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Carlton & United Breweries is the most iconic beer company in Australia, with a history dating back to 1832


















Peter Degraves creates delicious alternative to imported liquor using pristine Tasmanian ingredients

In the early 19th century there were very few breweries in Australia, so people drank expensive imported brands from England or ‘rot-gut’ liquors - said to send men mad. Peter Degraves was a fixer - he devised a way to divert fresh water to Hobart town and even submitted plans for improving a Hobart jail during his incarceration there in 1826. Although these two plans failed, Degraves’ plans for a brewery that produced ‘genuine beer … beer that cannot be excelled in this colony’ succeeded and Cascade Brewery Co. was born in 1832. Degraves used the sparkling fresh mountain water from the cascades as well as Tasmania’s quality hops to create the first great Australian beer.

Cascade Brewery Co. was born in 1832

Thomas Aitken discovers how to quench a hard earned thirst

In 1854 Thomas Aitken founded the Victoria Brewery and became famous for his award winning bitter ales, brewed to provide refreshment in the harsh Australian climate. Aitken’s Victoria Bitter Ale quickly became a popular drink for thirsty miners drawn to Victoria during the gold rush.

The Clydesdales at the Victoria Brewery, 1870

Immigrant Edward Latham buys a brewery in Carlton and founds an empire

Latham didn’t have any brewing experience but he knew a good opportunity when he saw one, so he bought the Bouverie St operation in 1864 and renamed it Carlton Brewery. For his head brewer, Latham hired Gisborne-born Alfred Terry who had the magic touch when it came to brewing palatable, bright and clear beer which preserved well. Terry’s lighter colonial beers were much easier to drink in the Australian heat than the heavy European imports and soon barrels of freshly brewed Carlton Ale were being transported by Clydesdale to hotels throughout the city.

The Carlton Brewery, circa 1867

The Carlton Brewery Fire Brigade becomes a community leader

In the 19th century, most buildings in Melbourne were made of wood and although fires were common, there was no official fire brigade. Carlton Brewery decided to pitch in and quickly developed a brigade made up of volunteer brewery workers. The Carlton Brewery Fire Brigade was one of Melbourne’s best and most efficient - it’s said that they could have an engine horsed and ready within 40 seconds of the fire alarm sounding. The brigade was also innovative - brigade leader and head brewer Alfred Terry invented a safer type of ‘jump sheet’ to break the fall of people jumping out of the windows of burning buildings.

Carlton Fire Brigade No. 5 Station

The Foster Brothers pioneer the concept of a cold beer on a hot summer day

In 1887, New York-born brothers William and Ralph Foster used an innovative engine-powered refrigeration process to brew Foster's Lager and store it for 60 days at 1.6 degrees Celsius, which aided fermentation. Foster’s Lager premiered in Melbourne on 1 February 1889 (the city’s hottest month). In an ingenious marketing ploy, any hotel that agreed to sell Foster’s received a free supply of ice and the concept of drinking a cold beer on a summer's day (up until this point beer was consumed at room temperature) quickly caught on.

Foster's Lager on sale in Melbourne

Local breweries unite in tough economic times to create CUB

The 1890s depression hit Victoria hard, forcing many breweries to close and leaving those that remained in fierce competition. In 1907 the Foster’s, Carlton, Victoria, Shamrock, McCracken and Castlemaine breweries decided that the only way to survive was to band together and Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) was formed. CUB quickly became a success by taking a scientific approach to brewing, resulting in better flavours and greater consistency.

Carlton Brewery staff, 1907

CUB becomes the employer of choice for footballers

It’s been said that at any time in the 1930s CUB could have fielded a mighty football team, such was its popularity as an employer of players. At one point, there were so many Collingwood players working at the brewery that a ban was put on employing players from that particular club! Carlton Brewery also employed Charlie Pannam, the first VFL player to reach 100 games and Richmond’s captain throughout its inaugural VFL season.

Carlton Brewery workers, 1930s

The Great Northern Brewery in Cairns joins the CUB family

Melbourne-brewed beer had been shipped to north Queensland since the turn of the century but it was difficult to maintain quality, and wharf labourers as well as railway men often drilled holes in the barrels to steal their share of beer. So CUB bought the then struggling Great Northern Brewery and steered it through the Great Depression.

The Great Northern Brewery, 1930s

CUB bolsters morale during wartime

During World War II, beer was rationed in Australia so Foster's and VB could be sent to troops stationed in Australia and overseas. It was said that a simple bottle of Foster’s would do more for morale than anything except a War Office message that you were to be shipped home on the next boat.

Australian troops enjoy some VB during WWII

CUB introduces canned beer to Australia

CUB was the first Australian brewer to trial beer in a can with both Foster’s and VB. Over 2 million cans sold in the first month.

The original Foster's and VB cans, circa 1958

Carlton Draught puts bottled beer back in the game

Canned beer became hugely popular after its introduction, so much so that bottled Carlton brands disappeared altogether until Carlton Draught was officially named and introduced as packaged beer in 1967.

The introduction of stubbies makes drinking beer from bottles convenient

With the rise in popularity of steel cans the glass industry had to innovate, and their answer was the stubbie. Stubbies were originally named steinies because they resembled the traditional German beer stein. These bottles could be packed into smaller spaces for transport, weighed less and had fewer instances of breakage, making them perfect for transporting beer across large distances to thirsty towns all around the country.

Packaged and kegged Carlton Draught leaving the brewery, 1967

VB achieves its ultimate form

The first VB stubby is released.

On the inspection line at the Abbotsford Brewery

Powers Brewery commences production at Yatala in Queensland

Today Yatala is CUB’s most efficient brewery. It produces around 400 million litres of beer each year (that's around 45 million slabs) and is a world-leader in water efficiency.

Yatala Brewery

We cut the carbs but keep the flavour with Pure Blonde

CUB launches Pure Blonde - pioneering the low carbohydrate beer segment in Australia.

Pure Blonde

CUB bottles the taste of Queensland with Great Northern

Back when it opened in 1924, the Great Northern Brewing Co. brewed beer for locals, by locals. In 2010, CUB revived the Cairns brand to offer Australia a taste of the north with a super crisp, full strength lager that cuts through the tropical heat.

The beer from up here

CUB launches Carlton Zero, the first non-alcoholic beer in its 180-year history.

Carlton Zero

CUB joins Asahi Beverages, creating the best beverages portfolio in Australia.



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