Great Northern is the beer that has taken the Australian beer market by storm rising rapidly from its launch in 2010 to become the nation’s top seller.
Available in Great Northern Original, Great Northern Super Crisp (mid strength) and Great Northern Zero (zero alcohol) Great Northern tapped into Australian drinkers’ preferences for a clean, crisp lager style beer with relatively little flavor or bitterness. It is also a relatively low calorie beer (see here for details on how many calories and carbs in Great Northern).
This pale, lightly and low alcohol beer, backed by slick marketing campaigns based on getting outdoors in Northern Australia, has become a sales phenomenon.
Where Is Great Northern Made?
Great Northern – the popular Australian lager is brewed in Queensland at Great Northern Brewing’s Yatala brewery on the Gold Coast.
Due it’s extraordinary sales success, Great Northern has also been brewed at the parent company’s plant in inner Melbourne too.
Originally Great Northern was only available in Queensland.
Queensland beer lovers soon spread the word and holidaymakers from other states took to the taste of it and began to request it back in their home states and interstate hoteliers began to stock it.
Although the marketing slogan for Great Northern is “The Beer for Up Here” suggesting a kind of paroachialism, or that it is for drinking locally, it is has done nothing to halt the rampaging demand for this top selling beer in other states.
It is now available nationwide in draft and package form and has become an iconic brand Australia wide.
Who Owns Great Northern?
In terms of major brands, the Australian beer market is essentially a duopoly with two Japanese brewing giants – Asahi and Kirin – owning most of the main brands.
This situation evolved when Kirin bought out the Toohey’s portfolio and Asahi acquired Carlton United Breweries’ brands and operations.
Great Northern Brewing, the company behind the beer, is owned by Asahi Beverages through it’s Carlton United Breweries subsidiary.
Great Northern Brewing was named after CUB’s first brewery in Queensland – the original Great Northern Brewery – which was situated in Cairns.
Great Northern Brewing Company’s website says:
“The Great Northern Brewery was established in Cairns in 1927 to brew beer specifically to suit the conditions up here. In tribute to this brewery and its beer, the Great Northern Brewing Co. continues this tradition. We brew our beer for longer to produce a super crisp, refreshing lager.”
Final Thoughts on Great Northern
As a fan of more heavily hopped and flavorful beers, Great Northern is not my drink of choice. It tends to be shunned by beer lovers as insipid and weak. But it’s popularity and brewing success story can’t be argued with.
On a recent summer holiday at a caravan park in NSW I observed that Great Northern was practically the only beer being drunk by guests at the park.
Many of them would start drinking relatively early in the day and I think having a mid strength is probably an advantage to them in this environment.
You get the enjoyment of drinking beer without getting out of control. I think the fact that Great Northern Super Crisp is marketed as crisper version of Great Northern Original Recipe rather than a mid strength helps with it’s appeal.