One of the many quintessential Australian beers, Tooheys has become an Australian icon. Founded in 1869 by two brothers, John and James Toohey, the original brewery was located in an area that would later be categorized as Darling Harbor, Sydney.
Soon the brewery was producing the firms first product - Tooheys Old. Proclaimed by the company as being styled after German Alt Beers, this dark ale remains available both on tap and bottled. The beer is lightly hopped giving the beverage a malty taste that transitions to a clean finish.
The business became public in 1902 under the name Tooheys Limited.
In 1931 Tooheys released the product that would drive its growth for the rest of the century. Tooheys New targeted changing market tastes, with Australians desiring lighter, more refreshing beers compared to heavier English style ales and stouts. Soon becoming the standard beer of New South Wales, the brand was released as Tooheys Draught on tap in practically all NSW bars.
The company expanded its capacity in 1955 with the opening of the Lidcombe brewery. Tooheys continued to have success in its home market of NSW, but due to a gentleman's agreement with Carlton and United Beverages to not expand into each-other's state expansion possibilities for the business where limited.
Bond Corporation purchased the business in 1984, however due to the collapse of Bond's business it was quickly resold in 1992 to Lion Nathan. Before the sale, Tooheys Red was released in 1990 as a bitter lager beer.
1994 saw the release of Tooheys Extra Dry - a product that soon grew in popularity to rival Tooheys New itself. Targeted toward a younger market, the beer is a dry lager beer. Its youth marketing has been enforced by its sponsorship of Big Day Out and various surfing events around Australia. Extra Dry was unavailable on tap until 2004.
Success was not universal for Tooheys however. The release of Tooheys Blue (later Tooheys Blue Ice) proved and embarrassing event for the brewer. Universally disliked, the beer which was described as a(by the marketing department, not the consumers) low alcohol bitter beer with full taste. It fared poorly on the market, and while still produced, is notoriously difficult to find anywhere outside of NSW.
Not deterred by this failure, Tooheys released in 1998 a pilsner variety of its beer. Tooheys Pils was brewed using imported Saaz hops from the Czech Republic to give the beer a crisp taste finish without an aftertaste.
In the year 1999, on of the more amusing (to me at least) events in Australian beer history. Frustrated by the inability to expand into other states, both Tooheys and Carlton and United Brewers tore up their gentleman's agreement and commenced all out war for market share. The Melbourne Beer war, as it was called, was categorized by the feuding parties selling their products (Tooheys Red and Victoria Bitter) in rival states $10 below the competition. Soon, this extended to bars with both parties purchasing bars and removing rivals products. Ultimately, Tooheys lost the battle and ceded market share in NSW to Victoria Bitter.
Tooheys was extensively criticized in 2004 by releasing a television commercial of three youths intoxicated while hitting cane toads with golf clubs. The advertisement was pulled after only 2 days of screening and set Lion Nathan back AUD$400000.
Tooheys Extra Dry Platinum was released as a high strength beer in 2006. Hitting an ABV of 6.5% this lager is substantially stronger to most beers on the Australian market. 2006 also saw the launch of the 'For the Love of Beer' advertising scheme, portraying city goers attempting to (and succeding) to make it rain beer. While popular with consumers, the advertisement was forced to be edited due to complaints of violating the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code for encouraging excessive drinking and promoting the mood-changing effects of beer.
Tooheys brewery in Lidcombe is no longer exclusive to Tooheys brands and now manufactures XXXX and Hahn products alongside Tooheys, all of which are owned by Lion Nathan.
Tooheys New Cup
The Tooheys New Cup is a rugby union based in NSW. Positioned as a training ground for future union players, the competition was founded in 2002 by the New South Wales Rugby Union. The competition is open to 12 grade clubs and occasionally features stars from senior competition.
- Tooheys New
- Tooheys Old
- Tooheys Extra Dry
- Tooheys Extra Dry Platinum
- Tooheys Maxim
- Tooheys Pils
- Tooheys Blue Ice