Queensland’s original beer baron gives drinkers a blast from the past

Power’s, the home-grown beer that took on the might of Australia’s biggest brewers and won (at least for a while) is back in the bars and bottle shops of the state that embraced it so enthusiastically in the 1980s and 1990s.

Feb 08, 2023, updated Feb 08, 2023
Former beer baron Bernard Power is lending his name to another Queensland beer. (Supplied image).

Former beer baron Bernard Power is lending his name to another Queensland beer. (Supplied image).

Carlton and United Breweries has launched a new lager, dubbed Power’s Ultra Smooth, which the company hopes will carve out a lasting presence in Queenslanders’ drinking habits.

The new beer rides on the back of a durable Queensland business legend, that of how publican Bernie Power built a brewery on the highway at Yatala in 1988 and went on to capture about 20 per cent of the state’s beer market.

Two generations after Power’s first burst onto the Queensland brewing scene, its new beer enters an entirely different market, driven by small business innovation among craft breweries as much as by decisions of multinational beverage giants.

“The relaunch of the Power’s brand marks the return of a Queensland icon that celebrated our underdog spirit and showed the rest of Australia there was nothing we couldn’t do,” CUB state manager Ian Giles said.

“People are yearning for simpler times, the pandemic is almost over and Queensland is well and truly open for business. Now is the right time to relaunch the Power’s brand so a new generation of beer lovers can enjoy this uniquely Queensland beer.”

Bernie Power himself said the return of the brand he created was a “wonderful thing”.

“Making a beer that resonates with people is a challenging thing, and I know everyone involved in this has been very careful with what has ended up inside and outside the bottle,” he said.

Power sold his brewery to CUB in 1993 – now itself owned by Japanese giant Asahi – and while the original Power’s Bitter ceased pouring from pub taps in 2000, the brand has never truly disappeared from the state’s consciousness, thanks in part to the prevalence of classic Brisbane Broncos jerseys bearing the brand’s name and the persistence of Bernie Power’s brief but fascinating success story.

The new Power’s Ultra Smooth Lager will be brewed at Yatala – now Australia’s biggest brewery – and sold in stubbies and on tap in pubs, clubs and bottleshops from mid-February.


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