Australian Small Brewery Update
At the end of 2013, somewhat more than 180 small commercial breweries were in operation throughout Australia, if one defines ‘small’ so as to exclude Cooper’s Brewery and others around the same size as, or bigger than it. At least eighteen new breweries commenced operations last year; and the figure is more like twenty-three if several revivals and relocations are included in the tally. This is not the biggest annual increment in recent years, but it is certainly among the biggest. Some of the new starters from 2013 not previously noticed are mentioned below, along with the newest in 2014.
The Mount Tamborine Brewery, which opened to the public in December 2008, has a new operator. In January this year, the brewery was rented to the Fortitude Brewing Company, which has been operating out of the nearby former Eagle Heights Brewery since late in 2012. I visited the MT Brewery last month, finding it to be still in a transition phase as the liquor licence transfer is being processed; a mixture of MT and Fortitude beers were available, and the facility had not yet been rebranded with the Fortitude name.
At Tamborine village, brewing has restarted at the Beard and Brau Brewery, which relocated from Para Hills West, South Australia, in 2012. After lengthy delays, co-owner and brewer Chris Herring recently received the go-ahead from the Scenic Rim Regional Council to commence making beer on his rural-residential property. He uses the same 4hL Pub Brewing Co. (USA) brewhouse that he used in his original South Australian premises from 2008. The brewery is not open to the public, but Beard and Brau beers are available on tap just two kilometres away at the Bearded Dragon, the nearest pub.
New South Wales
As anticipated in my January Update, brewing commenced earlier this year at the new premises of the Rocks Brewing Company in Bourke Street, Alexandria. The on-site Brewery Bar opened in February for beer and food sales.
Little Rivers Brewing, based at Scottsdale in north-eastern Tasmania, started selling beer for the first time last month. This is the first new brewery to open in Tasmania since the Morrison Brewery at Invermay (Launceston) late in 2011, and the first to operate at Scottsdale since Charles Button closed his Scottsdale Brewery in 1893. Little Rivers is owned and operated by couples Chris Carins and Jessica Coniston, and Stephen and Tracy Love, whose initial range of beers comprises a kolsch, pale ale, hefeweizen, and European dark lager.
New(ish) in the West is the Bickley Valley Brewery, established last year at rural Bickley on the eastern outskirts of the city of Perth by Bradley Harris, formerly the brewer at Elmar’s in the Valley (Swan Valley, that is). Brad won a bronze award for his draught Bickley Valley Kolsch at the Perth Royal Beer Show last November. The Kolsch (see picture) has been seen around Perth lately, notably at the High Wycombe Tavern, just on the Bickley side of the Perth Airport. Why not fly in for one?
Brett Stubbs, 1 March 2014