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What Credit Crunch? Fosters release $70 Bottle of Aussie Beer!


It comes in a champagne-style bottle, is best drunk from a wine glass, and costs $70 a bottle.

It’s in the Queen’s cellar; and the maker says it has traces of vanilla and curry leaf, with hints of honey and passionfruit.

Sound like one of those pompous descriptions for a luxury wine?

It’s not – it’s an Aussie beer.

While the Fosters Group spends a mint on aiming some of their beers squarely at the blue-collar brigade, they’re also cornering a new market: luxury lagers.

Despite tough economic times, the group is convinced success will follow arguably the country’s poshest beer, the Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager.

The brewer released the first vintage – yes, the beer comes in a yearly vintage – last year. It sold out within weeks. The 2009 vintage will be released on Monday with Foster’s expecting the limited edition lager to be again snapped up within weeks.

Some beers cost more: Sydney’s boutique brewer Red Oak releases its signature beer, the Framboise Froment reserve, for around $75 for a 250ml bottle.

That drop and Crown’s ultra-premium lager fall well short of the world’s expensive beer, an honour claimed by the Carlsberg Group. The Denmark-based brewer last year produced 600 bottles of the Carlsberg No.1 Vintage, which retailed at the equivalent of $465 for a half-litre bottle.

The Crown Ambassador Reserve lager comes in a 750ml bottle is shaped like a champagne bottle, with each of the 6000 limited edition bottles is individually wax-sealed and numbered.

But you can’t get number one bottle of either vintage: both have been sent to the Queen and have found a place in the royal cellars.

Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager master brewer John Cozens oversees the making of the beer, which can be cellared for a decade. When approached by his bosses, Mr Cozens considered the task a dream job.

“The idea was born to have a crack at something that is a bit special,” he told AAP.

“A lot of the time we’re working on a lot of different beers but we often don’t have the freedom – we are working in the confines of a brand or within somebody else’s idea about what the style should be.

“But this time, credit to the Crown guys, they gave us a free hand to play.

“Just once in a while, maybe every 10 years, you get a chance to do something like this and it’s a real joy.

“We had the freedom to play and use some things we don’t normally get to use in the skills and techniques so that was what we did.”

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Thursday, January 18, 8:01 am

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