Craig Basford, Jason Harris and Jeremy Hart are three homebrewers with a dream…and it’s a dream evolving in a big shed.
Like a lot of passionate home brewers that get the bug, their thoughts turned to doing it professionally. While almost all home brewers have that dream eventually, very few actually do something about. It’s almost part of homebrewing for brewers to talk about how they would do things and change the industry, but it really takes some confidence to try and actually do it. You have to admire someone that is willing to take that risk and make a go of it. Despite the common perception that making beer must be a licence to print money, microbrewing is not an industry known for being a path to fast dollars…or even slow ones.
They are currently in the very early stages of development having just received their pilot system. The pilot system has small batch size of 50 litres but has some parallels to a commercial sized brewery as it incorporates automation systems. This lets the guys become familiar with commercial practices and nail down their recipes on a system that can provide repeatable results. This is a major difference between home and commercial production. Whilst most microbreweries probably don’t share the exacting standards of major brewers such as CUB and Lion Nathan, brewing commercially for a paying customer– even at small scale – is still a jump from what you done in the back yard for yourself and your mates. More consistency is required both to keep customers happy and to effectively manage a business.
While the commercial test batches are just starting, the idea has been evolving for eight years. The guys have their plans for their first beer styles and seasonal releases worked (which we’ll reveal in a future article) out and are planning a brew pub-style venue in the Adelaide CBD offering their beer and some simple but high quality food choices.
The idea the Big Shed team explain sounds like it was inspired by the model pioneered by Melbourne’s Mountain Goat brewery, though with their own twist. Good food and a welcoming open night, but with their own take on the beer. It certainly sounds good and, from a beer lover’s perspective, the Adelaide CBD could really use a venue like this. Like many cities, the beer lists of the Adelaide CBD are largely interchangeable. As Mountain Goat showed in Melbourne, having a good beer venue and brewery in the city can be good for the whole beer scene in Adelaide. Here’s hoping they start a revolution.
Like many homebrewers, the guys themselves are some of the most down-to-earth blokes you are likely to meet. They are all approachable, love good beer and are very passionate about their brewing. They are a group of guys who are good mates that have found a shared interest. They have seen what they believe is a big hole in the local market and think they have what it takes to fill it.
Join me as I follow their progress and see if they have what it takes to make great beer and a successful business at the same time. Over the coming months we will catch up with what is happening in the development of the brewery and the issues they face in getting started and keeping going. Hopefully we’ll get to taste the beer soon too.
In the meantime you can follow them on Twitter at @bigshedbeer