$60 Australian, Hard cover, 349 pp.
Keith M. Deutsher is a retired entrepreneur who, among other credits, was the Australian manufacturer of plastic six-pack ring-pull beer carriers. He is also a beer label collector, a hobby that has led him to produce The Breweries of Australia, an Authoritative Guide to Australian Brewery History. The book is comparable to the CAMRA publication, Where Have All the Breweries Gone?, but with better production values. It’s an encyclopedia of all Australian breweries from 1800 onwards, with 500 to 750 entries on nearly 1,000 breweries. As one might expect, there are lots of labels, but also many photographs of long-gone breweries. Anyone interested in Australian brewing history will find this book invaluable.
As a bonus, Deutsher includes lengthy quotations from hundred-year-old issues of the Australian Brewing Journal that provide charming glimpses of the past. He provides short histories of the Australian temperance movement, the rise of lager beer, and the reasons why so many Australian brewers put XXXX on their labels. Where else would you learn that a turn-of-the-century prohibitionist (or what Australians would call a “wowser”) decided that the five breweries in Perth⎯Castlemaine, Union, Redcastle, Swan, and Emu⎯collectively spelled “CURSE?”