Carlton and United Breweries Ltd.
Carlton and United Breweries Ltd.
16 Bouverie Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Wholly-owned subsidiary of Elders IXL Limited
Sales: A$1.585 billion (US$1.055 billion)
As manufacturers of the extremely popular Foster’s Lager, Carlton and United Breweries have achieved impressive sales both in and outside Australia. Although Foster’s export history dates back to 1901, the company’s major international market thrust initiated in the 1970’s is realizing its full potential only at the present time. Moreover, since becoming a subsidiary in 1986 of Elders IXL Limited, an Australian conglomerate, the brewery has seen its worldwide marketing position significantly enhanced. Today, sales of Foster’s ranks it in the top ten of the world’s most successful beers.
Carlton’s growth is synonymous with the growth of Australia. During the gold rush era of the 1850’s inhabitants of Victoria were forced to confine their drinking to what was available: only English style ale, first imported and then brewed locally, was available to the growing population of fortune seekers and frontier people. Served at room temperature, the traditional ale was ill-suited to the warm climate. Immigrant tastes, however, could not be mollified for long; soon the market expanded to include locally brewed and more appropriate lagers.
Among the early entrepreneurs were two immigrant brothers, W.M. and R.R. Foster. Together in 1888 they built a modern lager brewery in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. To capitalize on the thirst-quenching quality of their product, the Foster brothers made sure the lager was served in its proper chilled form. They achieved this through the marketing ploy of supplying free ice with each sale.
Soon afterwards, they brought over a refrigeration engineer from New York to install an ice-making machine alongside the brewery. Before long a cold serving of Foster’s lager could be purchased in many of Victoria’s numerous hotels. Eventually, consumers of lager outnumbered patrons of traditional ale; the Foster brothers are given much of the credit for winning over local tastes.
In 1907 the Foster company joined an amalgamation of six Melbourne breweries to form the Carlton and United Breweries Proprietary Limited, the forerunner of Australia’s largest brewery. The founding partners included in the merger were the Victoria, Carlton, Castlemaine, McCracken’s, Shamrock and Foster’s companies. Today several of these labels continue to exist in Carlton’s product line, yet Foster’s remains the most popular of these brands.
In 1901 Australian soldiers serving in the Boer War in South Africa could enjoy the hometown taste of Foster’s. This marked the first time the lager was exported outside Australia. During World War I and II Australian troops overseas spread the name of Foster’s throughout the world. It is said that Australian servicemen and women revealed their nationality through their loyalty to Foster’s.
Despite the lager’s growing international fame, it was not until the 1970’s that the company embarked on concerted marketing policy to enhance Foster’s worldwide popularity. Among the many cities where the beer could be found were London, Hong Kong, and Manama, Bahrain. Foster’s marketing network was further enhanced by an agreement with Watney Mann and Truman Brewers, the large British brewery, to sell Foster’s in all of its 12,000 United Kingdom outlets. Today Carlton’s lager can be found in 80 countries. The U.S. and British sales of Foster’s recently benefited from a popular advertisement campaign. Actor and comedian Paul Hogan endorses the product using Australian colloquialisms and examples of local custom.
Carlton Breweries has long been recognized for its commitment to quality. In the earliest years, the Foster brothers hired a German-American brew-master to supervise operations at the new facility. The yeast strain that is said to give Carlton’s products their unique flavor was brought over from Europe in the 1920’s. During World War II all the original cultures were destroyed except one batch in Melbourne. Today the surviving Melbourne strain is kept active in the company’s control laboratory.
Carlton’s reputation as quality brewers increased with the development of their own hop variety. Unsatisfied with imported strains, Carlton scientists created the “Pride of Ringwood” variety. Today this variety is recognized around the world for its flavor. Carlton’s advanced technology achieved even wider fame with their development of an innovative method for extracting hops.
Further innovative achievements include their advancement of malt technology and their application of uses for genetic engineering. Of all Carlton’s research and development activities, yeast genetics appears to be the one with the most potential. Whereas in the past the company was compelled to import technical knowledge, breweries around the world now turn to Carlton for its expertise.
Carlton’s brewing stages begin with a germination process to convert barley into malt. Next the malt is stored in grist bins, mixed with hot water, and transferred into a mash “tun” (tank) where it is allowed to stand. Here the temperature changes the starch to fermentable sugar. The mixture is then passed to a lauter tun where the liquid is separated from the residue. This liquid, called brewing ”wort,” is placed in a kettle where sugars are added. The whole mixture is allowed to boil, coagulating the proteins into “trub.” The trub is then removed from the wort.
Fermentation begins with the chilling of the wort in order to allow the yeast to grow. This process continues until all fermentable sugars are consumed. The fermenter is then chilled to 4°C causing the yeast to drop to the bottom of the vessel. This is removed and the beer is placed in a storage vessel. After it is cooled to 1°C, the hop concentrate is added. The beer is then stored for a specified period of time. After storage the beer is passed through a filter and packaged into bottles and cans.
Carlton’s products are recognized for their consistency in taste and long shelf-life. To guarantee quality, 45 brewers, 40 engineering specialists, and 80 scientists and technicians oversee the brewing process.
Today Carlton’s achievements are a source of pride to Australians. The product line celebrates the diversity of local tastes by including a wide range of regional beers. The company is recognized for its commitment to environmental protection and the Australian economy. A recycling effort to recover bottles and cans finds the company working alongside many community organizations. Carlton is also a sponsor of many sports activities and social welfare programs.
In 1983 the largest takeover in Australian history occurred when Carlton and United Breweries was absorbed by the Australian conglomerate Elders IXL Limited. Elders’ operations are divided into five major groups, including brewing, agribusiness, international, finance and Elders resources. In addition to managing Carlton’s activities, the brewing group operates a hotel business, a wine and spirits division, and a beer marketing organization. In 1986 the group’s brewing business was augmented by its purchase of the Courage Brewing Group in the United Kingdom and the Canadian company Carling O’Keefe Limited.
Carlton’s market position has been enhanced by its subsidiary status. With Elders’ financial backing the brewing company has now launched a highly effective international marketing campaign. As Carlton’s products grow in popularity in worldwide markets, Foster’s lager remains the company’s most important brand.
Carlton Brewery Pty. Ltd.; Carlton & United Breweries (Queensland) Ltd.; Carlton & United Breweries (Rockhampton) Pty. Ltd.; Corner Pty. Ltd.; Court House Hotel Pty. Ltd.; C.U.B. Fibre Containers Pty. Ltd.; Derrimut Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Duke of Wellington Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Durham Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Edinburgh Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Edwardes Lake Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Joseph Pease (Pty.) Ltd.; Joseph Pease (Cairns) Pty. Ltd.; London House Pty. Ltd.; Marrara Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Max Cohn & Co. Pty. Ltd.; Melbourne Brewery Co. Pty. Ltd.; Middlesex Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Moorabbin Hotel Pty. Ltd.; Norfolk Hotel Pty. Ltd.; N.T. Brewery Pty. Ltd.; Pease Investments Pty. Ltd.; Penang Pty. Ltd.; Petroleum Distributors Pty. Ltd.; Production Investments Pty. Ltd.; Queensland Brewery Pty. Ltd.; Royare Pty. Ltd.; Samuel Allen & Sons Ltd. (91.4%); The Castlemaine Brewery Co. Melbourne Pty. Ltd.; The Foster Brewing Co. Pty. Ltd.; The Manufacturers’ Bottle Co. of Victoria Pty. Ltd.; The Oakleigh Pty. Ltd.; The Shamrock Brewing Co. Pty. Ltd.; Victoria Brewery Pty. Ltd.