MELBOURNE, April 21: The Andrews Labor Government is getting behind Victoria’s brewers, winemakers and distillers with a new program aimed at getting more locally produced drinks into bars and restaurants.
Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas today announced $1.5 million of funding for the Drink Victorian program at the official opening of the Australian Craft Beer Centre of Excellence in Ballarat.
The Victorian Drinks Alliance – a collaboration between Victorian beverage producers and Food and Drink Victoria – developed the program to build domestic demand for locally produced drinks, in response to the challenges faced during the pandemic.
Initially targeting 100 hospitality and retail venues across metropolitan Melbourne, the Drink Victorian pilot program will lead regional visits, host Melbourne-based ‘super tastings’, deliver training and offer marketing support to encourage venues to include more Victorian-produced drinks on their menus.
The program has been funded by the Labor Government through the recently launched Food to Market program and the Small Scale and Craft program, with additional support from Global Victoria.
The Food to Market grant program is one of the key initiatives being rolled out as part of the Government’s transformative Agriculture Strategy, demonstrating a commitment to supporting small-scale and craft businesses.
The newly opened Australian Craft Beer Centre of Excellence builds on a rapidly growing interest in brewing beer. The Centre includes a craft brewery, a beer tasting and bar area, teaching space and a function area.
Working closely with Federation University in Ballarat, the Centre’s “brew space” will provide an opportunity for small brewers to hone their craft and to also receive advice on how to develop their businesses.
The Centre, which has been supported by the Labor Government’s Regional Tourism and Infrastructure Fund, will create more than 25 new jobs and cater for a broad range of visitors.