Cheers to Bargara Brewing: high praise for local success

CAN IT: Owner Jack Millbank toasts the Convict IPA, the first beer canned by the Bargara Brewing Company.
CAN IT: Owner Jack Millbank toasts the Convict IPA, the first beer canned by the Bargara Brewing Company. Craig Warhurst

STATE Treasurer Curtis Pitt has hailed Bundaberg's Bargara Brewing Company as a prime example of how a small, regional business can find international success.

Mr Pitt visited the company's Tanitha St base yesterday to congratulate Bargara Brewing on its growing export success.

Bundaberg's Bargara Brewing Company is continuing to take its beer to the world with recent sales to South Korea going well and promising prospects in China.

Mr Pitt said the company's Asian export agent, Australian Sustainable Food Company, would be presenting Bargara's beers to retailers at a Trade and Investment Queensland Austrade event in Vietnam in April.

"Bargara is less than three years old and is already finding success in major markets in Asia," Mr Pitt said.

"I'm delighted to say that the government's global business agency Trade and Investment Queensland has been able to help along the way."

The company is finalising its distribution into the craft beer market in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City with a Mexican-style beer flavoured with Australian lemon myrtle rather than the more traditional lime.

Mr Pitt said Bargara Brewing showed how small companies with good business plans could be big players.

"Bargara is less than three years' old and is already finding success in major markets in Asia," he said.

"I'm delighted to say that the Government's global business agency Trade and Investment Queensland has been able to help along the way."

Bargara co-founder and CEO Jack Milbank said the company's export program started last year when a group of Korean businessmen, who were visiting Bundaberg on other business, tried some of the company's local brews and decided they had to get them to Korea.

"With TIQ's help we were able to follow up the lead and by September last year we were selling our Thirsty Turtle Bright Lager, Rusty Roo Red Ale and Drunk Fish Pale Ale in 140 hypermarkets around the country," Mr Milbank said.

"Demand in Korea has been strong and we've just had to send another container load of the Drunk Fish Pale Ale to keep up with the demand."

TIQ will also be assisting with Bargara Brewing Company's selection of the best Chinese distributor following an initial exploration of the market by way of a recent craft beer mission organised by Austrade.

"We're also keen to get into the high-end gift market in cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore selling products such as beer aged in 100-year-old rum barrels," Mr Milbank said.

Topics:  brewing business politics

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