Margaret River’s Colonial Brewery quietly caved to public sentiment this week, softening its brand name following a 2020 backlash against the brewer’s perceived links to Australia’s contentious early heritage. Although industry pundits recognised the Osmington brewery — part of a bigger national business which is itself named Colonial in the sense of breaking new ground — public sensibilities around the nation’s founding history and the effects on Aboriginal Australia spurred the change. Managing director Lawrence Dowd said the company had invested $12 million during the past three years to support its Port Melbourne venture and signature line of canned brews. Mr Dowd acknowledged the name had become “problematic” and a review was undertaken amid the company’s upgrades and investment to support the brand’s growth. The new name, CBCo Brewing, was already market-tested and came out as “the most appropriate option”, he said. Mr Dowd gave no reason for the switch in a promotional video released this week. “We’ve taken enormous pride in our business and getting the details right,” he said. “After extensive consultation with all of our key stakeholders, our customers and our employees, we’ve decided that we’re going to transition to the new name CBCo Brewing.” In a statement to the media, the company said the moniker switch was “to better reflect modern tastes and drive its continued growth in the marketplace”. Mr Dowd said CBCo was a “long-time internal moniker” and “aims to remove the divisive reference ‘Colonial’ while retaining a nod to its 18-year brand heritage in a manner more appropriate for today”. “Since 2004 we’ve … grown from our roots as one of the first microbreweries in Margaret River to a craft beer challenger to now a national brand that celebrates its independent and Aussie roots,” he said. “As we have evolved, so has the world — for the better. We recognise that the name Colonial Brewing Co no longer aligns with the respect we have for, and the value we place on, the rich cultural traditions and talents of Indigenous people.” Colonial was first established in Margaret River in 2004, led by liquor industry innovator Richard Moroney, who now runs main street eatery Burger Baby. Mr Moroney pioneered canned craft beers during his time at the helm — including collaborations with artists such as Ian Mutch — which has now become a craft beer industry standard. In June 2020, east-coast independent bottle shop chain Blackhearts and Sparrows stopped selling the beer, donating remaining profits to the group Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance. It followed complaints from Melbourne-based music writer Shaad D’Souza, who said he had campaigned for three years about how “cooked and offensive” Colonial Beer was, with no response. The branding furore was not the first challenge the company faced, with Osmington neighbours campaigning against the brewery last decade because of noise concerns and an application to run events.