Foster's Group (Yatala Brewery)
This brewery site, located at Yatala, midway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, was established by the Power Brewing Company, which launched Powers Bitter in 1988. Four years later a joint venture between Powers and Carlton & United Breweries was entered into (operated as Queensland Breweries), then in October 1993 Carlton & United Breweries acquired the brewery outright along with the Powers brands. With its logistical advantages and abundant space to expand, the Powers site offered the opportunity for CUB/Foster’s to close their existing Brisbane plant and concentrate resources there. During the joint venture phase a $30 million packaging line was installed, largely to keep up with demand for VB (Victoria Bitter). By February 2005, a $170 million expansion was dusted off, which increased overall capacity to some 450 million litres per annum. Soon afterwards, the Foster’sowned Kent Brewery in Sydney and Matilda Bay Brewery in North Fremantle were decommissioned, leaving the group with three breweries – Abbotsford in Melbourne, the Cascade Brewery in Hobart and the Yatala plant. These days Abbotsford (in Victoria) and Yatala vie for the title of Australia’s largest single brewery. Part of the 2005 expansion included major environmental initiatives with greatly enhanced water and energy efficiency, and a reduction in atmospheric emissions. Fosters claim that the Yatala plant is ‘arguably the most water efficient brewery in the world, with a water/beer ratio of around 2.3 litres/litre of beer’. Besides producing the company’s major brands including VB, Carlton Draught, Crown Lager and Pure Blonde, the Yatala brewery makes Kilkenny Draught under licence.
Foster’s major mainstream brands are all produced here, along with a more exotic Irish red ale (Kilkenny).
Behind the Label
Relatively recent changes in beer drinkers’ loyalties has seen Victoria Bitter become a de facto national brand, in essence, and a more serious rival to the rusted-on XXXX diehards than CUB-controlled brands like Cairns Draught and NQ Lager ever were in the greater Queensland market. The runaway success of VB in the early ’90s is a sales phenomenon that defies rational analysis. While the parent company was desperately trying to Fosterise Australia and the world beyond, VB was pitched at the sweaty, blue-collar Aussie drinker, courtesy of cheesy television ads with a voice-over from legendary character actor John Meillon. The more they pitched it at the tradie market, the more blokes in suits couldn’t get enough of the red and green labelled stuff. The VB juggernaut took off and suddenly CUB were eyeing more modern production facilities than their own – which led them to take over Bernie Power’s Yatala brewery, lock, stock and barrel.
Cnr Darlington Drive and Pacific Highway, Yatala 4207
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