Set up in 2004 by a consortium of Hunter region identities, including wine man Bruce Tyrell and hotelier Ian Burford, Bluetongue Brewery soon established a significant regional market for its premium lager and alcoholic ginger beer. The latter had evolved from a popular house-brew at Burford’s Queens Wharf Brewery (later re-named The Wharf), while the premium lager was largely designed by Bluetongue’s original head brewer (and former Tooheys senior brewer) Bruce Peachey. Tyrell’s involvement followed the sale of its flagship Tyrell’s Long Flat wine brand and the original plan was to build the brewery at his Hunter Valley family-run winery. The proposal was blocked by a Local Environment Plan that, ironically, Tyrell had signed some years previously to protect local viticulture from excessive tourism developments. Sponsorship of the Newcastle Knights rugby league team saw their home ground re-named Bluetongue Stadium, which was owned by former ad-man John Singleton. In late 2006, Singleton bought a major share of Bluetongue, which, along with his considerable investment in thoroughbred racehorses, was supposed to be his main focus after selling off his advertising interests. But within a few months, Singleton had on-sold to Pacific Beverages, a joint venture between Coca-Cola Amatil and global brewer SABMiller; Pacific Beverages had previously taken over the Australian distribution for the latter’s beer brands, including Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsch and Miller Draught. In December 2008, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new $120 million Bluetongue Brewery to be built at Warnervale in the Central Coast– Hunter region of New South Wales. The plant will have an initial annual capacity of 50 million litres, expandable to 150 million litres, which would make it the state’s second-largest brewery after Tooheys. Significantly, Singleton has been retained as a member of the ‘Bluetongue Brewery marketing advisory group’.
Mainstream flavours rule, with the exception of the Traditional Pilsener and the thinking person’s alcopop – alcoholic ginger beer.
Bluetongue Premium Lager
Behind the Label
Surprisingly few native animals feature on Australian beer labels – Emu Bitter and Cascade Premium Lager (featuring the Tasmanian Tiger) are the exceptions – and the bluetongue lizard is perhaps one of the more unlikely candidates. Anyone who’s nearly run over one with a lawnmower in the backyard can appreciate both their resemblance to a snake and their characteristic of poking out their blue-hued tongue as a defence mechanism. Palatewise Bluetongue Premium Lager is a dead-ringer for Hahn Premium Lager and Bruce Tyrell said he saw it as the beer equivalent of Tyrell’s Long Flat White wine brand.
42 Stenhouse Drive, Cameron Park 2285 Tours by appointmentcomments powered by Disqus