How this Australian Brewery Aligns its Brand with Active & Outdoor Lifestyles

International Insights is a continuing series of Q&As with brewing members, but this time branching outside of the US and into the rest of the world.
In this series, Brewer will share personal insights from international breweries periodically about the craft beer market in other countries, where those brewers get their inspiration, and how the market compares to craft beer in the US.

Scott Brandon, Founder/Owner, Bright Brewery — Bright, Victoria, Australia

​BREWER: ​What can you tell me about the history of your brewery? How has your business strategy evolved to help grow and stay competitive?
BRANDON: Bright Brewery was started in 2005 with the aim of bringing craft beer to the small town of Bright in the Victorian Alps. Bright is a popular regional tourism destination and our main focus initially was on our brewery and outdoor beer garden, and later (2011) the development of our restaurant and bar. Having an indoor bar allowed us to focus on improving the customer experience and showcasing our beers, and we achieved first place Gold Medals at the Victorian Tourism Awards for three years running from 2017-2019. We are passionate about the outdoors and the mountains that we live in, and so active lifestyles and respect for our natural environment are of paramount importance to us. Our sponsorship of local cycling and mountain bike events helps to ensure that the town is well known for these activities, while also aligning our brand in this space. We ensure that all of our staff work a standard week of 38 hours so that they also have time to enjoy a balanced lifestyle. Strong financial management, investment in people, and continual reinvestment in the business has allowed us to grow the brewery significantly over the years. We actively participate in the local chamber of commerce and tourism bodies to collectively help to raise the profile of the town and broader region, and this has resulted in a significant increase in visitation over the years. We are also aware that the town and our venue is very reliant upon tourism and so in 2018 we built a dedicated production facility so that we could produce our beers more efficiently and at higher volumes, and create a new industry that could operate independently of tourism.

​BREWER: ​Who is your mentor in the industry and why? What have you learned from them?
BRANDON: No specific mentors, however I look to trends in North America as a guide for likely outcomes in Australia. We also have a strong affiliation with many other local craft brewers with which we share ideas regularly.

​BREWER: ​What sustainability ideas did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewery functions?
BRANDON: Most recent initiative has been a PakTech recycling program conceived by our Sales Manager Evin Craney. We had become aware that the PakTech beer can holders we’re not able to be effectively recycled by the kerbside recycling plants and so we developed a program where we would provide bins to collect the holders at retail outlets so that they could be either cleaned and reused, or recycled correctly. This involved liaising with PakTech and the local licenced manufacturer Visy to ensure that they were able to be recycled effectively, and it has since been adopted more broadly within the industry and should have a significant effect upon the sustainability of these very common items. Although the impact for our own brewery operations is relatively minor, we are very proud of the broader impact that our initiative is starting to have on the industry.

READ MORE: How These Breweries Have Stepped Up Sustainable Packaging

​BREWER: ​Why is becoming more sustainable not just important to your bottom line, but to being a better brewery for the environment and your community?
BRANDON: Being located in a mountainous regional area, bushfires have become a regular occurrence that significantly affects our tourism visitation at a time of year that is usually busy. At one level, this spurs us to play our part in reducing our impact on climate change, reducing our energy use where possible, and utilizing solar generation on our buildings. It has also driven us in more recent years to start to reduce our dependence upon the tourism dollar by developing a dedicated production facility and sales team so that our beers can be sold further afield, thereby keeping the local economy — and ours — ticking when these disasters strike. Our production brewery was completed in 2018 and this has proved invaluable throughout the bushfires in early 2020, and then throughout the COVID pandemic.

​BREWER: ​If you had one business strategy that you could implement to better the brewing industry in your country, what would it be?
BRANDON: Having a clear understanding of its values and what the brewery stands for is of utmost importance. In such a crowded market the customer is overwhelmed with choice and there are many breweries making great beers. For us it’s embodying active lifestyles and caring for our environment. This gives us a clear perspective for every decision we make, whether it’s what to name a beer, or the experience we provide for our customers.

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