One fine day in 1887, two yanks of Irish extraction William M. Foster and his brother Ralph R. Foster stepped off a boat in Melbourne.† They had sailed from New York, USA with the dream of starting a successful brewery on the other side of the world.† They set up the Fosters Brewing Company on Rokeby Street in Collingwood.† The first Fosters was brewed in 1888.
The Fosters brought something relatively new
to Australia - a local lager. No trace of what the Fosters brothers
subsequently did in the USA has been found.†
No doubt these Americans did not realise that one day their name would
be promoted as ďAustralian for BeerĒ.
At turn of the century, Fosterís was still a relatively small operation but it was already starting to take the first steps in its future direction.† It was sending beer to all Australian states and exporting to Samoa and South Africa.† In 1908, not long after its amalgamation into CUB, the Fosterís brewery at Rokeby Street was closed and the Fosterís name was almost lost.† CUB only continued to brew Fosterís because of orders from Queensland and Western Australia.
The Fosterís yeast in use today was brought
to Carlton in 1923 from Professor Jorgensen in Denmark.
In 1971 Fosterís was introduced to England
through Barry Humphriesí highly successful ocker film
called The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.† Bazza almost spent the entire film with a
Fosterís in his hand.† The eyes of the
English were opened to this wonderful antipodean brew.† Fosterís came to the USA in 1972.† It success there is linked with its with
sponsorship of sporting events.†
Fosterís sponsored the 1972 Americaís Cup challenge and tennis champions
such as the great John Newcombe.† John
once said that he drank five 26 oz. cans after each tennis match!† The novelty value of the large 26 oz. cans,
known as Oil Cans, also greatly contributed to Fosterís initial popularity.
It was not until 1977 that Fosterís Lager
became Australiaís leading brand.
In 1981 some Fosterís yeast was flown to
England and Fosterís Draught began to be brewed over there.† Fosterís Draught was a modified version of
Fosterís Lager, modified to make it more appealing to the English palate.† Sales grew exponentially.† Locally canned Fosterís Lager was first sold
in England in 1984.
Fosterís phenomenal growth had been aided by
the fair dinkum Paul Hogan (who later went on to make it big as Crocodile
Dundee).† By the time of his first
appearance for Fosterís he had already moved on from his job as a rigger on the
famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and was a popular comedian.† His first Fosterís commercial went like this:
ďGíDay.† Theyíve asked me over from Oz to introduce youse all to Fosterís Draught, here it is.† Cripes!† Iíd better start with the basics.† Itís a light, golden liquid, like, except for the white bit on top, the head, and itís brewed from malt, yeast and hops.† Technical term is Lager.† Thatís L-A-G-E-R.† But everyone calls it Fosterís.† Ahhhh, ripper!† Tastes like an angel cryiní on yer tongue.† Fosterís.Ē
And so the paths of two Aussie legends crossed. †
Fosterís connection with sport also
continued.† It was the official Olympic
beer for Australia at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.† More importantly, on 1 April 1985 it was announced that the
Melbourne Cup would henceforth be known as the Fosterís Melbourne Cup.† The running of the race is celebrated all
around Australia.† The Cup is ďthe race
that stops a nationĒ and is a public holiday in Victoria.† Mark Twain was amazed at its almost religious
significance.† Fosterís was the official
beer of the Adelaide Grand Prix, now the Melbourne Grand Prix, and the Aussie
Rules grand final.† It was also
emblazoned on Kookaburra IIIís spinnaker after its unsuccessful 1987 defence of
the Americaís Cup.† In addition Fosterís
sponsors cycling, tennis and golf.
In 1986 CUB began brewing Fosterís in Canada in
partnership with Carling OíKeefe Ltd.†
Paul Hogan was flown in to promote it and again was hugely successful.
Today Fosterís is brewed in 8 countries, namely, Australia, Canada, China, England, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden.† It is sold in over 135 countries.
Fosterís is the leading foreign beer in many
markets.† Itís one of a handful of truly
global beer brands.† A real true blue Australian thatís
made it good!
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