Roll Up, Roll Up, There’s a New Beer in Town
The noble sport of lawn bowls dates back to the 13th century, when ‘stone bowls’ were originally used as weapons before being used recreationally on the streets of London.
But under the reign of King Edward III the sport was banned because he thought it would detract from Britain’s military prowess as a distraction from practising archery.
This ban was in place for a couple of centuries, because it was believed that the game “had also become associated with drinking, taverns and vulgar behaviour”. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the game re-emerged.
In Australia a National Bowls Association was established in the late 1800s and from then on the sport went from strength to strength.
In the early days when the sport became popular there was plenty of open space and real estate was cheap. But it’s a different story these days, with many bowling clubs in and around Sydney forced to close because of escalating costs and councils wanting the land for things like childcare facilities and housing development.
In an effort to help stem the demise of local bowling clubs, Matty Graham, 39, and his business partner Alex Light, 40, decided to release a beer aimed solely at local bowling clubs. Matty (vice president) and Alex are members of the Bondi Bowling Club, a volunteer-run organisation that has been kept alive over the years by efforts of the members after it looked like hitting the wall a few years ago.
It was that success which inspired the pair to take it to another level with the introduction of a local brew called Bowlo Draught.
“I have only been bowling for a few years and love the camaraderie that is seen in bowling clubs with the mateship generated by an eclectic mix of people,” Matty told The Beast.
“From that experience we kinda wanted to make a tribute to the great Aussie bowlo and help keep the ball rolling.”
“Bowlos are a great tradition, and without community support they would be gone. With Bowlo Draught we hope to give people a taste of what these clubs are all about.”
“We are not looking at going head-to-head with boutique beers; it’s about providing a beer brewed by bowlers for bowlers, with a portion of all sales going back to the clubs,” Matty explained.
“We think we have found a niche and hope to make a difference in identifying and aligning with local bowling clubs,” Alex added.
“We aim to support local clubs with a portion of the profits going towards helping them survive.”
Bowlo Draught was launched on April 18 and will be sold in cans and on tap with an alcohol content of 4.2 per cent. Bowling clubs will also be able to have their logo on the cans, with the message, “Raise a tin in tribute to your local – every sip of a Bowlo supports a club that supports your local community.”
The beer is brewed by Andy Orrell at the Hairyman Brewery at Taren Point, the sole craft beer sponsor for the Rebels Southern Districts Rugby Club.