RECAP – Five Predictions for Beer in 2018

Hey this is a regular thing now I think? I’ve done two predictions now which you can read here, and here. I figured I should recap last year’s a bit and see how it all panned out. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the trends in the last 12 months, and whether or not you think I was right (aka the most important part of this exercise: me, being right.)

Soon I’ll drop my predictions for 2019, and I’m still thinking of how I’d like to present it. In the past I’ve done gifs, but gifs are so basic now so I’ll have to come up with other ways to show you I’m a super cool internet guy. Maybe Tik Tok memes (I’m already Tracer haha amirite), or a video of me doing a Fortnite dance for each prediction… that’d be cool right?

Anyway, until then, here’s a quick recap of last year and what I said would happen and what I think happened:

More Brewpubs

I picked the major breweries would push these hard. I’d say this is about 50/50. There have been a lot of smaller ones opening up, and we’ve seen places like Felons in Brissy, Beerland in WA, and Hemingway’s in Cairns make some pretty strong hospitality plays into the space. Shiny operations welcoming all comers with fairly safe but excellently brewed beers. James Squire have quietly rolled out its tenth in Wollongong.

If I’m honest, I expected more from the big players. I have no idea where the Goose Island one is at. The Pirate Life one opened in Adelaide but that’s been in the works for a while, and whatever BrewDog are up to has apparently hit major roadblocks. Obviously there have been a slew of smaller ones, including the likes of the Fixation Incubator and the soon to be launched Brisbane arm of Stone & Wood (not so much a smaller player, but the pubs are on a small scale).The big pub groups didn’t get up to much either (although Sand Hill Road made a unique play, not with a brewpub, but with a barrel ageing program that includes beer to be aged in house at the Espy… a venue I’m thoroughly sick of writing about and I STILL haven’t had a beer there). I’m not sure where it leaves us to be honest… we’ll say I was right. There are a lot more brewpubs now than there was 12 months ago.

More Pale Lager

Mountain Goat saved the day for this prediction with its last minute 2018 play into this space. Bit of a weird one, if I’m honest. Not really much info on the tin and pretty un-Goat like. It even has its own instagram and facebook. People say things don’t change in the wake of buy outs but it’s hard to see this coming out of Goat in days past. However is it the Goat that changed or the market? It’s probably hard to say without some sort of reality simulator and we all know Goat continue to hit it out the park at its taproom in Richmond. Are we living in a two-speed Goat economy and does this augur how the majors will treat their small brands in years to come?

We also saw a pretty fun one from Two Birds in the form of Trail Blazer, a great Pils from Pirate Life and even hop-dedicated Kaiju have now got in the act with a Pilsner. There have been other examples, ticking along. I wouldn’t say it’s a massive trend but it’s gaining acceptance.


Did anyone see this bizarre world of sour milkshake IPA happening? I predicted IPA with fruit in it would be a major trend.  but this is just silly now. I’m not sure where the line between IPA and just “random beer with lactose and fruit and probably vanilla” is anymore. Adding to the never-ending IPA juggernaut was the Brut IPA. That came out of nowhere and surprised everyone as well. Now brewers are getting a handle on it, it seems it’ll be more of a slow burn than NE IPA but it will be here to stay. Anecdotally a lot of brewers tell me how much they love it as a style so if brewers love it, you bet they’ll make it.

And we’ve even seen the good old West Coast IPA has still got it, with Balter IIPA causing mass panic amongst beer drinkers each time it hits shelves. It’s safe to say that IPA is going nowhere.


Big Shed distilled its Golden Stout Time, Boatrocker released Dramjet. While Jamesons released its IPA Cask in 2016, but I’m only now seeing billboards for it in my neighbourhood. And more beer was going into whisky barrels, while whisky was being put back in to beer barrels by Wolf of the Willows.

Wildflower, Hop Nation, 3 Ravens (amongst others) kept playing with wine grapes or must. There are dry hopped pet-nat wines on shelves, and dry hopped cider is almost passe. I even got a delivery of dry hopped mead (tune into a show soon for more).

I know I’m missing a bunch, and I love that the line between drinks continues to blur. After all, it’s just different fermented sugars so why not put grapes with honey and then distill it?

Copyright and Label Issues 

If I’m honest, outside of inwardly gazing writers and a few legal experts, no one has really been too concerned with beer label copyright (in the sense I implied last year. There is currently a court case happening between La Sirene and Laneway Brewing of the word “Urban”).

While it has been talked about a bunch this year we still see all sorts of blatantly copyright infringing labels. So what the hell do I know. Go make a Orange Justice FortniteIPA and I’m sure it’ll be fine (this is a call back to the Fortnite joke up the top… it’s funny, trust me).

So this brings us to next year. Just what will be in store for the beer world? Find out early next week when ALL. WILL. BE. REVEALED


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