Beer starved Melburnians facing untold months of banishment from icy cold brewery fresh beers are creating pubs in their own homes in record numbers.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal the sale of kegerators has skyrocketed amid the state’s strict COVID-19 restrictions that have once again closed pubs from serving up isolated Victorians.
The kegerators allow owners to store anywhere up to four 20-litre kegs of beer or their very own commercial sized 50-litre keg of brew.
The move to home tap beers comes after months of lockdown that has seen most Melburnians deprived of heading to the pub for a frothy since March.
Mark Arioli, who operates The Brew Barn out of a warehouse in COVID plagued Hoppers Crossing – west of Melbourne – told Daily Mail Australia he could hardly keep up with demand for the kegerators.
‘They’re going out the door as fast as I can get my hands on them,’ he said. ‘I had 10 sitting here the other day and they’re all gone.’
Mr Arioli has operated his beer brewing business in Hoppers Crossing for about 10 years and continues to trade through the stage-four lockdown.
For about $800, beer lovers are able to get a fridge that fits in three 20 litre kegs with two taps.
Kegs of the precious amber liquid can be bought for as little as $60 a keg, which works out to about $30 a case.
Mr Arioli and his wife Karen brew up their own versions of a range of classic Aussie beers ranging from Victoria Bitter to Crown Lager.
But their own brews, such as a Canadian Creamy Ale, are also worth a pour.
Mrs Arioli said most people were buying kegerators because they were fed up with not being able to go to the pub.
‘They’re stuck at home. They’ve heard someone else at home is pouring their own beers and they’re interested,’ she said.
‘It it a saving as well and people do see that they make a saving from it.’
The kegerators also bring welcome relief to household recycling bins, many of which are overflowing with empty beer stubbies and cans.
‘You don’t have any of that drama. You just wash your glass and off you go,’ Mr Arioli said.
While countless beers can be bought and placed in the kegerators, creative Victorians have also been turning to brewing their own beers during the hard lockdown.
‘This is a perfect opportunity to make your own,’ Mr Arioli said. ‘They’re off work, they’re bored. They’re coming in, they’re buying beer kits, they’re buying distilling kits – so it’s going alright.’
It’s little wonder The Brew Barn is enjoying success while most Victorian companies are going down the drain.
‘People are probably drinking a bit more than they normally would. So it has been okay for us,’ Mr Arioli said.
As depressed Victorians overdose on day after day of grim news about COVID cases, death and lockdown hardships, they are finding moments of joy in our national love of beer.
Even under siege Premier Daniel Andrews is able to bring on a smile thanks to a clever remix of a press conference where he lashed out at Victorians he claimed had breached lockdown laws to ‘get on the beers’.
The clip was built around comments the premier made in March when he told Victorians not to ‘get on the beers’ at home with their friends in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
In NSW, which faces its own lockdown fears, fans of one of Australia’s oldest beers rejoiced last month at the return to shelves of Reschs Silver Bullet cans 15 years after they were pulled from sale.
Carlton & United Breweries finally brought back the cans to NSW bottle shops and pubs after a campaign by lovers of the pilsener.
Mr Arioli said Victorians in lockdown also had a taste for the hard stuff and were stripping his shelves of products to make their own spirits.
‘We’d have the biggest range in Australia for this stuff by far,’ he said.
While Mr Arioli said he felt for every publican out there forced out of business, he remained confident our love for beer would never die.
‘I feel sorry for those blokes, I tell ya,’ he said. ‘Beer will survive. It’s been going for 300, 400 years.’