponsor of Formula 1 Grand Prix, the world's most popular motor races, and an official partner of the professional surfing event The Foster`s ASP World Championship; in 2000 it was the official beer of the Summer Olympics in Sidney.
The history of this brand began in 1886 when the Foster brothers came to Melbourne, Australia. They wanted to create a new beer which would be substantially different from the thick, heavy and hard English ale.
The Fosters built Australia's most modern brewery buying the best European equipment and inviting two famous American beer experts. The brothers invested their entire capital (48,000 pounds) into the business. In modern terms, the Fosters created the first original Australian beer of premium class.
As soon as Foster's beer began to be brewed, in 1888 it won international recognition and was awarded the title of the best light beer at the International Brewery Fair. Later Foster's won a multitude of awards throughout the world including four Brewing Industry International Awards (in 2002 and other years).