Bob Hawke: Australia’s beer drinking legend

Bob Hawke at Hawke's Brewery.
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    When it comes to Aussie icons, the charismatic Bob Hawke is one for plenty of reasons.

    Widely considered to be one of Australia’s greatest prime ministers, Hawke once boasted a personal approval rating of 75%, is to date the longest-serving Labor leader and forever transformed politics in Australia.

    But while his political achievements alone are substantial, Hawke’s iconic nature is underpinned by his charisma, his typical Aussie disposition, and his love for beer.

    Yes, Hawke isn’t the only famed Australian known by this affinity for beer – evident in their side hustles, beer has a place in the hearts of many popular Aussies.

    Shane Warne once had a VB brand deal, and Billy Slater owns a beer brewery. Even Tony Abbott attempted (many would argue unsuccessfully) to win the hearts of Australians by sculling a beer in 2015.

    However, it was Bob Hawke who left an iconic mark on Aussie history and culture as a beer drinking champion.

    From breaking the world record for sculling a yard glass while at university to eventually creating the hugely successful Hawke’s Brewing Co, here is how Bob Hawke became an Australian beer drinking legend.


    The fastest person to down a yard glass – early years

    Hawke’s reputation as a beer lover began while at Oxford University in the UK. In 1954, he sculled a yard glass (two and a half pints) of beer in just eleven seconds – an achievement that earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.

    His beer appreciation continued throughout his time at university and early years as a union rep.

    While he made the responsible decision to put his beer drinking tendencies aside throughout his nine-year leadership of Australia, his various appearances throughout the period often involved beer drinking supporters. Even once his leadership was over, Hawke was right back at it, and his reputation as a man of the people continued.


    Bob Hawke’s later years

    Even throughout the final years of his life, Hawke never shied away from putting on a sculling performance.

    In 2012 (at the age of 82), he went viral in a video showing him sculling a beer at the Sydney Cricket Ground, to the cheering and applause of cricket fans around him.

    Hawke made similar efforts in 2014 at the Ashes (he was spotted on TV being given a beer by a member of the public, and he downed in in just ten seconds), and once again in 2017 – at the time, he was 87 years of age.

    From back in the ‘70s up until today, Hawke has consistently won the hearts of Australians and others from around the world, with a lasting impression that speaks volumes about the iconic mark he has made on Aussie history and culture.


    Hawke’s Lager and the Hawke’s Brewing Co

    On top of his personal appearances, Hawke made a more permanent and committed impression on the beer world when he launched Hawke’s Brewing Co in 2017. Hawke’s Lager was the first offering from the company, initially offered on tap across just 11 pubs across Sydney and Newcastle.

    When it came to his decision on being involved with Hawke’s Brewing Co, he only asked that his royalties would be donated to Landcare Australia – an environmentally focused charity, established by Bob himself in the ‘80s.

    Since Hawke himself poured the first pint of the lager at The Clock in Surry Hills, his beers have expanded to reach taps across almost 80 pubs and venues across Australia – and this doesn’t include the countless bottle shops stocking Hawke’s tinnies.

    Hawke’s Lager has quickly become one of the most popular and beloved beers in the country.

    While Australia and the world lost a legend in 2019, Bob Hawkes’ legacy will live on as he is remembered as a person who loved Australia, and had the academic, political, and beer drinking records to prove it.

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