AMAZING TAP HANDLES!!!

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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Tap Handle #465: Foster's (SABMiller) - Surfboard

Tap size:  10"
Rarity:  Common
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Our tap handle tour continues with another Australian beer tap, following the Matilda Bay Redback tap in the previous post. Although the Foster's surfboard is the most common Foster's figural tap, the price can vary wildly. The tap is a deep blue (which you can see on the back), with a decal on the front bearing the Foster's name and logo, and some yellow and light blue patterns decorating the surface. If you decide to pick up one of these taps, watch for decals that were not applied properly, creating bubbles or creases under the decal. The mounting nut is placed in a small protrusion from the base, which tilts the surfboard back and gives it kind of a cool profile.

Click through to read more about the storied Foster's brand, their lager, and to see more photos of this radical tap...


Foster's was founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1988 by William and Ralph Foster. The two Irish American brothers left New York in 1886 and arrived in Melbourne, where they began brewing in 1988 and selling to the public in 1889. At turn of the century, Foster’s was still a relatively small operation but it was already starting to take the first steps in its future direction.  It was sending beer to all Australian states and exporting to Samoa and South Africa. The Foster’s yeast in use today was brought to Carlton in 1923 from Professor Jorgensen in Denmark. By 1907 the Foster brothers had long since returned to America, and the company went through a series of mergers, finally becoming part of the Carlton United Breweries (CUB). In 1908, not long after its amalgamation into CUB, the Foster’s brewery at Rokeby Street was closed and the Foster’s name was almost lost. CUB only continued to brew Foster’s because of orders from Queensland and Western Australia.


Until the end of the 1970s, Foster's Lager had been a reasonably popular bottled and canned beer with a somewhat premium image. Then in the early 1980s there were major changes in the Australian brewing industry, including the merger of Castlemaine (Brisbane), Swan (Perth) and Toohey's (Sydney) into a national brewing group, as a result of acquisitions by Perth entrepreneur Alan Bond. As a result of the mergers. CUB attempted to re-position some brands due to "overlap". Foster's Draught was introduced, served on tap alongside established draught brands such as Castlemaine XXXX and Toohey's Draught. Despite some initial success, bolstered by heavy advertising, the brand did not prove popular and was eventually withdrawn from sale. Arguably, at the end of this failed exercise Foster's Lager was no longer viewed by consumers as a "premium" brand (bypassed in favor of the premium brands of Carlton Crown Lager and Stella Artois). Power's Brewery, south of Brisbane, was taken over by CUB and used to brew Victoria Bitter and other Foster's Group brands in Queensland, (including Foster's Lager). While popular in many countries, particularly where it is brewed locally, Foster's Lager does not enjoy widespread success in Australia, and it has rarely been promoted in Australia since the early 2000s.


In 1971 Foster’s was introduced to England through Barry Humphries’ highly successful film called "The Adventures of Barry McKenzie", in which he spent nearly the entire film with a Foster’s in his hand. Foster’s came to the USA in 1972. It success there is linked with its with sponsorship of sporting events - it was the official Olympic beer for Australia at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics - as well as the novelty value of their large 26 oz. cans, known as "Oil Cans". Since 1981 the brand was brewed under licence in the UK by the Courage brewing group. Courage was acquired in 1986 by Australian businessman John Elliott. Perceiving the increasing popularity of imported Foster's Lager (thanks in some part to pitches made by Paul Hogan and his popular Crocodile Dundee character, which also aided sales in the U.S. and Canada), it was decided to commence local brewing of the product by Courage. In 2006, Scottish & Newcastle, which had been brewing Foster's under licence for more than a decade, bought out the rights to the Australian beer in the UK, giving them full control of the brand there.


Miller and Foster's Group became U.S. sales and marketing partners beginning in 1993. The joint venture included Molson until 2001. In 2007, Miller entered a licensing partnership to brew and sell the Australian beer Foster's Lager in the United States; under the arrangement, brewing of the Foster's Lager and Special Bitter brands sold in the U.S. were handled at Miller breweries in Fort Worth, Texas, and Albany, Georgia. The new arrangement reduced shipping costs and allowed Miller to invest more in the brands' long-term growth and focus on imported beers and specialty beers, which carried higher profit margins. In 2011, SABMiller purchased the Foster's Group and CUB outright. Today Foster’s is brewed in 8 countries, namely, Australia, Canada, China, England, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Sweden. It is sold in over 135 countries, and is the leading foreign beer in many markets.


Foster's Lager was originally brewed with sugar (it is unknown if this is still the case). The Tim Foster's yeast in use today was brought to Carlton in 1923 by Professor Jorgensen from Denmark. The lager is late hopped with Pride of Ringwood hops. It has a moderate aroma, a full malty character, and a bright golden color with a crisp, clean hop finish.


Ratebeer weighted average:  2.0 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  60 out of 100 (poor)


Foster's Brewing Group
77 Southbank Boulevard
Southbank, Victoria, Australia 3006




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