Swan Draft is back being made in WA.
Nine years after parent company Lion shifted production to South Australia, kegs of the popular lager known colloquially as Swanny D are being brewed at Little Creatures in Fremantle to avoid pandemic-related supply chain disruptions.
Swan Draft was brewed in WA from 1857 until 2013 when production shifted to the West End Brewery in Adelaide.
Brewing then shifted to Tooheys in Sydney when West End rolled out its last kegs in June last year.
While some Swan Draft pouring at Perth pubs is still brewed in NSW, Lion has embarked on a recruitment drive with the aim of bringing all WA keg production to Little Creatures.
Lion WA sales director Jamie Ryan said the local brewing team had undertaken a rigorous emulation process to ensure consistency of taste across the national output.
“Swan Draft kegs are now proudly being brewed locally here in WA for the first time since 2013,” he said.
Mr Ryan added that the homecoming was “a big win in terms of freshness for our loyal WA Swan Draft customers and drinkers”.
Karl Bullers, owner of the National Hotel in Fremantle, said Swan Draft was very popular among drinkers at the busy pub.
“It’s a clear sales leader, head and shoulders above any other tap beer that we do,” he said.
“It’s popular with all different segments from your hardened drinkers that swear by Swan and have been drinking it all their lives, from back in the day where there was very little choice in what they could drink, to students and hipsters.”
The publican, who also owns the Old Courthouse in Fremantle, said pouring locally brewed Swan Draft felt good.
“There was quite an outcry back when they shifted the production — I remember it well,” Mr Bullers said.
“It’s a local product, so it’s great that it’s being brewed back here again.
“It ticks all the boxes for keeping it local and reducing its carbon footprint as well.
“It’s great to be pouring it from just up the road (at Little Creatures) — they could run a pipe from the brewery.”
Mr Bullers joked that the National Hotel’s kegs could be “the freshest in the world”.
Before leaving WA, Swan Draft was brewed at Swan’s facility in Canning Vale.
In 1990, New Zealand brewing company Lion Nathan, as it was then known, bought a 50 per cent stake in Swan owner Bond Brewing, before completing the takeover two years later.
Now a subsidiary of Japanese giant Kirin, Lion has no current plans to move production of packaged Swan Draft, nor other WA-born, Lion-owned beers Emu Export and Bitter, back west.