Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen have taken flight from “working for the man” by launching their own brewing company and beer brand – Two Birds Brewing.
Based in Melbourne, this new craft beer venture came to life in July after the long time friends, both originally from Western Australia, left their respective jobs to pursue the dream of working for themselves in an industry they love.
Both Curtin University graduates, their different careers paths of brewing and marketing have now been combined to provide a solid framework for small business success.
Marketing guru Dani left her role as Product Development Manager for Woolworth’s ‘Select’ brand, where she had been developing long-life food products. Previously, she had worked in marketing roles for global kitchenware brands such as Pyrex and Le Crueset, as well as working for Metcash marketing on liquor industry brands. She loved her Woolworths role but noted sitting on a desire to find more freedom and creative reach, which would be best realised by working for herself and in an exciting emerging industry.
Jayne departed the successful and, in local craft beer terms, rapidly growing Mountain Goat Brewery where she had been Head Brewer since 2008. Her career actually began in wine making. She graduated with a distinction for her Bachelor of Science in viticulture and oenology then worked at Palandri Winery in Margaret River for three years. Jayne’s preference for a beer at the Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle, as well as the quicker turnaround time and wider scope for creativity of beer brewing over wine making, eventually saw her covert to beer making. She became a Little Creatures brewer and one of the developers of Pip Squeak Cider. When Jayne’s geologist husband, Louis, was transferred to Melbourne, she searched for brewing opportunities around her new home town, which at the time were extremely limited. She worked on a casual basis at the Matilda Bay Garage brewery before finally securing her position at Mountain Goat. Jayne is now the Victorian Regional Co-ordinator for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) and heads the Australian chapter of the Pink Boots Society, an organisation set up to inspire, encourage and empower women to advance their careers within the beer industry.
With the commitment made to work for themselves, the ever positive Dani and Jayne hatched their business plan and set about learning to fly solo.
In search of their own brand, Dani and Jayne sent their design brief to a number or sources. The winning concept came from the team at Red Jelly, an advertising and marketing company based in Tasmania. Out of the six options Red Jelly put forward, the girls quickly feel in love with “Two Birds” and the very versatile, full of connotations, “Why settle for one” tagline.
Next came the hunt for where to brew their beer. Keen to establish themselves quickly with a beer in the market, rather than risk sitting idle until they had the capital to build a brewery, Jayne investigated the ins-and-outs of contract and toll brewing. She settled on the facility and services of Southern Bay Brewing in Geelong, where she could be completely hands-on throughout the brewing process. A local brew-your-own service was utilised to test Jayne’s intended recipe and hop profile for the first Two Birds beer – a 4.4% abv Golden Ale – to be released in time for summer.
Jayne confessed to a number of sleepless nights as her first batch of Two Birds beer sat in fermentation.
“Every brewery has its own differences and challenges,” Jayne said as she explained her initial nerves from brewing at an unfamiliar brewery for the first time, given that her livelihood depended on the beer’s success. The reality of their investment weighed heavily and would only be lifted once she could taste the first Two Birds Golden Ale.
On the decision to brew a Golden Ale, Jayne told Australian Brews News, “We were hoping to make a beer that was approachable, easy drinking and sessionable yet something that still had some flavour and was interesting”.
As their point of difference in the local craft beer market Jayne noted, “I guess for us it was going to be something that we could play around with more than a Pale Ale, which there are a lot of around at the moment. We think with the Golden Ale we can give more unique and interesting characteristics.”
Flavoursome and interesting can be a very common line from craft brewers on the release of their first beer. Nevertheless, the Two Birds Golden Ale is true to the product mission Jayne and Dani recite: flavoursome, interesting and approachable beer.
Brewed with both wheat and Vienna malts, the beer is richly golden in appearance, the soft aroma provides notes of stonefruit, lemon and spice. This full flavoured yet delicate, malt driven beer leans to the sweeter side with modest bitterness providing a dry finish. A sessionable ale, this beer will provide a quality accompaniment to your upcoming summer barbeques or over a spread of tapas.
The first Two Birds client was SpudBar Chevron, a hot potato diner in St Kilda. Following launch events in their focus markets of Melbourne and Sydney, as well as their hometown of Perth, the Two Birds Golden Ale is now available in bottles through many of the major cities’ independent bottle shops and on tap at craft beer focused venues. A push into Queensland is also expected in the near future. Although at this stage Jayne is just happy to see her beers available at the predominately craft beer-barren bottleshops and bars around Melbourne’s Western suburbs where she lives.
The path ahead is a work in progress for the Two Birds.
“We haven’t set any rules on how we’re going to proceed with future brews, we just wanted to see how this one went and then go from there,” Jayne said.
“I’m really happy with the way the beer has come out and the initial response has been really positive.”
As for a nest for Two Birds, they are actively on the lookout for a Melbourne based location to house a brewery and cellar door. It is not an immediate priority, as they allow all the time they need to find the “perfect location”.
A second Two Birds beer is being developed but Dani and Jayne’s hands are very full as they learn to manage every facet of running their young business.
For now their focus is firmly on keeping the business flying by brewing and selling the Golden Ale and establishing the Two Birds brand in the market across Australia’s east coast. So far, the plan is working. The second batch of Golden Ale, dry hopped today with a healthy dose of Australian Summer and NZ Motueka hops, has just rolled off the bottling line at Southern Bay and is taking flight across the country.
Visit the Two Birds Brewing website to learn more and find your nearest stockist.