Red Bay Brewery, a brew-on-premises shop operating at Cleveland, has recently begun selling several of its draught products through a small number of licensed retail outlets in Brisbane. The brewery was founded in 2010 by pastry chef Jeffrey Fleck and his wife Saori. A producer/wholesaler licence was obtained late last year.
Brewing began in mid-August at the Granite Belt Brewery, part of the Happy Valley Retreat, a bushland holiday resort near Stanthorpe. Geoff and Dee Davenport, who took over the resort in 2009, have installed a 900-litre two-vessel Chinese-built brewhouse. The brewery opened to the public on 1 September with four beers on tap: porter, Irish red ale, pilsner, kolsch. Two more — a wheat beer and IPA — will be on sale soon.
New South Wales
Riverside Brewing Company received final approval from Parramatta City Council in July, and immediately began brewing at their new premises in North Rocks Road, North Parramatta. This brewery was originally being established close to the Parramatta River at Rydalmere, using a 250-litre plant, but has opened at a less riverside location at North Parramatta, with a much larger 2,000-litre brewhouse. My earlier report (Update, January 2012) that Riverside would launch its products last summer was rendered exceedingly optimistic by delays in obtaining council approval to operate at the new site. The initial range of Riverside beers comprises Thirty Three Golden Ale, Forty Four American Amber, Fifty Five Pale Ale, Sixty Nine (sic) Summer Ale, Seventy Seven IPA and Eighty Eight Robust Porter.
Contract brewing company Australian Independent Brewers Pty Ltd last month sold its brewery at Smeaton Grange in south-western Sydney to a new company called Brewpack Pty Ltd, a vehicle of the Szpitalak family. AIB, which began brewing in 2005 for St Arnou, Brewtopia and Chopper Beer, and lately has been a source of McLaren Vale, Lord Nelson, John Boston and 4 Pines beers, among others, was placed in receivership in mid-2011.
Coca Cola Amatil has secured its re-entry into the Australian beer market by way of a deal, announced in late August, with the Casella family, winemakers and brewers of Yenda. The deal entails a $46 million loan from CCA to enable the expansion of the new Casella Brewery, which was formally opened less than three months ago. CCA left the Australian brewing industry at the end of 2011, when it sold its share of the Bluetongue Brewery at Warnervale to SABMiller, undertaking to keep out until December 2013. When that time comes, CCA’s loan to Casella will convert to a half share in the Yenda brewery, through joint venture vehicle Australian Beer Company Pty Ltd, putting CCA instantly back into the beer-making business.
Brewing commenced in mid-July at McLaren Vale Beer Co.’s new facility at Willunga, near McLaren Vale, after a long wait for approval from Onkaparinga Shire Council. This brewery will produce the company’s draught beer requirements, formerly made by Australian Independent Brewers in New South Wales. Bottled beer will continue to be sourced from Asahi-owned Independent Distillers at Laverton in Victoria.
The small number of start-ups in the last two months is a poor indication of the considerable amount of activity going on at present in the small brewery sector. Among the many breweries under development, the following are in their advanced stages, and are expected to be in production before the end of 2012: Green Beacon at Teneriffe (Queensland), Beard and Brau at Tamborine (Queensland; relocating from South Australia), Black Duck at Port Macquarie (NSW; relocating from nearby Herons Creek), Six String at Erina (NSW), 4 Pines at Brookvale (NSW; in addition to the company’s brewpub at Manly), and Casey’s at St Mary’s (NSW), among others.