Proudly Aboriginal-owned, Sobah is providing Australians with their first ever non-alcoholic beer from the sweeping east coast lines of Yugambeh Country.
Owned by husband and wife duo; Clinton and Lozen Schultz — Sobah was created with a mission to increase cultural awareness, challenge Australia’s drinking norms and give back to community.
The non-alcoholic craft beer brand has three staples: Lemon Aspen Pilsner, Finger Lime Cerveza, and Pepperberry IPA.
Sobah also has special release limited edition brews which tend to sell out quickly, including Boab and Wild Ginger Lager, Davidson Plum Gluten Free Ale, Wattleseed Gold, and Aniseed Myrtle Stout.
Founded by Gamilaroi man and psychologist, Dr Clinton Schultz said Sobah’s philosophy is “to assist Aboriginal communities”.
“We’ve always said that we’re a social enterprise. Yes we want to be profitable, and yes we want to be able to pay our bills — but that’s not our immediate drive,” Dr Schultz said.
“Our immediate drive has always been being able to raise independent money to do healing work.”
“I’m a psychologist by profession, I know what does and doesn’t work, particularly for mob.
“And generally what does work for us — doesn’t get funded.
“So either we can do some of that healing work ourselves or support other grassroots charities, organisations whatever it is, individuals whatever we can, who are making a difference but are really struggling to be supported.”
Testament to this is Sobah’s supply of brews to Birrunga Gallery & Dining free of charge so that the Gallery’s charity, the Wayne Weaver Foundation, receives 100 per cent of all proceeds.
Sobah is truly a social enterprise with community in mind, but as demand continues to grow they are faced with a complex new issue of competing with multinationals in buying native bush foods.
“We’re really passionate about supporting in whatever way we can the ever-growing industry of native produce, [so it] remains largely in the hands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Dr Schultz.
“That’s really difficult because communities don’t have the financial resources and capacity available to them that large agri-businesses do.
“A lot of those agri-businesses have sort of cottoned on that this is the next boom — native foods will be the next big boom in Australia.
“We need to somehow ensure the crux of that business is maintained by mob and community rather than it being another industry we get written out of.
“It’s a bit of a double edged sword — I’m stoked to see the uptake of native produce but at the same time I can see it becoming more and more difficult for a small Aboriginal enterprise to maintain access to our own native resources because multinationals have more buying power.”
While the industry of native bush foods remains unclear, one thing is known — Sobah is perfect for craft beer enthusiasts who want to socialise sober this silly season.
Head to Sobah’s website to find your nearest stockist: https://sobah.com.au/.
By Rachel Stringfellow