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Australian Small Brewery Update

March 3, 2011

This time last year I made the prediction that we would see ‘at least ten’ new microbreweries come into production across Australia during 2010. I have to admit, now, that I was a little optimistic. Using a generous definition of a ‘new’ microbrewery, I can find eleven starters for the year, which makes my forecast look good, but two of these were really restarts so merely offset previous closures. A more meaningful tally for the year is therefore only nine. This is the smallest annual increment since 2004. And 2011 will probably be as bad. Apart from two new starters so far (see below), I can see only about six or seven more that are likely to begin brewing this year. Is the boom running out of puff?

New South Wales

Craig Wealands opened his Thirsty Crow microbrewery in the CBD of Wagga Wagga early in February. His new 500-litre brewery operates in a refitted building in Kincaid Street. Thirsty Crow is the first commercial brewery to operate at Wagga Wagga since 1924 when the Federal Brewery was sold to Tooth and Co., who closed it and used it as a depot for beer railed in from their Sydney brewery. The name chosen by Wealands for his brewery is entirely apt; the name Wagga Wagga comes from an Aboriginal term meaning crows.

Thirsty Crow,
31 Kincaid Street,
Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650
ph. 02. 6921 7470


The latest new arrival in Victoria is the Bullant Brewery at Bruthen, a tiny place on the Great Alpine Road in the East Gippsland region. Like Thirsty Crow, it was planned to open Bullant Brewery in 2010, but due to one thing and another the opening was delayed until early this year. The owner, Neil Triggs, sourced his brewery from the USA, where it had previously done service in Richmond, Virginia. Damage sustained by the equipment in transit delayed the start of brewing, but a batch of Mossiface Pale Ale was put through at the Hargreaves Hill Brewery at Lilydale, enabling the Bruthen venue to open in January with its own beer on tap. Brewing on site started in February 2011.

Bullant Brewery,
46 Main Street,
Bruthen, V, 3885
ph. 03 5157 5307
fax. 03 5157 5639



Western Australia

Beaten Track Brewery at Boulder is the first microbrewery to operate in the Western Australian goldfields area since Black Stump Brewery at neighbouring Kalgoorlie closed about eight years ago. The brewery came into production early last year, but received a major setback when it was damaged and the first batch of beer was lost in the Kalgoorlie earthquake on 20 April. Beaten Track is the creation of Nick Galton-Fenzi who, like many small brewery operators, began making beer as a hobby. Nick runs his 300-litre custom built brewery after he knocks off from his day job with the Department of Mines and Petroleum at Kalgoorlie. Visitors to the goldfields can presently obtain Beaten Track beer only at the Kalgoorlie Golf Club, but plans are afoot for a reception and tasting area at the brewery. The emphasis is presently on bulk beer (twenty and fifty-litre kegs), but bottling will soon be scaled up.

Beaten Track Brewery,
25A Dwyer Street,
Boulder, WA, 6432
ph. 0429 205516

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One Response to Australian Small Brewery Update

  1. Heath Scadden on April 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    We moved to Wagga from Sydney and by chance was at the Thirsty Crow on it’s opening day/night. Great vibe, great beer, great people. So we’ve adopted it as the new local watering hole except this time it being family friendly we end up bringing the whole family tree along too!

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