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Little Creatures' big beer steps overseas

Little Creatures beer expansion. The Sip

Little Creatures is expanding to two new lucrative markets as the Fremantle born-and-raised brewery grows into Australia’s next world beer ambassador.

Next month Lion, Little Creatures' parent company, will stage a major event in Bangkok to herald its subsidiary's push into Asia.

Around the same time a specialised sales officer will be appointed to open a new door to the crazily-popular craft beer market in San Francisco - and the wider US west coast.

The major developments follow the success of Little Creatures’ brewpub in Hong Kong and take Little Creatures' overseas reach to 16 countries, including the UK.

While far from the exposure of Fosters overseas, even if much of that iconic beer isn’t made in this country, Little Creatures is building a strong international profile.

Indeed, it is becoming the spearhead of Australia's beer push to the world, a far cry from its early days replacing a crocodile farm on the edge of Perth's port well before the explosion of artisanal breweries.

Launching its beers into Bangkok, which it will do with a lavish Aussie BBQ-style party at the Radison Blu Plaza rooftop bar on April 5, will enhance the brand's Asian presence and help position the brewery to strive for a larger slice of the $500 million craft beer market in China.

And American brewing circles have been receiving information about the key sales post advertised by Little Creatures this week.

Little Creatures Brand Ambassador San Francisco The Sip

The job advertisement circulating in the US seeking a Little Creatures Brand Ambassador for San Francisco.

Comment has been sought from Lion and Little Creatures over the two important business moves.

However, it is the continuation of the dramatic rise of the brewery since it was set up by Howard Cearns, Nic Trimboli and Phil Sexton in 2000.

Little Creatures has since been floated on ASX (2006), sold to Lion (2012), established a sister brewery in Geelong (2013), moved into Hong Kong (2016), attracting 2500 visitors a week, and now has stretched across the Pacific to the west coast of the US, which, ironically gave Sexton the inspiration for the company’s flagship Pale Ale.

Sexton was exposed to Cascade hops during a stint at Bridgeport in Oregon during the early 1990s and threw them into his Pale Ale recipe on his return to Australia to set up Little Creatures later in the decade.

So the Pale Ale should suit the tastes of our cousins in California, Oregon and Washington State.

Lion head of global markets Matt Tapper told the Australian Financial Review he hoped to have Little Creatures in 25 overseas cities by the end of the year.

And China remains a big target.

"While it's early days, we are seeing really positive signs in China with craft continuing to be an emerging category especially amongst the millennial consumers – those 18 or 20 to 35-year-olds are our primary focus," he told AFR.

A pop-up Little Creatures bar has also opened in Shanghai.

An Austrade-led delegation of Australian brewery representatives toured China last month in the hope of seeking opportunities in the neighbour's burgeoning craft beer market.

Rapid riser Broo this week started production of its Premium Lager with the Jinxing Beer Group in southern China.

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