It is like asking to go to Venice in Italy and instead been flown to the Venetian in Las Vegas. It is not the same.
Below is an article I wrote for #brewedunderlicencefreemarch movement which we started to raise the issue of #brewedunderlicence beers in Australia. The movement worked in highlighting just how many ‘imported beers’ were actually brewed in Australia.
This was my take on it:
Being of Italian heritage, I love all things Italian. I ride a Vespa which I restored from Italy. I drink wine made in Italy, and importantly I like to drink beer brewed in Italy. I also love drinking Australian wines, German Riesling and so on. So much to my dismay, a few weeks ago, I ordered my favourite beer in the world, a Peroni from an Italian restaurant wanting to start the evening off on a good note. However when I tried the Peroni it tasted different. More like drinking a Crown Lager than the Peroni I have come to love.
Bizarre! How can a Peroni made and brewed in Italy taste like Crown Lager? Well after examining the bottle, it was revealed that this had been brewed under licence by Coca Cola! What shocked me is that I had no idea that my favourite beer in the world, is now made in Australia!! I felt cheated, like I had caught my wife in bed with another man!!
I posted this on twitter and much to my surprise over the space of a few days, fellow Peroni lovers had also been caught unaware by buying what they thought was the genuine Peroni brewed in Italy but had been given an Australian equivalent that tasted to us, Peroni lovers, as something totally different from the original. We started the hash tag #realperoni on twitter for fellow Peroni lovers and the response has been phenomenal. In the space of a few short weeks, people had been going to restaurants and wine stores and asking first where the Peroni was brewed before buying it. If they were told it was imported and the ‘brewedunderlicence’ Peroni was served, they were sending it back.
The aim of the movement is not only to encourage people to buy and drink imported beer from the country it originated from but also educate people who might be thinking they are drinking Peroni from Italy, Becks from Germany but have been given these beers brewed in Australia. Why is this big deal? Well they taste different. They are not the same product, it is different. It is like asking to go to Venice in Italy and instead been flown to the Venetian in Las Vegas. It is not the same.
If I want to buy Peroni, I want Peroni. Not a beer brewed in Australia, using Australian water.
It is easy to check if your imported beer is made in Australia. Beers under licence in Australia have an Australian barcode which signifies that it is Australian made. So the Australian Peroni has a barcode that starts with 93. The genuine Peroni has a barcode starting with 80 which signifies it has been brewed in Italy. The back label should also mention if the beer has been brewed under licence in Australia or made in the correct country of origin.
#brewedunderlicencefreemarch is about drinking your imported beer of choice, from the country which it has originated from. So Kirin from Japan, Stella from Belgium, Becks from Germany and most importantly Peroni from Italy.
From our #brewedunderlicencefreemarch movement, Max Allen took it one step further and wrote a brilliant piece in the Weekend Australian Magazine highlighting this issue nationally.
Now nearly every decent restaurant in Melbourne is serving #realitalianbeer made from the country it originated from. It gives me great satisfaction to actually be able to go to Cafe Di Stasio, Il Bacaro or Grossi Florentino now and order a Nastro Azzurro brewed in Italy. Twelve months ago this probably wasn’t the case. Furthermore, these iconic restaurants were not even told that it had changed from being brewed in Italy to brewed under license in Australia. How bad is that?!!!
The next step for me will be to get the packaging cleared up for beers that are brewed under licence in Australia. If the beer is made and brewed in Australia? Why is all the details on the front label in Italian? It is not Italian. I will save that for next years #brewedunderlicencefreemarch ……