Froth’s NSW correspondent Marie Claire Jarratt checks out the Sydney bottle-o that’s devoted to beer cans.
The humble tinnie is making a comeback. Described by Pirate Life CEO – and craft beer can devotee – Michael Cameron as “the fastest growing trend in craft beer”, an increasing number of craft breweries are choosing to can. It was a mere six years ago when the Australian Brewery became the country’s first craft brewery to embrace the tinnie, with the number now rising to well over 16.
Each one of these Australian breweries, as well as popular international brands, currently stock the shelves at Medhurst & Sons – Australia’s only craft beer store dedicated entirely to tinnies. “When opening the store, I didn’t want to compete with places like Beer Cartel and The Oak Barrel,” says store owner Kieran Allen. “I think I’ve found my own niche in the market.”
Kieran, who uses mother’s maiden name for his store, has plenty of experience following the trends of craft beer. Since 2013, he’s gypsy brewed under the brand Pixel Brewing Co, as well as working part-time for the aforementioned Beer Cartel.
A huge fan of the can, Kieran has dedicated an entire wall of his store to a blackboard listing no less than 31 reasons why tinnies are superior to bottles. They range from the practical, “super portable” and “reduce light/oxygen” to the technically yet unproven “can be used to vanquish werewolves”.
Given the aesthetic focus of his store, one of Kieran’s most prominent reasons is label artwork. “There’s much more real estate with which to brand, so a there’s often a lot more effort put in to the design,” he says. “My personal favourite is Pirate Life’s Pale Ale. The design is simple and it’s a style I particularly appreciate, which they’ve done very well.”
However, tinnies aren’t the only hand Kieran has in the niche market. He’s also the proud owner of over 100 varieties of local and international craft cider, making him Australia’s largest cider store, “a fact no-one has disputed just yet.”
“When I worked at Beer Cartel, people would often come in asking for a range of cider,” says Kieran. “At the time, they were more interested in expanding their range of beer. I asked if they cared if I started a cider store and they didn’t, so that’s how I got the idea for this place.”
“A lot of people will come in, asking for a recommendation, but most people know what they’re looking for – they’ve been down to the cellar doors in Tasmania and now they’re chasing a particular brand.”
Rarites on his shelves include Two Metre Tall and Napoleone, as well as uncommon styles such as the cloudy, uncarbonated ‘scrumpy’ and ‘bitter cider’, with added hops. “There’s very little sweet cider here – it’s mainly on the medium or dry side.”
For colder nights, Medhurst & Sons offers spice packs to make mulled cider at home, while their range of hard lemonade and ginger beer is more suited to warmer weather. “I had a little bit to start off with and was surprised by the number of people who came in after seeing it on the blackboard outside,” says Kieran. “Now I’ve tried to source as much as possible.”
Kieran’s entire range of cider and craft beer tinnies is available online at medhurstandsons.com.au or in-store at 166 St Johns Rd, Glebe.
Marie Claire Jarratt writes about the NSW craft beer scene at newsouthales.com