Smaller brewers finding it tough to tap into market

Morrison Brewery owner Paul Morrison says many small Tasmanian operations are running on a passion for quality product over financial gain. Picture: MARK JESSER

Morrison Brewery owner Paul Morrison says many small Tasmanian operations are running on a passion for quality product over financial gain. Picture: MARK JESSER

KICKBACKS for stocking big-name beers on tap and market flooding of so- called craft beers are presenting challenges for smaller competitors, a Launceston brewer has said.

Morrison Brewery owner Paul Morrison said many small Tasmanian operations were running on a passion for quality product over financial gain, despite difficulties in securing product placement.

"It can be hard to get tap points, because of the tap contracting - it's not only the big breweries, it's the venues as well," Mr Morrison said.

"Taps are quite expensive to install, as a small brewer we can't do that."

He said bigger companies were able to offer free glassware, free kegs, tap installations and more to ensure their position in venues.

"It's actually illegal in America to offer incentives, whereas here it's the done thing," Mr Morrison said.

"It doesn't encourage competition."

A confidential investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission into New South Wales' draught brewing industry was ongoing late last month.

Fairfax Media obtained copies of 2012 and 2013 contracts by Carlton United Breweries and Lion, who produce craft beer labels.

The contracts revealed that bars were stocking brands on more than 80 per cent of venue taps in exchange for tap maintenance and rebates.

Mr Morrison said craft label capitalisation from major companies meant smaller breweries had to all but match their prices to compete in pubs and bottle shops.

Although he did not believe they were truly craft beers, he said they still had a role to play in the market.

"We see them as a stepping stone beer between something like Boag's and our beer.

"The thing that we're trying to push is that it's quality over quantity, drink less but drink better," he said.

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