Aussie craft brewers will soon be able to test their products in Queensland, with the Palaszczuk Government investing $1.1 million over five years to deliver Australia’s first BrewLab in early 2020.
Located at Coopers Plains Health and Food Sciences Precinct, BrewLab will also be home to Queensland’s first-ever TAFE course in brewing, with applications for Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) opening in 2020.
Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said the Queensland BrewLab will give craft brewers the ability to develop and test new beer recipes without interrupting their own production lines.
“Providing craft brewers with state-of-the-art facilities to create new recipes will ensure the local industry continues to grow and more jobs are created for Queenslanders,” Mr Dick said.
“Craft brewing has the potential to contribute around $100 million to the Queensland economy each year, so we’re investing in the future of these businesses through initiatives like BrewLab to ensure our brewers can keep employing and thriving.
“BrewLab will include a sensory lab and quality assurance services, where brewers can get their beers tasted by an expert panel or focus groups, and get their beer tested for elements such as acidity and alcohol volume.
“This will help brewers identify target markets, potential product improvements and opportunities for new product development.
“Brewers can also get their brewery staff trained in precise identification and tasting of aromas, flavours and tastes,” he said.
“The Queensland BrewLab will open in early 2020, and we encourage craft brewers to register their interest to use the facility by visiting qld.gov.au/brewlab.
Minister for Training and Skills Shannon Fentiman said the new TAFE qualification will offer something for everyone, from first-time brewers to seasoned professionals wanting to improve their skills.
“In a Queensland first, TAFE Queensland will be introducing the Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) with training being delivered at the new state-of-the-art BrewLab,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Queensland is home to a growing number of craft brewers and we want to make sure they can continue to grow and create more local jobs.
“This collaboration between TAFE and the BrewLab will mean Queenslanders will be able to access the training they need to fill highly skilled brewing jobs, ensuring businesses can grow their local workforce.
“Training in brewing at TAFE and the new BrewLab is due to begin in 2020.”
TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Mary Campbell said the new course would help ensure there were enough skilled brewers to meet the demands of industry growth.
“We’re excited to be working with the Queensland Government on this new course, which will give brewers the technical and practical understanding of the brewing process needed in a dynamic industry,” Ms Campbell said.
“Brewing craft beer requires a high level of skill, so making a formal qualification available alongside BrewLab is a great way to invest in people and training.”
Through the Queensland BrewLab brewers can also access the Grains Quality Research Lab in Toowoomba to assess grain and malt quality, which is essential to the successful execution of the brewing process.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the key capability of BrewLab was producing a quality product.
“By providing the essential tools to both deliver and maintain high-quality craft beer into the future, we are ensuring the industry continues to experience near record annual growth in sales, both domestically and in export markets,” Mr Furner said.
“BrewLab demonstrates this government’s commitment to providing Queensland brewers with the tools and expertise they need to maximise their product and potential.”
Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson from Rockstar Brewer Academy said BrewLab will give brewers the tools to ensure they’re delivering the best possible product into the market.
“Consumers naturally gravitate towards a high-quality product, and facilities like the Queensland BrewLab give industry a way to make sure we have high quality beer on tap,” Mr Henderson said.
“As an industry, we want to welcome new consumers; we want them to taste a craft beer, enjoy it, and then come back for more. That’s how we’ll grow the craft brewing industry in Queensland.”
The Queensland BrewLab sits within the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Food Pilot Plant facility.
The Food Pilot Plant provides technical and research capability to the broader food industry across Queensland by giving small-to-medium-sized enterprises access to world-best practice food processing areas and technology, as well as technical support for food technology, consumer and sensory science and food quality.
Currently craft beer production in Queensland is worth more than $62 million annually, and on average each of the state’s 90 independent craft brewers employs around 20 Queenslanders.