Would you drink camel dung beer?

Breweries have been increasingly turning to unusual and sustainable products and production methods to stand out in a competitive market.

Among them is South Australia’s Robe Town Brewery, which is using camel-dung for a new product.

Owner and head brewer Maris Biezaitis said the beer – Holy Smokes! – was inspired by Humpalicious, a neighbouring camel farm.

“When I befriended the people that run the local camel dairy, I wanted to make a beer from something with the camels,” he said.

“I was racking my brain for quite a few weeks and eventually realised just about the only thing I could use from the camel to make a beer is the dung.”

Holy Smokes! does not actually contain dung and it does not taste like camel, according to its creator.(Supplied: Robe Town Brewery)

‘Cooking with dung’

Leftover grain from the brewery is fed to the camels and dung is then collected from the farm and used as the fuel to smoke the malted barley.

“There might be people out there that smoke their brisket with some birch wood chips or cherry wood chips, but we smoke malt with camel-dung,” Mr Biezaitis said.

“People have been cooking with dung for thousands of years … it is a natural fuel source for cooking.”

The end product does not contain the dung and Mr Biezaitis says it does not taste like the animal that inspired the beer either.

“I think the flavour is something akin to a peat-smoked malt,” he said.

“Actually, I was quite surprised to find how little camel flavour there is.”

‘Industry is hurting’

The product will be launched at the upcoming Great Australian Beer Spectacular, where about 100 new beers will be showcased.

“The concept is a bit of a hook to pique interest, and a bit of a ‘wow’ factor,” Mr Biezaitis said.

Unusual beers have become increasingly popular in recent years and other breweries in the state have created products such as chicken salt beer and beetroot and ginger sour beer.

There is also a frog cake ale inspired by the beloved SA dessert.

Independent Brewers Association SA chapter lead Steve Brockman said breweries were always trying new things to stay competitive.

“The beer industry is hurting a bit at the moment — transport costs have gone up and brewing costs have gone up,” he said.

“So sometimes you might need a little bit of a gimmicky beer just to get people in the door.

“They’re always trying to find a different ingredient to stand out.

“We’re also seeing a real push from customers out there for some sort of local … ingredients being put in their beer.”

Get our local newsletter, delivered free each Friday