Four Great Moments In Australian Beer History

Written by
February 5, 2018

We’re not saying Australia is a country defined by frothies, but a lot of our historical milestones are curiously… beer-related.

We’re not saying Australia is a country defined by frothies, but a lot of our historical milestones are curiously… beer-related.

Does Australia love beer because it’s so closely tied to significant moments in history? Or did these moments only happen because Aussies love beer? You be the judge.

All we know is, Australian history books should all have a chapter dedicated to brews.

Here’s four times beer changed Australian history.

1. The man, the myth, the swindler

Let’s go back in time. We’re talking convict-era - 1785. The British sent over all manner of common criminals to Australia, mostly thieves. One of these First Fleet thieves was a Londoner named James Squire. Believe it or not, he created Australia’s first brew from hops that he stole.

James eventually created his own brewery and was called Australia’s first brewer, and became a very celebrated figure around the country. Not too bad for a thief. We’re still drinking beers dedicated to his legacy today (and they’re delicious).

2. A cooler invention

Let’s go forward in time, to 1855. An Aussie gentleman by the name of James Harrison created the first ice-making machine, which eventually became the modern fridge we use in kitchens today.

But Australia collectively said, “That’s great and all Jimmy, but I can’t carry a fridge full of beers to my mate’s house.” So years later, a Sydney-based company created the Esky – a portable fridge that keeps your beers cooler for longer.

And speaking of being cool for a long time…

3. Bob “The Honorable Member for Bevvies” Hawke

It’s hard to find a leader that an entire country wants to rally behind. But in 1983 Australia elected a Prime Minister who is now known for a very relatable quality – his love of beer. In the ‘80s, Bob Hawke’s achievements included education reform, tax reform and skulling a yard of ale in 11 seconds.

Since his time in office, Hawke has become world renowned for drinking pints at the cricket, and even giving his own name to a beer label. Proving once and for all that beer touches all aspects of Australian culture, including parliament.

But what about food?

4. The spread of beer

Officially, Australia’s national food is meat pies. Unofficially, if we’re talking a food we eat every day, vegemite on toast must come pretty close. It was made by a young Aussie chemist, who realised one of the richest known sources of natural Vitamin B came from brewer’s yeast. That is, the yeast that’s left over from beer production.

So as it turns out, Vegemite is made out of the same stuff as beer. Australia’s favourite food is made out of Australia’s favourite beverage. It’s poetic.

Part of what makes Vegemite so good is that newcomers usually hate it. But luckily, Hugh Jackman is out there showing them the light.

So whenever people ask you why Aussies love their beer so much, you can tell them there’s a lot of reasons. It reminds us of our nation’s heroes, our favourite foods, our best inventions and significant moments in our history. And that’s pretty special if you ask us.