Regional craft beer map launched at Great Australian Beer Festival

A regional craft beer map has been launched at the Great Australian Beer Festival in the New South Wales town of Albury this weekend.

The map is a joint project between festival organisers and tourism group Visit Albury Wodonga.

Both say the map reflects the increasing popularity of craft beers and the growing number of independent breweries operating out of north-east Victoria and the NSW Riverina.

The map includes 17 breweries with cellar doors.

It is hoped it will not only promote local breweries but attract tourists to explore and stay longer in the region.

Festival co-director Michael Ward said they had created a similar map for the Geelong region which had proven popular.

“It was met with such enthusiasm [and] it enabled visitors coming into town to plan their stay,” he said.

“It’s not only about visiting the breweries but taking in the tourist attractions along the way.”

Mr Ward said part of the attraction of craft beer was the various flavours now available to consumers.

“I had a beer last night with chestnuts in it — a chestnut pilsner,” Mr Ward said.

“The range of what is being put into craft beers now is incredible.

“There seems to be no limit as to what flavours adventurous brewers are experimenting with.”

Mr Ward said he was keen to launch the map at the beer festival because the event attracted craft beer lovers from all over Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

“It will put [the breweries] on people’s radars while they are in town,” he said.

“The wine industry in this region has been doing this well over the years and it’s about time the craft beer breweries started promoting themselves and their cellar doors.”

Andrew Bett from Malt Shed brewery in Wangaratta said the map was “fantastic” and would help put the smaller breweries on the map.

“It’s great for the lesser-known independent breweries,” he said.

“It gives people an idea of where we are and what we have for people to try.”

Albury City Tourism’s Sue Harper said Visit Albury Wodonga was keen to be involved in the project and called it “a great initiative”.

She said the region was a “rich” tourist destination.

The map includes a Kelly Country section where people can retrace the steps of Ned Kelly and his gang.

It includes a visit to Glenrowan, where the Kelly gang had its last stand, and Beechworth, where Kelly appeared in court.

Ms Harper said there were plenty of other outdoor activities in the area, including walking tracks, mountain biking, golfing, tennis, and depending on the season, a trip to the snow.

She said the map encouraged extra visitation to the region and hopes that will increase visitors’ time spent there.

“We are giving them extra reasons to stay longer,” she said.

The map will be available at Visitor Information Centres and online soon.