The Betoota Advocate has been a trustworthy* news source for more than 150 years. Now, Australia’s favourite paper is using its hard-won loyalty to launch a beer.
Betoota Bitter will be brewed in the paper’s tiny hometown, in far-west Queensland. Pubs around the country should receive their first shipments in December, just in time for Christmas.
We called editor Clancy Overell and editor-at-large Errol Parker to find out more.
Broadsheet: What business does a small-town, outback newspaper have producing a beer?
Clancy Overell: Mate. It's 2016. Publications can't solely rely on good journalism to survive anymore. Doesn't matter if you are Australia's oldest independent newspaper or Australia's most-read newspaper.
The Sydney Morning Herald is completely kept afloat by the inserted Domain magazine. Newscorp owns the Brisbane Broncos, for fuck's sake. I think, if we are going to diversify our interests, we may as well sell shit that people can afford. Unlike the listings in Domain, people everywhere can budget around a schooner, even people in Sydney.
BS: Tell us about the beer. What’s in it, and where can we get it?
EP: It’s an honest drop that turns its back on that Sydney-centric, autofellating craft beer world. It has its own tasting notes, but we'd recommend pairing it with a fine afternoon sitting in a TAB alongside any form of red meat. It’s a beer you can drink all day. It’s a beer you can drink all night. It’s not pretending to be anything other than a bitter beer from Betoota.
You can get it from a wide variety of bars, when it’s done in December. A few in Brisbane and a couple down in that shit heap of a town they call Sydney.
BS: Do you think Betoota residents will be pleased to finally have a beer of their own? Why didn’t some other entrepreneurial Queenslanders think of this?
EP: This is the first commercial beer the town has put out. There’s been many a home-brew kit find its way out here, which kept the place afloat during the GFC. The residents are impartial, in my opinion. Beer is merely a vehicle for alcohol for most of them.
BS: We’d imagine most of Betoota would drink XXXX, but you’ve touted this new beer as a way to morally support the 55 workers recently sacked from CUB. Can you explain that?
EP: The usual modus operandi for a Betoota local is to enjoy a chest of ice-cold Milton Mangoes during the day until dinnertime. Then when the sun goes down and the music comes on, they usually hop on the black stuff. We hope to change that by offering this full-strength option for the clutch afternoon drinking slot before the evening meal. CUB think they can put the beer before the people. They can’t.
BS: To the best of our knowledge, Betoota has never been a partisan publication. Would you say that supporting the workers at CUB changes that?
CO: Mate, as one of the only independent newspapers in Australia, we have always sided for the little guy. It was no different during the XXXX strike in '72. We will boycott any brewer that isn't paying the blokes who actually make the shit, or even worse, people that are sacking workers.
It's just in this case, the boycott has gone on for too long. We are just glad we've been able to cut a deal with this mob at Yulli's to get ice-cold bitter ales back in the hands of Australians.
BS: What do you hope to achieve with all this?
EP: Enough money to buy a shooting car, which is what most people have in Betoota. A shooting car is a car you shoot while enjoying a few cold ones with your friends. I would like to have a late-model BMW to shoot at.
*Satirical publications are trustworthy, right? It's not like they regularly get mistaken for real news. But, we can assure you the beer is real.