Gage Roads’ Single Fin Summer Ale will be served at Allianz Stadium for the HSBC Sydney 7s later this month and for the 2019 event. Photo: Eric Boudville

Gage Roads plays with Rugby Australia

Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 - 06:37

Gage Roads Brewing Company has bested eastern states competitors and secured a two-year partnership with Rugby Australia, supplying the HSBC Sydney 7s event with its first craft beer.

Gage’s Single Fin Summer Ale will be served at Allianz Stadium as the official beer for the Sydney round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in 2018 and 2019, kicking off this year on January 26.

Gage partnership manager James Purcell said the Sevens announcement, which follows Gage’s deal to supply Perth's new Optus Stadium, was representative of a shift in tastes among Australian consumers across a broad range of customer groups.

“The partnership with Optus Stadium is a huge milestone for Gage Roads Brewing Co, and it has no doubt played a part in helping us secure this partnership,” Mr Purcell told Business News.

“We aim to work with sporting and entertainment organisations who have a fans-first approach, and Rugby Australia certainly takes this approach.

“Our partnership with both Optus Stadium and Rugby Australia, as just two examples, show that as a brewery we’re very committed to bringing great quality Australian craft beer to new environments and new consumers,” he said.

Mr Purcell said the partnerships contributed to its five-year ‘Returning to Craft’ strategy, which started in 2016.

“(The strategy) seeks to grow the proportion of the Gage Roads brand sales for the business, largely through independent retail and on-premise channels,” he said.

“Increasing the visibility of the Gage Roads brand and products on the east coast of Australia is also a key focus.”

Four Gage Roads beverages will be available at Optus Stadium for $8.50 per serve – Single Fin Summer Ale, Atomic Pale Ale, ALBY Crisp Lager, and Hello Sunshine Cider.

All 10 Gage Roads products will be available throughout premium areas of the stadium, including the full-strength Alby Draught lager, AIBA Little Dove, Sleeping Giant IPA, Narrow Neck Pale Ale, and Breakwater Australian Pale Ale.

The Hello Sunshine Cider served at the stadium was developed in collaboration with Fringe World Festival last year, another significant partnership for Gage Road’s, Mr Purcell said.

Mr Purcell said Gage Roads didn’t believe there was just one type of craft beer consumer.

It looked to tap into a variety of occasions, from sporting events like Sydney 7s to arts events like Fringe, which would be complemented by quality, flavourful beer or cider, he said.

Fringe World chief executive Marcus Canning said the success of the cider at Fringe World prompted Gage to make the beverage part of its permanent range for 2018 and be sold at venues and liquor stores year round.  

Mr Canning told Business News Gage Roads had chosen to give a portion of proceeds for every sale of Hello Sunshine to the Fringe Fund, its artist support charity program.

“We love Gage,” Mr Canning said.

“Gage came on board (with Fringe) last year and they’re such a Western Australian success story.”

Otherside Brewing Company is another local craft brewery that supports the local arts.

It has announced it will increase its Australian Tour Grant to $15,000, to be distributed across three WA bands or solo artists.

In 2017, Otherside Brewing gave three $10,000 grants as part of its Tapped by Otherside grants program, along with a Visual Art Grant and a WA Film Grant.

Tapped By Otherside grants are funded through part proceeds of every Otherside beer sold.

Otherside director David Chitty said that, as the company had grown, it had been able to increase its grant pool to support local music, visual art and film.

All original music WA-based bands or solo artists are eligible to apply for the three 2018 Australian Tour Grants via the Tapped By Otherside website, with entries closing February 12.