Not everyone was drowning their sorrows in a mid-strength brew at the announcement of the Perth Stadium liquor licence guidelines.
You could almost hear a cacophony of cash registers counting the money that will pass through The Camfield, the 2500-patron capacity entertainment precinct a drop punt from what we will now refer to as ‘3.5 Percent Park’.
And maybe the bean counters with James Packer’s resort, which stands a couple of crisp Steve Smith off-drives from where 52,000 people will be regularly denied the chance to have a full strength beer, are performing high fives in their window-less office.
Both venues are the biggest winners from any event at the venue because those keen on a full flavoured beer will flock to those facilities to satisfy their thirst, even if Gage Roads has some tasty mid-strengths to enjoy including new brew Alby.
But another premises, a true craft operation called Blasta Brewing, will also be punching the air at the liquor licensing arrangements at 3.5 Percent Park.
Three weeks ago Blasta got its own licence for its new headquarters – and not only can they sell beers of 5% - even stronger – they can make them there, too.
The licensing was the final hurdle for Blasta, the brainchild of former FIFO worker Steve Russell, pictured top.
Soon a US-imported system will kick into action providing a full theatre of brewing just a 13-minute walk from 3.5 Percent Park. Blasta is a short rugby pass from Burswood train station, so punters leaving Belmont Park can get off at the next stop.
For the moment Russell has been brewing with Wedgetail Brewing in Mandurah. And Blasta’s beers were on show at the Freo Beer Fest last week. They have also appeared a Caboose, Petition, even the Royston in Melbourne.
So while there won’t be any heavy body drops at Perth’s near-$2 billion multi-purpose facility, there is a full strength gem ready to be unearthed just around the corner.
The stadium’s licensing decision is just another example of government (the licensing department is just an arm of it) trying to protect the public from themselves.
Why the Victorian model, which allows full strength at day matches only, couldn’t have been tried, even just for a year, again shows the State isn’t fair dinkum about offering the right type of hospitality to locals and tourists alike.
One irony from the adjudication is that Coopers has kicked a few goals, too. Under the tender it won to supply brews for the stadium, Gage Roads had to provide “international” brand beers to the 8000 from the top end of town who will frequent the corporate areas. None of Gage Road's range fitted the bill.
Gage Roads linked with Coopers' distribution arm, Premium Beverages, to satisfy the tender condition. Premium Beverages, through Coopers, brews and markets international brand beers.
So under the supply deal with Gage Roads, Carlsberg, Sapporo and Kronenbourg 1664 - all coming from Coopers' Adelaide base - will be in the fridges for the elites at the WA taxpayer funded stadium.
These aren’t the “local” beers Premier Mark McGowan championed when he announced Gage had won the tender.