What To Know About Australia's Beloved Bundaberg Ginger Beer

If you've ever lived in Australia, then the name "Bundaberg ginger beer" will sound very familiar to you. No matter where in the world you live, there's a pretty good chance that you've at least spied a bottle of the stuff in grocery stores. The fourth-generation family-owned Australian business has achieved global success for one reason: Its ginger beer (not to be confused with ginger ale) is that good.

The sharp, snappy, earthy, slightly sweet non-alcoholic beer follows a traditional brewing process using real ginger pieces to extract the maximum amount of natural flavor. The proprietary family recipe has been handed down through generations, and the ginger is grown in Australia on Bundaberg's farm. Perhaps the signature of Bundaberg ginger beer is its visibly cloudy appearance, full of real ginger root bits. In fact, fans are encouraged to give the bottle a good flip before opening to shake up all that floating sediment. So how did Bundaberg ginger beer rise from a local Aussie delight to a worldwide sensation?

Bundaberg was established in 1960 in the eponymous Bundaberg, Australia, but it hasn't always been a ginger beer brand. During the 1970s, the bottling and fermenting business (then called Electra Breweries) was focused on cranking out bottles of well-known franchised drinks like Pepsi and Schweppes. Then, when the 1980s hit, Bundaberg secured distribution of its own signature drink throughout Australia and New Zealand, and the era of ginger beer arrived.

The Land Down Bunda

By 1995, the craft soda company had officially changed its name to Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, emphasizing the local aspect of the brand. Since then, Bundaberg ginger beer has taken on a life of its own synonymous with Australia. In 2005, the company constructed a massive "Bundaberg Barrel," built to resemble half a wooden barrel lying on its side. The tourist attraction is located right beside the brewery, where interactive displays and guided tours walk fans through the production process.

Today, Bundaberg ginger beer has expanded to a multitude of flavors and is distributed to over 60 countries. As of 2021, the factory cranks out 800,000 bottles daily, and each batch still takes up to three days to brew. Indeed, this reverence for the traditional process and high-quality ingredients are fundamental to the Bundaberg name. In the company's 2023 advertising campaign "A Brew Master's Journey," founder Cliff Fleming shared, "It's a yesteryear bottle and we represent a yesteryear drink."

Fleming elaborated to Australian news outlet Weekender, "That bottle, the stubby bottle, has always been our image." The drink may now have a global fanbase but it has maintained strong roots in Australia. According to Fleming, the dominance and success of the company have always been about the locals: "When people that ... work with you and people in the town ... want to see you succeed, it becomes easier; and this has been a wonderful town for that and still is a wonderful town for support."