Lion to close James Boags visitor centre – hopefully not the bar – UPDATE

After posting this, the Tasmanian Government has stepped in to assist Lion in keeping the Boags visitor centre open. Thanks to Beer and Brewer for the good news.

Last year, I got to visit Launceston for the first time. Went for a long walk and visited many of Launceston’s fine pubs. A number of them stock a crafty or two, but they all serve Boags XXX Ale. At the Commercial I tried my first glass of it. “What do I ask for”, I asked the barkeep. “X X X Ale, Triple X, Three X”. Before she could answer a voice rumbled from the end of the bar “Red, mate”. It was my second lesson in Launceston pronunciation that day. I made the rookie error of calling Launceston Lawn-Ceston. No, no, no. Lon-Ceston.

They are proud of XXX Ale in northern Tasmania. According to the barman of the excellent James Boags Brewery Bar, there are many Northern Tasmanians bearing a “Better Red than Dead” tattoo. The Brewery Bar is in a fabulous old stone building opposite the site of the original brewery – the Esk Brewery, which was built in 1881 and taken over by James Boags the first in 1883.

Sam Miguel bought the Boags brewery in 2000 and sold it to Lion in 2007. All Boags products are stilled made in Launceston. Sadly, I learnt from the excellent Brews News that Lion have announced that they are closing the Visitor’s Centre, which may or may not include the Brewery Bar (hard to tell from the article). That would be a bloody tragedy, as it is a good place to have a beer, and the staff are excellent. Some great merch too.

This is a nickel and dime decision by Lion. The Tasmanian government aren’t happy, so maybe it isn’t all over – but I don’t hold out hope. I’m just extremely lucky that I got to visit.

James Boags Brewery Bar: 39 William Street, Launceston, TAS