Western Australia’s Feral and Nail are moving their shared production brewery to a new site that is triple the existing size, with a fully automated packaging line including a rotary filler for cans.
Feral owner Brendan Varis told Australian Brews News that the Brewcorp joint venture has outgrown its current Bassendean site and will move to another location one kilometre away.
“We’re in 1000 square metres at the moment. We’ve got, if you’re being generous, a semi-automatic packaging line that is very slow – it runs for 15 hours a day to package not much beer, and we can’t fit in any more tanks,” he said.
Brewcorp’s landlord has specially acquired the new 3000 square metre property at 323 Collier Rd, Bassendean, to accommodate the move.
“We gave him the security of being a good tenant on a long-term lease, so on the back of that he’s gone and bought it for us,” Varis said.
“We don’t have a timeframe for if and when we would ever get there, but there’s enough physical space to do everything you need to do to make eight million litres a year, including a 600 to 700 square metre coolroom.”
Sly Fox and War Hog into cans
The move will enable Brewcorp to expand its fermentation capacity, as well as accommodating a new packaging line that will be wholly owned by Feral.
“Packaging is going to be a big step for us, from 2000 bottles an hour to 10,000 bottles an hour,” Varis said.
As well as supplying a filling machine for bottles, Germany’s Leibinger will also supply a rotary filler for cans, which will be able to process 7000 cans an hour.
Varis revealed that Sly Fox and War Hog will both be released in cans, as well as a new WA-only beer that is currently under wraps.
As part of the move, Feral will increase its stake in Brewcorp from 50 per cent to 75 per cent to account for its greater share of volume.
Varis said the unique relationship has worked well, with both breweries currently enjoying strong growth, which in Feral’s case is in the solid double digits.
The partnership is also noteworthy for the relentless banter between Feral’s Varis and Nail’s John Stallwood, usually at one another’s expense.
“I think that’s what keeps us both sane – the ability when you’re overwhelmed to be able to get up from your desk or the brewery floor and go and find the other one and give them shit for a few minutes, then reset the compass and go back to work,” laughed Varis.
Subject to the breweries being able to build up enough stock in time, the move is scheduled to begin in June – about four years after they moved into the current facility.