2022 Non-alcoholic drinks on the rise

I wrote the following article for SoVino, the in-house magazine of the Independent Liquor Retailers group, in late 2021. Since… Read More

2020 Mateus Rosé makes a comeback

To those of us of a certain age, the words "Mateus Rosé" conjure up memories of our early wine-drinking years.… Read More

2016 Goodbye Sunnyboy

In September 2016 the Daily Juice Company announced that the Sunnyboy was being deleted. The pyramid-shaped ice-block in a Tetrapak… Read More

2015 Flat white hits Starbucks USA

Reversing the usual direction of cultural exchange, Starbucks  introduced the Flat White coffee in US outlets. This Australian (we claim)… Read More

2014 Fruit juice less popular

According to research company Roy Morgan, Australians drank less fruit juice in 2014. This continued a four-year trend. They reported… Read More

2014 Alternative milks grow in popularity

A report by research company IBISWorld in 2014 showed that the growth rate for alternative milks such as soy and… Read More

2014 Riesling tops in wine survey

According to a survey by online wine retailer Vinomofo, Riesling was Aussie wine drinkers' preferred white in 2014, ahead of… Read More

2013 More Aussies drinking cider

According to Roy Morgan research, there were more Aussies drinking cider than ever before. In the 12 months to March… Read More

2009 Bottled water ban in Bundanoon

Residents of Bundanoon, in the New South Wales Southern Highlands, voted to ban the sale of bottled water in their town, making… Read More

2008 Starbucks closes Australian stores

Starbucks closed 62 of their 85 Australian stores across Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, South Australia and Tasmania,… Read More

2008 Bottled water gains market share

An AC Nielson survey in April 2008 showed that still water had a 9.9% market share of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink products,… Read More

2003 Aussie is world’s best barista

In 2003, 25-year-old Paul Bassett from Australia was officially named the world's best barista. He won the World Barista Championship title… Read More

2002 New wine can developed

Barokes Wines was founded by Steve Barics and Greg Stokes, reputedly after narrowly avoiding an experience involving a shattered wine… Read More

2001 Drive-through coffee

Muzz Buzz, a drive-through coffee chain, was founded by Craig Muzzeroll, who opened the first outlet in Belmont, Perth. The… Read More

2001 Australian Barista Championship begins

Although coffee culture began seeping into Australian life in the mid-20th century with the introduction of the espresso machine, it… Read More

2000 Juice bars hit Australia

The pioneers of the juice bar  as we know it, Boost Juice and Viva Juice, were both founded in 2000, selling… Read More

2000 Starbucks launched in Australia.

Chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans were to coffee what the Eurovision song contest is to rock and roll. Their… Read More

1999 Energy drinks arrive in Australia

Energy drinks arrived in Australia in the late '90s.  ‘V’ was first launched in New Zealand in 1997 and hit… Read More

1999 Aussies love soft drink

In 1999, Australians drank 113 litres of soft drink per person per year, or 300 ml per person per day (ABS).… Read More

1996 Nespresso arrives in Australia

Nestlé has had a significant presence in the Australian coffee market since the launch of Nescafe in 1947. But, although… Read More

1996 Gloria Jean’s arrives

The US coffee chain Gloria Jean's opened two stores in Sydney in 1996 and by 2003 was trading in every… Read More

1994 First laneway bar in Melbourne

The first laneway bar in Melbourne was set up by a group of architects who wanted a quiet drinking spot… Read More

1994: Liquor laws relaxed further in Victoria

The Victorian government revisited the liquor laws in 1994, creating the General Licence Class B which allowed establishments that didn’t… Read More

1993 Melbourne has world’s first McCafé

In an acknowledgement of Melbourne’s status as the coffee capital of Australia, Mcdonald's opened the first McCafé in the world… Read More

1990 Milk, calcium and osteoporosis

The Australian Dairy Corporation (now Dairy Australia) began its osteoporosis campaign, talking about calcium intake. Although milk had always been… Read More

1989 Tasmania’s sparkling wine revival

Tasmania's sparking wine revival began with the release of the 1989 Janz Traditional Method Sparkling. The Janz project was a… Read More

1989 Melbourne’s first small bar opens

The Dogs' Bar was opened in St Kilda by Donlevy Fitzpatrick, who campaigned for years for more civilised drinking laws.… Read More

1988 Caffè e Cucina opens in Chapel Street

The new licensing laws allowed cafés in Victoria to serve a glass of wine, a coffee or a complete meal.… Read More

1987 The Liquor Control Act 1987

The Niewenhuysen Review was a licensing system review commissioned by the Victorian government. It was let by an economist and… Read More

1986 First James Halliday annual wine guide

Australian wine critic, vigneron and wine judge James Halliday began writing about wine in 1979.  In 1986, he produced his… Read More

1985 Birth of the Flat White

The first documented appearance of Australia’s most popular coffee order was at Moors Espresso Bar in Sydney's Chinatown in 1985.… Read More

1984 First ’boutique brewers’

The Old Ballarat Brewery in Victoria and the Sail and Anchor Pub Brewery in Western Australia were the first  to… Read More

1979 Claytons enters the Australian vernacular

What's a product invented in England and sold as an import in Australia for most of its recorded history doing… Read More

1978 Launch of Big M

Big M flavoured milk was launched in Victoria with overtly sexy imagery of milk running down the cleavage of girls… Read More

1978 REV low fat milk launched in Victoria

REV low-fat milk was launched in Victoria and aimed at young adults. It was lower in fat and higher in… Read More

1978 Décor Insulated Wine Carrier launched

The Décor Insulated Wine Carrier with wine chiller was the essential accoutrement for visits to BYO restaurants. It was designed… Read More

1978 Vogue’s Champagne Diet

The Champagne Diet, published in Australian Vogue, made much of the fact that champagne was the least fattening of all… Read More

1977 Farmers Union Iced Coffee launched

Farmers Union Iced Coffee is a flavoured milk manufactured in South Australia, where it has iconic status along with other… Read More

1976 Hi-Lo milk launched in Canberra

Ho-Lo milk was the first low-fat specialty milk to be launched on the New South Wales market and a few… Read More

1974-5 Australia’s beer consumption peaks

After a long dry(ish) spell during the depression years of the 1930s, beer consumption grew rapidly during the wartime years.… Read More

1973 Abolition of school milk

Free school milk continued long beyond my primary school days, until a report to the government in 1973 deemed it… Read More

1971 First Aboriginal publicans in Australia

Catherine Hill Bay was a coal mining town near Newcastle, New South Wales, and was named after a ship that… Read More

1971 Humpty Doo Hotel opens

It's not the most historic, the most glamorous or even the quirkiest pub in Australia's Northern Territory. Unlike the Mataranka… Read More

1970 Wynn’s perfect the wine cask

Wynn's perfected the wine cask (bag-in-a-box) in 1970, with a tap that was exposed by tearing away a panel on… Read More

1970s Stubby holder becomes ubiquitous

Who invented the stubby holder? The answer is, nobody knows. Although most sources seem to agree that the stubby holder… Read More

1968 Tasmania’s first licensed restaurant

Until the 1960s, if you wanted to wine and dine in Tasmania your options were restricted. There were fancy meals… Read More

1968 Courage Beer launched

Courage Beer attempted to break the stranglehold Carlton & United had on the beer market in Victoria with its launch… Read More

1967 Bourbon & Beefsteak, Kings Cross

In 1967 a new era in the Americanisation of Australian food began. King's Cross in Sydney was the location of… Read More

1967 Six o’clock closing ends in SA

South Australia was the last state to end six o’clock closing. The new late-closing laws were introduced under the premiership… Read More

1966 Margaret River wine region identified

A 1966 research paper by agronomist Dr John Gladstones suggested that the Margaret River area in Western Australia would suit… Read More

1966 Russian poet orders Aussie champagne in Paris

During a visit to the Adelaide Festival in 1966, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko evidently acquired a taste for Seppelts… Read More

1966 Tarax sole Australian-owned soft drink company

By 1966, as overseas companies bought up all the soft drink manufacturers, only one all-Australian company remained as a major… Read More

1966 Six o’clock closing ends in Victoria

On 1 February 1966, Victorian hotel hours were extended to 10pm - the end of six o’clock closing and the… Read More

1965 Cask wine invented

The wine cask or ‘bag in a box’ was invented by Tom Angove of Angove’s in Renmark, South Australia. The… Read More

1965 Introduction of the BYO licence

The BYO boom in Victoria started slowly, but gathered momentum year on year, really hitting its stride in the early… Read More

1964 Café-Bar threatens tea ladies’ jobs

I remember tea ladies. Back in 1965, in the advertising agency I worked at, a trolley came trundling around twice… Read More

1962 Southern Cross Hotel opens in Melbourne

The Southern Cross Hotel was the first luxury hotel in Melbourne to depart from the traditional style of hotels like… Read More

1962 Ring pull can introduced in USA

The ring pull can was invented by Ermal Cleon "Ernie" Fraze of Dayton, Ohio, in 1959.  It was first put… Read More

1961 First canned soft drinks

The first canned soft drinks in Australia were produced by Tarax in their Huntingdale, Melbourne, plant in 1961. Initially, Tarax… Read More

1960 Restaurant Licence introduced in Victoria

The new licence allowed alcohol to be served with food. Formerly only hotels, registered clubs and wine saloons could legally… Read More

1959 Lipton tea bags arrive in Australia

Although tea bags were invented in the 1920s, they made few inroads into tea drinking in Australia. There is one… Read More

1959 First all-Australian espresso machine

The first Boema espresso machine was made by two Italian immigrants, Signori Bordignon and Emer, hence Bo-ema. Their company became… Read More

1958 First beer cans in Australia

The first beer cans in Australia were made of steel and had to be opened with a 'church key' -… Read More

1958 Vittoria Coffee begins roasting

Vittoria Coffee has its origins in a company started by the Cantarella brothers, Orazio and Carmelo, who began importing European… Read More

1958 Darwin Stubby introduced

The Darwin Stubby, available only in the Northern Territory, was introduced by Carlton & United in April 1958 with an 80… Read More

1956 Tasmanian wine industry re-emerges

Although commercial wine-making began in the colony as early as 1823 and there were further attempts at wine-making in the… Read More

1956 Barossa Pearl sparkling wine launched

Barossa Pearl, however scornfully it’s referred to these days, changed the Australian wine industry. It was based on a German… Read More

1955 First milk cartons in Australia

The first time Australian milk was distributed in cartons was in the Beverley Hills area of Sydney in 1955, when Mr.… Read More

1955 NSW gets 10 o’clock closing

In  a referendum in 1954 voters approved 10 o’clock closing by a narrow margin of 902,532 votes to 892,740.  The… Read More

1955 Orchy orange juice

Orchy Orange Juice was first released in 1955. Instead of the cooked taste of canned orange juice, Orchy tasted like… Read More

1954 Crown Lager released to public

According to CUB, Crown Lager (originally Foster's Crown Lager) was first brewed in 1919 and only available to Australia's diplomats… Read More

1953 Diamantina cocktail nominated as unique Australian drink

In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1953, W.P. Thornton sought to refute the idea that Australia… Read More

1953 Soft drink vending machines

The Australian soft drink industry underwent a radical transformation in the 1950s and '60s. The change was wrought by self-service… Read More

1952 The Esky ® invented

No doubt to the annoyance of the brand’s owners, the term ‘Esky’ is widely used in Australia as a generic… Read More

1951 School milk introduced by Menzies government

Far from being a conspiracy to put a whole generation off drinking milk forever, school milk was conceived as a… Read More

1951 First vintage of Penfolds Grange

Originally Grange Hermitage, Penfolds Grange was to become Australia’s most collectible wine. Penfolds Grange is made predominantly from Shiraz grapes (formerly… Read More

1947 Nescafe launched in Australia.

When Nescafé launched in Australia, it began the conversion of Australians from tea-drinkers to coffee drinkers. Coffee was associated with… Read More

1947 Liquor Referendum NSW

Pubs in most states of Australia, including New South Wales, had been closing at 6 pm since 1916 when temperance advocates… Read More

1945 Kombucha makes news in Australia

In recent years, Kombucha, in the form of a tea-based drink, has made the transition from fringe to mainstream as… Read More

1942 Instructions for American Servicemen in Australia

A 54-page  booklet titled Instructions for American Servicemen in Australia was produced for American forces stationed here during World War… Read More

1942 Beer rationing

Wartime beer rationing took the form of limits  imposed on production. In March 1942 breweries were required to cut their… Read More

1942 WWII food rationing – tea and sugar rationed

To conserve food during WWII,  rationing regulations were gazetted in May 1942 and food rationing began in June. Tea was… Read More

1940 Beer riot in Brisbane

In October 1940, a group of soldiers rioted in Brisbane as authorities began strict enforcement of the 8 o'clock closing… Read More

1939 Wine and Food Society NSW

The Wine and Food Society NSW was launched in the Rhine Castle Cellars on 9 March, 1939, with the inaugural… Read More

1938 Nescafé instant coffee invented in Switzerland.

While not the first instant coffee to be marketed,  Nescafé was the first to be made by a spray drying process… Read More

1938 Coca-Cola first bottled in Australia

A Roy Morgan survey in 2015 showed that four of the five most popular soft drinks in Australia were cola… Read More

1937 First beer garden in Australia. Or not.

Pub beer gardens are a familiar part of our Aussie lifestyle. So it may surprise you to learn that we… Read More

1937 Houghton White Burgundy created

Winemaker Jack Mann created Houghton White Burgundy (now Houghton Classic White).  The wine is still assembled from parcels of different… Read More

1937 Tasmania ends six o’clock closing

Tasmania was the first Australian state to jettison the six o'clock closing legislation introduced during WWI.  In 1916, Tasmania had joined… Read More

1936 Wine and Food Society of Victoria

The Wine and Food Society of Victoria was modelled on the London Wine and Food Society established by gourmet and… Read More

1934 MILO introduced

First marketed as Nestlé’s Tonic Food, Milo powder was developed at Abbotsford in Sydney and launched at the Royal Easter… Read More

1932 Australia’s first milk bar

The Black and White 4d. Milk Bar, in Martin Place, Sydney was opened by Mick Adams in November 1932. He developed… Read More

1929 Blue Heaven colour first made

The Blue Heaven milk shake is an all-Australian invention, but its origins are unknown. What we do know is that… Read More

1928 First espresso machine in Australia

The first espresso machine in Australia, according to the Massoni family, was installed by Rinaldo Massoni at the Café Florentino… Read More

1926 Australia’s first fresh juice bar

The Victorian Railways Refreshment Branch opened a stall selling freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice drinks at Melbourne's Flinders Street… Read More

1924 Kirks Ginger Ale developed

Although today's Kirks soft drinks proudly boast "Since 1865" there is no evidence for that date of origin. The two… Read More

1924 Passiona first developed

Spencer Cottee , a dairy farmer from Lismore NSW developed Passiona cordial which, when carbonated, became the foundation product of… Read More

1924 XXXX Bitter Ale released

XXXX Bitter Ale was released by the Castlemaine Brewery in Brisbane in October 1924. The beer was promoted using a… Read More

1923 Eight o’clock closing in Queensland

As other Australian states had done in the previous decade, Queensland introduced earlier closing times for pubs, but chose slightly more civilised… Read More

1918 Darwin beer rebellion

In 1918, beer prices became a trigger for what became known as the Darwin Rebellion. When an angry crowd marched… Read More

1915 Six o’clock closing introduced in South Australia

Six o'clock closing was introduced for pubs in South Australia in 1915.  The following year, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria… Read More

1914 Tango suppers the rage in Melbourne

In 1913, the tango craze swept Europe, Britain and America.  Australia was not far behind. In March 2014 the Paris… Read More

1911 Prohibition in Australia’s capital

In the late 19th and early 20th century, temperance advocates throughout Australia campaigned for a total ban on alcohol. The… Read More

1908 Minchinbury Champagne first produced

First made by Leo Buring at the Minchinbury Estate just a few minutes' walk from Sydney's Rooty Hill Station, Minchinbury… Read More

1907 Carlton & United Breweries formed

The Carlton Brewery had been operating in Bouverie Street, North Melbourne, since the 1860s, but in 1907 it united with… Read More

1905 O.T. Cordial – a chilli-based health drink

Imagine a drink that's perfect for summer, perfect for winter and absolutely ideal for spring. It helps keep colds and… Read More

1904 Melbourne Bitter Ale first brewed

Melbourne Bitter was born in 1904, when a group of pub owners formed the Melbourne Cooperative Brewery Company and began… Read More

1904 Hydro Majestic hotel opens at Medlow Bath

Built by the retail magnate Mark Foy, the Medlow Bath Hydro opened in 1904 as a hydropathic sanitorium and health… Read More

1901 Griffiths Australian-grown tea

Although others had earlier experimented with tea growing – notably the Cutten brothers at Bingil Bay in North Queensland –… Read More

1900 Great Western triumphs in Paris

Hans William Henry Irvine extended the underground cellars at Great Western, imported a French winemaker from the champagne house of… Read More

1900 Robur Tea Company founded

Until around 1880, most of the tea consumed in Australia came from China. However, from this time tea from Empire… Read More

1898 Kia-Ora cordial introduced

According to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History, the Kia-Ora brand was first used for lemon squash by Arthur Gasquoine of… Read More

1897 Hamodava – the first fair trade tea

The Hamodava Tea Company was created by the Australian branch of the Salvation Army in 1897. It was the idea… Read More

1897 Pasteurised milk introduced

Pasteurised milk wasn't legally mandated in Australia until the 1950s, but in 1897 the New South Wales Fresh Food and… Read More

1893 Shelley’s soft drinks founded in Broken Hill

According to the Shelley family, the origin of Shelley's soft drinks can be traced back to 1893 in Broken Hill.… Read More

1889 Bundaberg rum first produced

The Bundaberg Distilling Company was formed in 1888 to supplement returns from the local sugar industry and to make use… Read More

1887 Foster’s Lager first brewed

Although Foster's Lager was not the first lager to be brewed in Australia (lager beer was first produced commercially by… Read More

1886 Brownes Dairy founded in Perth

Brownes Dairy is Western Australia's and, they claim, Australia's oldest dairy company. The company traces its history back to 1886… Read More

1886 Melbourne Beefsteak Club founded

Australia's oldest food society, the Melbourne Beefsteak Club, was founded in May 1886.  Members were from business, professional and academic… Read More

1886 Marchants soft drinks founded

At one point, Marchants was the largest manufacturer of soft drinks in Australia. As with many other manufacturers, its name… Read More

1886 Coca-Cola invented in USA

Coca-Cola remains Australia's most popular soft drink but its history began on the other side of the Pacific. Coca-Cola syrup… Read More

1885 Brown Brothers founded in King Valley

Brown Brothers trace their origins back to 1885 when John Francis Brown planted 10 acres (4 hectares) of mostly Riesling,… Read More

1883 Emu Burgundy brand registered

Emu Burgundy became Australia's most significant export brand in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1862, Patrick Auld… Read More

1883 Bushell’s Tea introduced in Brisbane

Alfred Thomas Bushell was no stranger to the tea business when he arrived in Brisbane in 1883 and opened his… Read More

1882 Cohn Brothers first Australian lager

Three Danish brothers, Moritz, Julius and Jacob Cohn arrived in Bendigo  in 1853. In 1856 they began making cider and… Read More

1878 Coffee Palace Hotel Company formed

Coffee palaces were developed with the backing of the temperance movement as an alternative to pubs. The Sydney Coffee Palace… Read More

1878 First sparkling ‘burgundy’ in Australia

When I was negotiating my perilous teenage years in the 1960s, sparkling burgundy had an extremely unsavoury reputation. It was… Read More

1878 Castlemaine Brewery opens in Brisbane

Edward Fitzgerald had opened a brewery in Castlemaine, Victoria, in 1856. Joined by his brother Nicholas, he expanded his operation… Read More

1878 First Schweppes factory in Australia

Johann Jacob Schweppe, a Swiss watchmaker and amateur scientist, didn't invent fizzy drinks, but he was the first to see… Read More

1877 Phylloxera affects Australian vines

Phylloxera, an aphid-like root louse that destroys grapevines, devastated up to 70% of Europe's vineyards at the end of the… Read More

1876 First wine bar in Adelaide

With new wine bars popping up every week these days, it's tempting to think of them as a recent phenomenon.… Read More

1876 Introduction of packaged tea

Until the late 1870s, most teas in Australia were sold in bulk. As with other dry goods, grocers were responsible… Read More

1875 Tristram’s soft drinks founded in Queensland

In Melbourne, we were once urged to "Just say Marchants please". In Brisbane, the catch-cry was "Just say Tristram's please".… Read More

1873 First drugstore soda fountain

Although soda fountain machines had appeared in Australia at least as early as the 1860s, the first American-style drugstore soda… Read More

1872 Bickford’s Lime Juice Cordial introduced

In 1872, A. M. Bickford & Sons exhibited their Bickford's Lime Juice Cordial at the Adelaide Wine Show. Bickford's originally… Read More

1872 Lemonade and bitters recommended to MPs

Lemonade and bitters was a precursor to lemon, lime and bitters, a drink unique to Australia. The history of lemon,… Read More

1872 Tooheys Darling Brewery

Although John Toohey had produced his first Black Old Ale in an old cordial factory near Darling Harbour, the operation… Read More

1870s First Darwin hotels

The Northern Territory has not dealt kindly with its historic hotels. The oldest of the Darwin hotels still standing, the… Read More

1869 Floating distillery on the SS Walrus

In 1869, a 100ft sailing ship was converted to steam and the SS Walrus began to sail up and down… Read More

1869 Marcus Clarke on the coffee stall

The Melbourne writer, Marcus Clarke, wrote regular newspaper columns on city life. In one of these, he described the typical… Read More

1867 First Australian mineral water bottled

Although various mineral water springs were discovered in Australia through the 1820s and 1830s, it seems the first Australian mineral… Read More

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