A dearth of new brewery openings in September and October caused me to forego my report at the end of that period, but there have been several starters (and near starters) in November and December, so it’s back to work for me. It is shaping up to be an exciting summer for beer aficionados.
Newly opened in Doggett Street, Newstead, are the premises of the Newstead Brewing Company, which began brewing around the end of October, and started selling beer (and serving food) on Saturday 7 December. This brewery is only a few hundred metres (in a straight line) from the Green Beacon Brewery in Helen Street, and even closer to renowned craft beer bar, Tippler’s Tap, adding to the emerging reputation of Brisbane’s Newstead/Teneriffe area as a beer Mecca. Newstead Brewing is the creation of Brisbane restaurateur Michael Conrad and biologist/brewer Mark Howes. They use a 12hL two-vessel kit (i.e. mash/lauter tun and kettle/whirlpool) from Canadian manufacturer DME Brewing Services.
New South Wales
A new brewery appeared at Naremburn, on Sydney’s north side, during 2013. The Flat Rock Brew Cafe opened in December 2012, but the task of installing an on-site brewery, a 200-litre Braumeister kit, was not completed until several months later. The first batch of Flat Rock beer, an English IPA, went on sale on 1 June. Flat Rock is the creation of Karl and Jenny Riseborough; Karl is the brewer, and Jenny runs the cafe side of the business.
Batch Brewing Company has recently begun operations at its new facility in Sydenham Road, Marrickville. Owners Chris Sidwa and Andy Fineran, both originally from the USA, have installed a brewing plant from Premier Stainless Systems of California. They put through their first brew at their new premises in November (aside for some earlier batches on a tiny test rig), and first opened to the public on 20 December. Andy has spent ten years working in the Australian brewing industry, and Chris, from the banking world, has long been an avid home brewer. They hatched the idea of starting their own brewery over a couple of beers at the Australian Hotel in Sydney after a lacrosse game (as you do).
Only a few kilometres from Batch Brewing, Rocks Brewing Company is on the verge of opening. Rocks Brewing is the creation of television and advertising man Mark Fethers, and first appeared on the Sydney craft beer scene in 2008 when it launched its first beer, Byrnes Red Ale, made at Five Island Brewery at Wollongong. In 2009, Rocks Brewing took over Hart’s Pub in the city, which it reworked into a classy craft beer venue, and a short while later transferred the brewing operation, under Scotty Morgan, to the Hunter Beer Company, near Cessnock. In 2013, Rocks Brewing started building its own brewery in Sydney Corporate Park, a commercial and industrial estate in Bourke Street, Alexandria. The company is also about to open its second pub, the former Lord Raglan, also in Alexandria, and just a few kilometres away from the brewery. As I write, Rocks Brewing is installing a 20-hL brewhouse, unusually with a mash filter instead of a lauter tun, from brewery manufacturer IDD Process and Packaging in California. I’ve jumped the gun a little with this one, but it should be in operation very early in 2014.
The Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley hotel at Lovedale, near Cessnock, has recently become the home to a new brewery, dubbed the Lovedale Brewery. The Crowne Plaza was purchased in 2012 by hotel magnate Jerry Schwartz, who is also becoming conspicuous in the Australian craft beer scene. Schwartz opened his first brewery in the basement of his Macquarie Hotel at Surry Hills, Sydney, at the beginning of 2005. He sold the pub in December 2012, initially intending to relocate its little brewery (an old 8-hL Firkin pub-brewery from the UK) to Lovedale, but a new and bigger brewhouse from Premier Stainless Systems has been installed there instead. The original Macquarie Hotel brewery is said to be earmarked for another Schwartz project, at World Square, only a few city blocks away from its original site. The Schwartz brewing people are tight-lipped about their plans, but hopefully there will be more to report in my next Update.
In the central-western city of Orange, brewing is close to starting (if it hasn’t begun already) at Badlands Brewery, the creation of Jon Shiner. Jon launched the Badlands brand in 2010, with the release of beer contract-brewed for him in Sydney, and about the same time began the task of setting up his own brewery at Orange. In 2012 he bought the 12-hL plant formerly in use at the Flying Horse Brewery at Warrnambool, which had closed earlier that year, and trucked it back to Orange. There have been the normal regulatory delays since then, but Jon received his manufacturer’s licence early in December, clearing the way for brewing to start at Orange.
Not that I am trying to keep up with such things, but Central Coast Brewery (formerly Brew-By-U) at Tuggerah was granted a producer/wholesaler licence early in 2013. It thus joins a growing but unknown number of brew-on-premises shops that can sell to the public and to licensed retailers, in addition to fulfilling their traditional function of providing facilities for home-brewers. Central Coast Brewery launched its own beer brand, Coastal Sands, at the Gosford Sailing Club in March.
Costa Nikias and James Brown of La Sirene Brewing, who began their brewing business in 2011 using the facilities of the Jamieson Brewery in rural Victoria, have now built and opened their own brewery. It is situated in the Darebin Enterprise Centre at Alphington, a north-eastern Melbourne suburb. Trial brewing began there in mid-year, and full-scale production started recently. Fans can expect the La Sirene beers to be available again early in the near year.
Also in Melbourne, Temple Brewing, which shocked the craft brewing community when it went into voluntary liquidation in April (see July 2013 Update), is now back in operation. The business has been bought back by its founders, Ron and Renata Feruglio, with the help of a new investor. A ‘resurrection party’ was held at the brewery at East Brunswick on Friday night, 15 November.
Elsewhere in Melbourne, a new brewing outfit called Make Beer launched its first product (a chamomile and hops flavoured ale called Deep Steep) on 18 December at The Alehouse Project in Lygon Street, Brunswick East. Make Beer is the creation of Daniel Hall (formerly brewing at Moon Dog) and Steven Germain (formerly in sales and marketing at Southern Bay Brewing Co., Geelong, and now with Phoenix Beers). They are brewing in tiny 50 to 100-litre batches.
Lion’s new Little Creatures Brewery at Geelong was officially opened on 9 December by the premier of Victoria, and the doors were opened to the public for drinks, food and tours from 10 December. Brewing has been going on quietly, however, since May (see July 2013 Update), so this latest step has been long awaited.
At Mansfield, about 35 kilometres north of the brewing town of Jamieson, the Mansfield Brewing Company has recently commenced operations. Father and son proprietors, Tom and Mitchell Walsh, are producing a bottle-conditioned pale ale, which they sell through several outlets in and around Mansfield, and are planning to start filling 50-litre kegs in the new year.
In Adelaide’s north-western suburbs, the Big Shed Brewing Concern has recently swung into action in Frederick Street, Royal Park. Big Shed is the creation of Jason Harris and Craig Basford, who have installed a 10-hL Chinese-built brewing system. Their equipment arrived in October, and has now been installed and commissioned. They put through their first brew in mid-December (except, of course, for early developmental brews on a tiny SABCO Brew Magic test rig).
Occy’s Brewing, which has operated from a shed at the rear of Newtown House near Busselton since late 2006, has recently relocated to Dunsborough, about 16 kilometres away. The last day of trading at Busselton was Sunday 20 October. A trial opening of the new venue took place on 30 November, after which normal trading was resumed. Owners Bill and Sylvia Annear hold a restaurant licence for their new Dunsborough premises.