AFTER a hard day’s toil on his Coly farm, Steve Burgess likes nothing more than to sink into his lounge with a Crown Lager.
And never has his favourite beer tasted so sweet.
In a coup for the region, Mr Burgess was this month announced as one of only three grain farmers nationwide to provide the barley for the iconic CUB label.
As part of the beer’s new formula, the quality parameters of the barley used – which is converted to malt and brewed into the lager – have been tightened.
“It was always promoted as a premium beer but now they’re really pushing to get the finest ingredients,” Mr Burgess said.
“They’re only taking the best of the best and we were one of only three growers to make the cut.”
Only the largest, plumpest grains will be taken by the brewery, and the barley must have a protein range of between 10 and 11 per cent.
“It’s not every day you can say you’re growing barley exclusively for Crown Lager,” Mr Burgess said.
The three growers will produce between 6000 and 7000 tonnes annually for Crown, with the Burgesses to supply almost half of it.
“The irony is it was always my favourite beer,” Mr Burgess said.
“Unfortunately I don’t get a free supply as part of the contract.”
He said the deal was not only a boon for his farming business, but for the whole region.
“Things are starting to happen in the food industry and our area is starting to be recognised for the uniqueness and quality of what we produce,” Mr Burgess said.
Grain Producers Australia chairman Andrew Weidemann described the CUB deal as an “exciting development”.
“Having the grains industry lined up with such an iconic product like Crown Lager and showing the sophistication of how the grains supply chain can manage product from farm gate to consumers is a great story and good message for the Australian grains industry,” he said.