About 12 hours before arriving at the Ballarat Beer Festival, Ben Buchanan was on a plane from Tokyo.
The Melbourne businessman is one of many in the microbrewing industry, keen to tap into new business partnerships.
“I planned to come back (to Australia) for this event,” Ben said, who spends most of his time living in Japan.
Ben, who is the Buckeen Group managing director, is looking to start a microbrewing business in Japan.
And he’s come back to Ballarat for some guidance.
“It’s more of a networking thing for me and I get to drink beer,” he said.
Ben’s business has previously been involved in the production of microbrewing machinery.
“We already sell the equipment making the beer,” he said.
While Ben has never made his own beer, he’s had experience working in a brewery or two.
“There’s a huge market for beer in Japan, but it’s saturated by the larger companies,” he said.
“They import a lot of craft beers from Europe and the United States, but we’re looking to tap into that market with Australian beers.”
“We’re hoping to bridge relationships between Australian and Japanese brewing businesses,” he said.
Ben caught up with some Japanese friends in Melbourne and brought them along to the festival.
“They’re loving it, they’ve never been to Ballarat before,” he said.
As for Ben’s highlight of Beer Fest 2014?
“The beer, of course.”