Cigar Aficionado

Australian Craft Beers Released in America

If there's one thing that gets the Barons Brewing Company of Australia madder than a cut snake, it's beer drinkers who've fallen prey to the idea that Foster's Lager is, as the brand claims, Australian for beer. But with a new American distribution deal with United States Beverage (USB), the Sydney-based Barons is ready to set the record straight.

Beginning this summer, Barons, the largest independent brewery in Australia, is releasing four premium craft beers to markets in New York, California, Chicago and Florida. By the summer of 2008, they will be available nationally. The beers are Barons Lager, Barons Pale Ale, Barons ESB and ale brewed with Australia's native wattle seed called Barons Black Wattle Superior.

According to Scott Garnett, who founded Barons with Richard Adamson and serves as the company's managing director, the new distribution deal was made to capitalize on the double-digit growth of American craft and microbrewed beers. "It's unique to find imported craft beers in the United States," says Garnett, who conducted a year's worth of research to better understand the American market. "We are trying to take advantage of the growth and popularity of craft beer here."

"Barons beer perfectly captures the Australian sense of adventure and fun," says John Chappell, the senior vice president and marketing director for USB. "U.S. drinkers are searching for unique, high-end, flavorful beers and Barons is right in line with this trend."

The release of Barons in the United States is also aimed at redefining what Australian beer is. While Foster's is rarely consumed Down Under and is brewed in Canada for its export markets, Barons stresses quality brewing and urges drinkers at home and abroad to think differently about craft beer and to seek out better tasting beer. It's for this reason why Garnett and Adamson, who is an experienced home brewer, decided to start a beer company in the first place almost five years ago. "It got to a point where we couldn't find beers that we wanted to drink," says Garnett, "and we saw the opportunity to make better tasting beer."

So far, the decision has been an excellent one for Garnett and Adamson, and also the Australian beer drinker. Barons has seen monthly growth while continuing to develop new recipes and styles, and a loyal customer base. Now Barons is challenged with doing the same thing in the United States. "So far the response has been great," says Garnett.

For more information on the Barons Brewing Company, visit