Craft Beer And Cider Are Here To Stay

The popularity of craft beer and cider is booming, and we know just the place to get your hit – this year’s Craft Beer & Cider Festival.

Highway Hotel Feb2014 South Australia Photo: John KrügerA long, hot Adelaide Summer isn’t the only reason people are turning to beer and cider. A new appreciation for the growing range of craft beers and ciders available (plus many more local options) has seen a shift in the drinking habits of South Australians over the last couple of years.

Likening beer and cider tasting to wine tasting, drinkers are seeking to be educated about hops, bitterness scales (IBU) and regional influences and are turning to a bottle or can of craft beer or cider over the regular pint of Carlton Draught.

The Highway, awarded SA’s Best Marketed Hotel in 2013 and owned by leading hotel group, The Palmer Hospitality Group has reported a huge boost in craft beer and cider sales at the bar and bottleshop with a 38 per cent increase over the past 12 months. This comes after another hefty increase of 34 per cent in 2012.

According to The Highway’s General Manager, Simon Adami, the ‘refined craft beer palate’ trend will only continue to grow.

“Gone are the days of bar staff knowing what “the usual” is for their regular customers – they’re now ordering their beer based on varying styles, the level of hops and most importantly, where its brewed,” said Mr Adami.

“It’s definitely become apparent that venues and bottleshops need to stock a wide range of craft beer and we’re starting to realize that the more unusual the brewery is, the more popular it will be. People just want something new and different they haven’t tried before.

“To meet the growing demand, where we used to have five or so craft beers on a single shelf, we now have to create an entire section dedicated to craft beer in excess of 340 lines, and 50 lines of cider” continued Simon.

Smiling Samoyed’s Head Brewer, Simon Dunstone, has also seen the growth of the craft beer category spread across the country and describes Adelaide’s beer drinkers as ‘pioneers’.

“Being relatively new in the craft beer market, the speed of adoption in Adelaide has astounded us! We expected to start small at the brewery and eventually gain exposure off premise but that side of the business has grown much faster than we anticipated.” Said Mr Dunstone.

“Craft brewers are a passionate bunch and we want to educate beer drinkers about what they’re consuming, why it tastes the way it does and how it’s brewed, that’s why we jump at the chance to speak to people at the brewery door and at beer tasting events” concluded Mr Dunstone.

Smiling Samoyed will be among 23 other craft brewers at The Highway for the Craft Beer & Cider Festival on April 5 and 6.

In its second year, 2014’s Craft Beer & Cider Festival will feature:

  • Over 60 craft beers and ciders from over 20 brewers
  • Paul Mercurio and Callum Hann presenting Cooking with Beer demonstrations
  • A unique crowd-sourced ale being brewed for The Highway Craft Beer & Cider Festival by Big Shed Brewing (ready to pour at The Highway in May)
  •  Meet the brewer sessions.

For more details, visit or visit for the full listing of what’s on in South Australia.

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