We chat to craft beer legends Moo Brew about their tasty new creation, BREW Tassie Lager
18.01.2021

We chat to craft beer legends Moo Brew about their tasty new creation, BREW Tassie Lager

The beer has launched as part of Mona Foma, currently going down in Tasmania until January 24.

Engage in a conversation about Tasmania and you’ll most likely hear mentions of Mona, Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay and Cataract Gorge. If the likes of David Walsh, Ricky Ponting and Hannah Gadsby don’t feature in ensuing sentences, then you’re sure to become acquainted with Moo Brew – the revered craft brewery that’s been bringing Australia innovative beer creations for the last 16 years.

As part of Mona Foma – the two-weekend festival coming to Hobart from Friday January 22 to Sunday January 24 – Moo Brew have launched their next invention. As part of their new umbrella brand, BREW, comes the Tassie Lager – an easy-drinking froth sporting a simple malt bill and little hops, catering for all beer drinkers, whether relaxed or inquisitive.

To celebrate the launch of the new beer, we chatted to Moo Brew’s head brewer, Jack Viney, about where Moo Brew’s at, their plans for 2021 and what punters can expect from the new Tassie Lager.

Beat: Moo Brew… Tasmania’s largest craft brewery and an Australian favourite. How has Moo Brew solidified such a strong reputation?

Jack Viney: ​We’ve just clocked our 16th year of production, so being around in the craft scene for quite a while now has definitely helped us build our reputation – both in Tasmania and on the big island! Over the years, we’ve always stuck to a few key values – quality and consistency – because ultimately we want our consumers to be happy with what they are buying.

There’s no way of sugarcoating it, 2020 was an absolute shocker. Dark Mofo was cancelled, Mona closed its doors and businesses all across Tassie were left reeling by the pandemic. How did COVID impact Moo Brew and the craft beer industry more broadly?

​It was a wild year that’s for sure! Everyone in the hospitality, tourism and craft beer industries have faced new and unexpected challenges, so we are hoping for a more positive 2021 across the board. Being a production-based brewery, rather than a brewpub-style venue, we were lucky in the sense that we were able to maintain production and ensure our beers remained readily available in bottle shops.

Obviously the impact of COVID-19 on pubs and restaurants nationwide pretty much stopped keg sales overnight. But in comparison to what those individual venues and brewpubs had to deal with, I think we were pretty lucky. The craft industry in general took a huge hit too, so we are looking forward to a busy summer with everyone (hopefully!) firing back up to full capacity again.

 

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Did you have to change your business model at all or alter the way you do things because of the pandemic?

Yes and no. With the regular channels and avenues to sell beer, everyone had to shift sideways and re-structure in some form – just in order to survive. For us, this shift was more towards packaged products. We saw a strong increase in can sales, which helped keep our heads above water. But the loss of the keg market still had a huge impact. Given this loss of volume, we had to adjust and really slow things down at the brewery.

As we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, what is Moo Brew’s focus as we embark on 2021?

​We are full steam ahead at the moment, so fingers crossed things stay that way and we can continue our new COVID-normal lives throughout summer and beyond. Our main focus is to steady the ship and keep doing what we do well.

Got any new beers or exciting developments in store?

It’s looking like a busy 12 months coming up production-wise. This all kicks off in January with the launch of a new umbrella brand within the Moo family: BREW. The first offering from the newly-launched sub-brand is a Tassie Lager. It’s good, solid, easy-drinking fun, so we’re hoping it’ll appeal to a wider audience beyond that of our more craft-focused core range.

The aim was to have a product that was approachable to the everyday beer drinker whilst also maintaining the quality and craftsmanship that is so central to what we do here at Moo Brew. It’s all about giving beer drinkers good, local and independent options.

In addition to this, our Limited Release Series will continue into 2021 with a new beer coming out every few months. These small batch releases really give us the opportunity to get creative with some new ideas and concepts.

Mona Foma has begun, decorating both Launceston and Hobart with a much-needed artistic escape. As Mona’s flagship beer, what does this mean for Moo Brew?

​We are proud of our greater Mona family ties so we are always keen to be involved with anything they’ve got going on. Mona Foma thrives on reinvention and with over 350 festival artists, 90% of them drawn from Tasmania, it’s a year to celebrate the local – including our beers!

Moo Brew beers will be on tap and available by the can across the festival’s venues in both Launceston and Hobart. You’ll also see some of our staff running bars and providing infrastructure support, so it is always a busy time for Moo but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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Do you have any surprises in store or anything exciting planned for the festival?

​The new BREW Tassie Lager has its official launch at Mona Foma, so it’s always an exciting time when you go live to market with a fresh product. For anyone heading to the Launceston or Hobart festival sites, drop by, grab a BREW Tassie Lager and let us know what you think!

Anything else you’d like to share?

​It would be remiss of me not to say a huge thanks to everyone who has supported us in 2020 by buying our products. We are all excited for what 2021 will bring and are very grateful to still be here doing what we love to do. Cheers to independent craft and all the drinkers out there!

Moo Brew’s new BREW Tassie Lager has launched at Mona Foma, which comes to Hobart from Friday January 22 to Sunday January 24. 

Find out more about the BREW Tassie Lager here.

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