There was a sense of vagueness around the Perfect Lager Project back in April. Who was behind it? What was the beer going to be? Why would Australia need a new lager? Yesterday, EFTM discovered the answers at the launch of Arvo, Australia’s newest beer.

With over 3,000 app downloads and over 7,000 beer ratings, the Perfect Lager Project captured the imaginations of the Australian beer drinking public. Especially given that nobody knew who was actually behind the project. While many beer drinkers may have expected it to be the brain child of one of the two big Aussie beer companies, the truth is that it was the brainchild of Aussie winemakers Casellas.

“If you look at the state of the (beer) market in Australia, there are only two major producers. If you look at the wine industry and just how competitive and diverse that is in comparison to the brewing industry and how volumes compare – the brewing industry is about 10 times bigger – we felt strongly that there was an opportunity to take advantage of that,” said John Casella, MD of Casellas winemakers.

And so the decision was made to launch a premium lager into the Australian market.

With a brand new brewery designed, engineered and built by German company Krones, the state of the art facilities have the capacity to create both small and large batches of beers simultaneously, and can produce up to 8000 litres of beer at any one time.

After factoring in responses from the Perfect Lager Project, brew master Andy Mitchell and his team created more than 80 different brews before narrowing the final selection down to two different batches: Brew 34 and Brew 51. With a slightly sweeter, more bitter and overall stronger beer flavour, Brew 34 competes against the more subtle Brew 51. Both beers use local malted barley and water, with hops from New Zealand, Australia and the US and a yeast strain which originated in Europe.

“We saw two major trends in the flavour feedback, hence the creation of two brews. Many drinkers enjoy a more bitter lager with a lingering aftertaste. These people will enjoy Brew 34 because this is a more hop-driven lager, with fruity aromas and subtle malt characters. Other people suggested that they enjoy a more subtle, thirst quenching beer, so we have created Brew 51 as a really easy-drinking lager style with less prominent hop character,” Andy said.

But after running a promotion to find the country’s best lager, it seems strange that the final product launching this week includes two different varieties. Ultimately though, it’s worked in the company’s favour, allowing them to farm the final decision of which beer is best to the market. Every sixpack and case sold of Arvo for the next 12 weeks or so will include a 50/50 split between Brew 34 and Brew 51. Consumers are then encouraged to head to the Arvo Beer website to vote for their favourite, with the victor surviving in the market for the long term.

Retailing for $50 a case and competing with imported lagers in the premium lager segment, Arvo is hitting leading bottle shops around the country this week. Stay tuned for a closer look at the brewery itself – and a review of the two beers – next week.

Web: Arvo Beer