Black Giraffe loose in Burleigh

Written on the 1 December 2010

JULY 2010

BURLEIGH Brewing Company has embarked on a bold collaboration with Zarraffa’s Coffee to trial an innovative brewing process to potentially bolster traditionally slow winter sales.

The Black Giraffe beverage has been trialled in small batches but both parties are adamant the fusion of never before seen levels of coffee and beer will be a hit with consumers.

With thousands of dollars of coffee alone in a single batch of Black Giraffe, Brewery CEO Peta Fielding says the team has deployed some creative licence but at the end of the day any concept must be commercially viable.

“Our system produces 600 cartons of beer (per Black Giraffe batch) and you can’t just do that on a whim, you’ve got to know that in doing that your coming up with something that’s commercially realistic as well,” she says.

“They come up with all kinds of crazy ideas and fun things and a lot of them would taste fabulous, but unless we find the space on bottle shop shelves and beer lists in restaurants to sell a lot of them it’s probably not realistic.”

Master brewer Brennan Fielding has trialled ‘coffee beers’ in the past, however not in the volume or brewing process seen with the limited release product.

“People who have done coffee beers in the past generally brew coffee and then add it to the beer during the fermentation process, (however) we’re integrating the coffee into the beer up at the brewing end,” he says.

“There is going to be some caffeine carried through into the beer but it’s not going to be significant; less than a quarter cup of a coffee per 650ml bottle. It’s really much more about the aromatics of the coffee.”

Known for his meticulous attention to detail, Zarraffa’s Coffee founder and CEO Kenton Campbell selected high grade beans to enhance the flavours and ‘give it a bit of a story’. The Seattle-born entrepreneur is ‘quietly hoping that there’ll be a bit of a kick’.

“It’s a Mexican rainforest alliance bean, tree dried so it’s actually dried on the tree and then picked, and it gives it a really ‘chocolatey’ and pungent taste so I’m hoping that those things will last in the brewing process,” explains Campbell.

With only 600 cartons brewed as part of a limited edition winter release, Peta Fielding isn’t actively marketing the product but expects it to be popular enough for replication next year.

“We have to let the products sell themselves because we are a tiny brewery compared with the big guys and (with) our marketing budget we would get no visibility up against those big marketing campaigns,” she says.

“We like people to discover our products and tell other people about them, and we think that as long as we keep the products good and the packaging noticeable then we’re probably half way down that path.”

Black Giraffe is expected to retail at $8-10 per bottle in bottle stores and could fetch up to $20 in Gold Coast restaurants.


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