Ever wondered why Sydney-siders drink Tooheys New, Melbourne folk enjoy VB and our friends in Brisbane love a cold XXXX in their local pubs. We have. So, in order to find out, we did a bit of research and found that Australia has a unique history when it comes to beer and pubs and that the main reason for these localised drinking tastes is something that on the surface would seem unrelated..
Without going into too much detail, before 1901, Australia was a bunch of separate colonies as opposed to a country. As such, each colony had their own laws and governed themselves independently and because of this, it wasn’t till the 1880’s (which is quite late in historical terms) that Australia had a national rail network.
So WTF does this have to do with beer and pubs? Well because of this, it was simply too expensive for local breweries to export beer to the different colonies so each city was stuck with what was produced by their local breweries (see below)
New South Wales: Tooheys, Reschs, Hahn, James Squire and KB Lager
Victoria: Carlton Draught, Victoria Bitter and Melbourne Bitter
Queensland: XXXX and Powers
South Australia: West End, Southwark and Coopers
Tasmania: Boags in the north, Cascade in the south
Western Australia: Swan and Emu
So basically, 130 years later these tastes have largely remained the same (who said Australia doesn’t have history), in part due to the Australia and the high esteem it holds drinking culture in. VB is the number 1 beer in Melbourne pubs; XXXX still remains the number 1 beer in Brisbane pubs, Tooheys the number 1 in Sydney pubs.
Next time you’re watching TV and can’t help but grind your teeth when listening to a weedlike politicians spout some nonsense about an issue you don’t care about, just remember it was this incompetence that led to the quintessentially unique beer and pub culture we hold so dear.