People don’t know what beer’s made of

Alas, this column’s deadline can’t accommodate the full breaking story. But by the time you read this, Australia’s second largest brewer, Lion Nathan, will have launched a ‘natural beer promise’ campaign.

The brewer’s embargoed press release claims that nine out of ten Aussies don’t know the ingredients used in making beer – a figure based on a September 2008 national survey of 1004 respondents aged 18 years or over.

The campaign, to be led by Lion’s brewing boss, Bill Taylor, promises to dispel the myths about popular, large-volume beers and to promote a new ‘natural beer promise’.

Bill says, ‘we’ve simply taken out some additives, improved the way we do things, and gone back to the basics of brewing with only five natural ingredients’. The ingredients are grain (malted or not), cane sugar, water, yeast and hops.

It’s sort of a sweetened version of Germany’s sixteenth century Rheinheitsgebot, or beer purity law, that allows grain, water and hops (yeast hadn’t been discovered at the time) but not sugar.

Lion claims its popular Tooheys New, Tooheys Old, XXXX Gold, XXXX Bitter, Swan Draught and West End Draught meet the new standards.

Visit this column next week for details of the changes. What are those additives that’ve been taken out?

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2008