It is business as usual at the Queens.
And business is the key word for the veteran pub in the Perth suburb of Highgate.
The Queens crew feel as they have become collateral damage in the Australian Leisure and Hospitality decision to split their hotel taps between Big Beer pair Lion and CUB.
Cue the uproar.
Those who are most vocal on the internet raised concerns that as owner of the Queens, ALH would immediately commit craft beer bastardry and force the tavern to abandon a long link to independent brewers. Cries of sell-out could be heard emanating from the social media boards.
However, according to WA-based ALH operations manager Ric Torchia reports of the death of choice at the Queens was grossly exaggerated.
“Nothing’s changed,” Torchia said. “We’re just not going to carry those (underperforming) taps and I think that puts us on par with the industry.
“We haven’t sold out. If you can’t sell a keg a week then that beer will probably go because it is taking up valuable tap real estate.
“But nothing’s come off or coming off that’s not strong. We’ve not lost any customers to a tap decision. And we will still be dealing with craft breweries.
“I think we got painted in a bad light when the news came out. But we continue as normal.”
Torchia says the 127-year-old Queens will retain some autonomy over the use of its 38 tap points.
Currently the venue has Feral’s Hop Hog, Cowaramup’s Pilsener, Mash’s Copy Cat, Matso’s Ginger Beer, Gage Road’s Little Dove and Nail Outmeal Stout as part of its tap line-up.
It also has Matilda Bay’s Redback available, which is significant given the Queens was one of the original Brewtech pubs that helped start the craft beer revolution in Perth in the mid-1980s. Brewtech was part of the emerging Matilda Bay empire that grew from Fremantle.
However, Torchia points out that James Squire 150 Lashes and Hahn Super Dry are the two highest selling beers at the premises. Hop Hog registers sixth.
And it must be remembered the Queens is a business not a pro bono supporter of small breweries. However, the venue wants to succeed in the former while being cognisant of the latter.
The Queens has also been the base for the successful Brewers’ Loft series in which each month an independent beer maker gets to showcase their wares in the upstairs area.
Backed by the offer of $5 pints the sessions have drained 94 kegs over 13 different brewer sessions.
Torchia has backed the continuation of the series in 2017 with Billabong and Homestead breweries already locked in after the festive/summer season.
“We very much want them to continue and I think we’re close to locking in the first four for next year,” Torchia said.