When we started this year there was no relationship between Australian independent craft beer and the AFL and you certainly wouldn’t be served your favourite local craft brew on a major airline. Then, by mid-year, things started to change. Colonial Brewing announced they had become an official partner of the Essendon Football Club and just this week Singapore Airlines launched their curated series of craft beer on their airlines starting with Cheeky Monkey here in WA and we will see a roll-out of similar local announcements made across the country soon.
Singapore Airlines hosted a launch event on Monday night for their one-year partnership with Cheeky Monkey. From Sunday 1 October, Cheeky Monkey Pale Ale cans will be available in business class on all flights between Perth and Singapore and the full Cheeky Monkey range will be in their SilverKris Lounge at Perth Airport.
“With interest continuing to increase across the globe for craft beer, we felt it was a perfect opportunity to partner with a local brewery to offer our customers a craft beer option,” said Singapore Airlines Area Manager Western Australia, David Pinche.
The airline began working with New Zealand brewer Garage Project earlier this year, ranging Hapi Daze Pacific Pale Ale on all flights to and from New Zealand. From here it seems the groundwork was laid for the introduction of Australian craft into the Singapore Airlines family.
Perth Station Manager Sunny Sandhu had visited Cheeky Monkey Brewery in Margaret River while on holiday and it clearly made an impression, leading to the brewery being top of mind when Singapore Airlines approached a few WA breweries in their search for a local partner.
“This [airlines] has always been the domain of the big guys,” said Brendan Day, Cheeky Monkey sales and beer ambassador. For the team, it was not only a welcome surprise to be asked to pitch for the partnership but it was also a little validation of all the hard work they’ve put into the brewery and beers in recent times.
“Singapore Airlines are very committed to quality,” Brendan said and as part of the process the airline sent a site inspection team to the brewery to check it from top to bottom to ensure everything was clean and the service and quality aligned with the high standards of their own brand.
The selection of the Pale Ale for the beer served in flight was a choice by the Singapore Airlines team.
“The Singapore guys just loved it,” Brendan said, “I think they really loved the branding on the can as well and there’s a plane on our can, just a little one, so I think the liked that as well!”
Let this be a lesson to anyone looking to re-brand, it couldn’t hurt to put a plane on your branding for future major transport opportunities!
Brendan and Cheeky Monkey Managing Director Brent Burton had a photoshoot on the tarmac as part of the launch and media release and Brendan said the guys were still pinching themselves with excitement to be working with the airline.
The partnership with Singapore Airlines is not only a huge achievement for Cheeky Monkey Brewery but for the local industry as a whole. Maybe this and Colonial’s achievement to break into a major sporting partnership will hopefully lead to more opportunities at places like stadiums, arenas and major music festivals where previously only the “big boys” were able to play. Fingers crossed!
Big thanks to Singapore Airlines for inviting me to the launch event on Monday night!