Big news about Richard Watkins. He is a top bloke and great brewer. We wish Richard the very best, and can’t wait to hear more about his plans to open his own brewery…watch this space.
Award-winning master brewer calls it a day
CANBERRA, July 25, 2013 – Award-winning master brewer Richard Watkins has called it a day at Canberra’s iconic Wig and Pen Brewery and Tavern where he has built a loyal following among the city’s residents for his craft beers.
He has been at the helm of the tavern’s brewery operations for the last 17 years where under his expert watch, it has won several national and international beer competitions.
Mr. Watkins’ passion and dedication to his craft is legendary within the industry and he is recognised as one of the country’s top craft brewers and an authority in the craft beer industry.
No visit to Canberra is complete without a sampling of Mr. Watkins’ array of delightful, thirst-quenching brews that he has produced from inside the watering hole’s tiny cellars.
Leaving the place where he has dedicated the last 17 years of his life to perfecting craft beers and helped make Wig and Pen into one of the most successful brewpubs in the country was not an easy decision for Mr. Watkins.
“I think when you put 17 years into something, it’s not easy to walk away,” said Mr. Watkins.
Mr. Watkins said his decision was driven by a few factors, including a desire to fulfil his own personal dream of opening his own microbrewery.
“I want to have my own brewery. I want to do something for myself before I get too old,” he said.
The future of the building which houses the tavern is another factor behind Mr. Watkins’ decision.
“There is a lot of uncertainty with the building. Nobody knows what’s going to happen so I figured it is the right time for me, difficult as it is to leave the place, to embark on something for myself,” he said.
More about Richard Watkins and his award-winning career
Mr Watkins, 41, is an engineer by training but he has always had an interest in the brewery business since his days as a university student in Sydney where he experimented with brewing at home.
The break for him came when he was visiting a friend in Canberra and took on a kitchen job at the Wig and Pen to pass time and earn a bit of pocket money.
Shortly after, he took up the position of assistant brewer at the tavern in 1995 before being promoted to brew master in 1998. The rest, as they say, is history.
As brew master, Mr. Watkins has produced over 2,500 batches of beer comprising of 150 different varieties.
He has won several Champion Beer Awards and gold medals in national and international beer contests.
Mr. Watkins’ craft beers have been crowned champions in Australia. They include:
- Champion Small Brewery 1998 and 2012
- Champion Ale 1998 and 2002
- Champion Reduced Alcohol Beer 2000 and 2002
- Champion Stout 2001, 2005 and 2010
At the New Zealand International Beer Awards, he won:
- Champion Dark Ale 2002
- Champion Wheat Beer 2002
Mr. Watkins has also been a judge at the World Beer Cup, Australian International Beer Awards, Great British Beer Festival, New Zealand International Beer Awards, Royal Perth Beer Show, Royal Sydney Beer Show and other competitions.
All in, he has taken part as a judge in assessing over 6,000 contestants’ entries.