Gage Roads brews up a buy local barley campaign

20 Dec, 2014 12:00 AM

FOR the beer enthusiast, the story beyond how cold the beer is can be a bit of a mystery.

But one local brewing company is connecting the consumer to the farmer in a new campaign.

Gage Roads Brewing Co is telling the story from paddock to bottle, starting with a community barley crop at Tammin.

The brewery, which is the largest consumer of domestic malting barley in WA, used the harvesting of the crop by local farmer Brad Jones as an opportunity to film footage for an online campaign.

Gage Roads Brewing Co general manager of operations Aaron Heary said the disconnect between what goes into making beer had led to many myths within the industry, such as chemicals and other additives being a part of the process.

"This video sets the record straight," he said. "It's educating not only beer consumers, but many of those who work in the industry.

"I've been in the brewing industry for 15 years and it amazes me what people think is in their beer.

"The paddock is where it starts and the simple ingredients mean that what you're drinking is a natural product."

For Mr Heary, sourcing local barley for beer is no different from sourcing local food for your table - it is keeping the local agricultural industry alive.

"We are the largest consumer of domestic malted barley in WA and while a lot of other breweries import their barley, we see the quality barley grown locally as what sets us apart," he said.

"It seems ludicrous to go elsewhere for something grown at your back door.

"We have such great growers here in WA and we want to support them."

The footage - gathered over two days as Mr Heary and a contingent of his brewers helped Mr Jones harvest the local barley crop - will be used across social media platforms and on the company website in a grassroots campaign.

Mr Jones said helping connect the consumer to what was being done throughout the Wheatbelt in WA was his main motivation.

"People still think that it's a subsistence lifestyle out here," he said.

"They don't realise the skills and technology that we use and the fact that these days we are businesses and run large operations.

"They also don't realise that what we grow in the paddock is used in a large variety of products outside of food such as beer."

By raising the profile of agriculture in this way, Mr Jones said he hoped there would be an increased awareness among consumers to buy local products and support farmers through products such as the locally-sourced Gage Roads beer.

Mr Heary said Gage Roads was now developing strategies for the beer brand to reach beyond the Perth city limits and become more readily available in rural areas.



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