Foster's Group (Abbotsford Brewery)
Re-branded as the Foster’s Group in the 21st century, Carlton & United Breweries was formed in 1907 through an amalgamation of the city’s six largest beer-makers: McCrackens City Brewery, Victoria Brewery, Shamrock Brewing & Malting Company, Castlemaine Brewery, Fosters Brewing Company and Carlton Brewery. The latter began life as the North Melbourne Brewery, based in Bouverie Street, Carlton, where brewing operations continued until 1987; the Victoria Brewery kept operating until 1983 but the other four plants were closed down following the 1907 amalgamation. In fact, in the succeeding 100-plus years CUB/Fosters would acquire and closedown dozens of individual breweries. From 1987 onwards, its Melbourne brewing activities were consolidated into a single site at Abbotsford (it had formerly been the Melbourne Co-operative Brewery until taken over by CUB in 1925), which had been progressively expanded to the point it became the largest brewery in the Southern Hemisphere. Developments included 30-metre high fermentation tanks, 24-hour bottling operations and a brewhouse so large it was dubbed a ‘wort production complex’. The company’s main brands include Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, Foster’s Lager and Melbourne Bitter – brands they acquired from different breweries along the way. Crown Lager, released in the 1950s, enjoyed an unrivalled position in the premium lager category until the late 1980s. Outside the Melbourne market, CUB has acquired breweries throughout the country, notably Northern Australian Breweries (Queensland), Tooth & Co (New South Wales), Geelong Brewery, Ballarat Brewery and Richmond Brewery (all in Victoria), Cascade Brewery (Tasmania), Power Brewing (Queensland) and Matilda Bay Brewing (Western Australia). During the 1990s the group diversified heavily into the wine industry and in 2006 swallowed the giant Southcorp Wines, giving the Group control over a vast empire of alcoholic brands. To help finance the Southcorp buy-out, they sold the overseas rights to the Foster’s Lager brand, which is among the top six global beer brands
All their biggest-selling brands are variations on a single theme – a mainstream lager of moderate character and bitterness.
Behind the Label
Brothers William and Ralph Foster were opportunistic New Yorkers who arrived in Melbourne with the latest lager-brewing equipment and an icemaking machine. Both were novelties when they launched their Foster’s Lager in 1889, offering free ice to pubs with every order. The new, chilled lager took the local market by storm and within 18 months they had been bought out. These days Foster’s is a curious paradox – it’s one of the biggest global beer brands but here in Australia its sales have plummeted to minuscule levels. During the 2000 Sydney Olympics it popped up on scores of pub taps for overseas visitors then disappeared as soon
Cnr Nelson and Thompson streets, Abbotsford 3067 Tours availablecomments powered by Disqus