Coeliacs rejoice, Australian-made gluten-free craft beer is now available.
Established to cater to the growing market of those with a gluten intolerance, Twobays Brewing Company has released a line of four different brews including an IPA, summer and pale ales.
Founder Richard Jeffares came up with the idea after travelling to America where he found a burgeoning craft beer scene with brewers producing high-quality gluten-free beers in line with emerging market trends.
“Wine is pressed using an assortment of grape varieties and beer can be brewed from many grains – not just barley, wheat and rye”, he said.
“Gluten free grains have their own flavour profile, which is different to barley, but we don’t see that as a barrier; we see it as an opportunity.”
While beer is traditionally made with barley, Jeffares says that gluten-free grains including millet, sorghum, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, corn, lentils and even chestnuts could be used to make beer.
“There is no doubt that barley is the predominant beer-brewing malt, but gluten free grains have been used in brewing for more than 5,000 years – so it’s been done before.”
Australian Gluten-Free Sector Booms
Changes in attitudes towards intolerances has seen a significant increase in the number of patients diagnosed with a gluten intolerance over the past two decades. Today, it is estimated that up to 11% of Australians follow a gluten-free diet, providing ample opportunities for manufacturers able to develop alternatives to mainstream food products.
“The fact that coeliac disease is incurable and must be treated through a lifetime commitment to a gluten-free diet has created huge opportunities for the growth of companies producing foods that are free of gluten,” said Dr Kim Faulkner-Hogg, a dietician who specialises in gluten-free diets.
Domestically, the gluten-free food sector was valued at US$90 million in 2014, with an expected 11 per cent annual increase on that figure until 2020. Australia is ranked as the leading producer of gluten-free foods in the Asia Pacific and a significant exporter to continents including the US and Europe.
Globally, the industry is worth US$4.72 billion (2017), with growth expected to increase this figure to $9.24billion by 2022.
Given Australia’s early foray into the sector, it is well positioned to capitalise on potential future growth. As research catches up with anecdotal theories about gluten free products the outlook for the sector is positive.
“There’s enough medical evidence to know that wheat does play a role. But science is only now catching up and answering questions such as, does a gluten-free diet lead to a decrease in dementia and arthritis,” said Dr Faulkner-Hogg.
“The fact that more than 80 per cent of coeliacs remain undiagnosed hints at the huge potential of this industry to grow even further. Expect the next 10 years to be astronomical.”