{ O’Brien beer is completely free of gluten. This beverage allows you to enjoy that cold one at the end of your day – gluten free! }

O’Brien gluten free beer is the first of its kind in Australia! Creator, John O’Brien, set out to create a beer that he could still enjoy after being diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Thanks to his determination you can now enjoy a gluten free beer in a variety of flavours. We sat down with John to discuss the genius behind O’Brien beer!

ygf: Hi John! Thank you so much for sitting down with us today! Can you please tell our yum readers a little about yourself?

Hi everyone! My name is John O’Brien. I am an engineer by trade and worked as a consulting engineer in a national consulting business before abandoning my career in 2004 and commencing my new brewing career.

ygf: Wow that’s quite an exciting career change! How did the O’Brien gluten free beer brand begin?

I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 1998, and my doctor said no more beer (amongst other things like bread, pasta and pizza – my staple diet). I said to myself, “I can do without the other three, but I can’t do without beer.” So I went on a search for gluten free beer. I quickly found there was no such thing. After I got fed up with cider, I started on a research and trial journey to make my own at home. First, I had to convince my wife to move house because I needed a back yard shed. Luckily she agreed and the trials began in our new house. They were terrible at first, but gradually I started making an acceptable beer. I then started to look into if there was a market out there for gluten free beer because I was sure I wasn’t the only one with this problem. So I developed a business plan and set about raising the necessary capital.

ygf: It must have taken some getting used to changing your whole diet! It’s very lucky for gluten free patrons that you love your beer. We love that O’Brien beer is 100% gluten free. How do you ensure that your products are gluten free?

We only source gluten free raw materials, including gluten free grains, and we only make gluten free beer. We do very occasionally make a barley based, Ballarat centric beer but we use separate equipment where cross-contamination is possible to make this beer.

ygf: It is so fantastic that you are so vigilant about avoiding cross contamination. What do you think sets your beer apart? What makes you unique?

O’Brien Beer is unique because we are industry leaders.

O’Brien Beer is 100% gluten free, not a barley based beer with the gluten ‘removed’ or ‘reduced’.

We were the first to produce a commercial gluten free beer in Australia.

We were the first in the world to produce a naturally brewed low alcohol gluten free beer.

We were the first, second and still the only gluten free beers to win a GOLD medal at the Australian International Beer Awards (the 2nd largest beer awards in the world).

We make the largest range of 100% gluten free beers by any company in the world.

ygf: It is so impressive that you were the first to produce a commercial gluten free beer in Australia! That is quite an achievement. As you said earlier there was a lot of trial and error. Any funny stories you feel like sharing with our readers?

There have been many incidents that I look back on and have a laugh at, however many were not funny at the time. One particular incident was when I was doing trial brewing in the backyard shed. I had set up a roasting oven to roast the gluten free malt and the malt and oven caught fire. Luckily, I was able to put the fire out before it got out of control.

ygf: Lucky you were quick to put out that fire! I’ve accidentally set a few things on fire when I’m trying out recipes. It’s great to be able to look back on these things and have a laugh. What is your vision for the future? Anything exciting we can all look out for?

We plan to continue to lead the gluten free beer industry. We are always looking at ways to improve our products and processes. We are always looking to develop new products, some of which may find their way into production later this year.

ygf: We will keep our eyes on the brand and we look forward to seeing those new products you are developing! How do our readers access buy some O’Brien beer?

There are more than 300 stores, pubs and bars that stock out beer across Australia – you can find these at . You can also purchase our beer online – we ship anywhere in Australia.

ygf: O’Brien beer is in so many locations! That’s great to hear! Thank you for sitting down with us John. We wish you all the best with the brewing of new products to come. Keep an eye on those fires!

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