A chat with brewer Bill Taylor on Lion’s natural beer promise

Lion Nathan’s chief brewer, Bill Taylor, says that his company’s ‘natural beer promise’ campaign began as a technical project by his brewing team.

The campaign, launched two weeks ago, promises to remove some additives and to use only five natural ingredients in the company’s key beer brands.

Taylor says that Tooheys New, Tooheys Old, XXXX Gold, XXXX Bitter, Swan Draught and West End Draught meet the new standards.

He says that improved technology, principally an improved ability to suck air from bottles and better use of carbon dioxide, meant the elimination of sulphur dioxide as an additive. It had previously been used at very low levels (around 10 parts per million) to mop up oxygen dissolved in the beer.

Other additives that have been eliminated include colouring agents such as caramel, brewing enzymes and tetra hops.

Taylor added that enzymes would still be used in low-carbohydrate beers – added at the mashing stage to aid extraction of fermentable carbohydrates from grain. And chemically modified hop extracts (tetra hops) that protect beer from ‘light strike’ will still be used in beers packaged in clear glass.

He said that the level of naturalness would ultimately appear on Lion’s beer packages.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008