Stone & Wood has announced it will build a new headquarters in Byron Bay, capping off a pivotal year that included multiple awards and honours, a major capacity expansion and the appointment of a managing director.
The brewer kicked off 2016 by reclaiming its number one berth in the GABS Hottest 100 for Pacific Ale, an honour followed up with gongs for Champion Large Brewery at the AIBA and a Silver Medal at the World Beer Cup in May.
“It’s been a massive year for us, but we continue to enjoy what we’re doing,” co-founder Jamie Cook told Radio Brews News.
Other milestones included an award for Excellence in Sustainability and two gongs at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards.
Stone & Wood also became one of very few companies around the world that have achieved B-Corp accreditation, which Cook said was the culmination of the brewer’s efforts to add value sustainably to all its stakeholders.
“Trust is a big thing that’s missing in the world… it’s up to business to change that by actually behaving better and that’s what B Corp’s about,” he said.
“It’s about business being for the greater good. And it’s an accreditation, a bit like Fair Trade Coffee in a way… there’s only about 2,000 companies around the world that are accredited as B Corp businesses, so we’re very happy that we managed to make the grade,” he said.
Fermentum and new MD
Cook revealed that Stone & Wood Group, the holding company that owns Stone & Wood Brewing Co, has been rebadged as Fermentum.
“We’ve evolved from being one business, Stone & Wood Brewing Co, to a family of businesses over the last 18 months,” he said.
“That holding company, Fermentum, basically now has a family of businesses sitting under it… things like Fixation, Granite Belt Cider, and Square Keg.”
Ben Summons, a former colleague of Jamie, Ross Jurisich and Brad Rogers at Carlton & United Breweries, has been appointed managing director of Stone & Wood Brewing Co.
“[He’s] one of the good guys, certainly,” said Cook. “A great fit for Stone & Wood and a very smart operator, and a very strong people person. And he now heads up the Stone & Wood team of which he’s got a leadership group of four great people who are, once again, a really good blend of beer industry experience.
“They’re fresh legs, they’ve got great enthusiasm. And so we’re going through the process of how the three of us transition that role model leadership… across to Ben and his team,” said Cook.
Cook said Stone & Wood added additional capacity earlier this year that brings its annual volume to about 12 million litres.
“It was quite a big expansion, pulling those twelve 40,000 litre tanks in earlier in the year. It certainly gave us a bit more capacity and it was hopefully to get us through this summer, which it looks like it has at this stage,” he said.
“And then we will be probably looking at putting in more tanks in in the new year… We hope to have that completed ready for summer 2017.”
Cook said the company hopes to grow more steadily in the coming years, at between 30 and 50 per cent year on year.
“We don’t want to be doubling the size of the business like we were, year on year for a while there… it’s about really growing sustainably and not getting ahead of ourselves,” he said.
“There is unmet demand out there and there’s markets like WA, South Australia, Tasmania, and even parts of Melbourne and Sydney that we know we can’t supply, but we’re keeping up with our existing customer base, if you like.
“And that’s a very purposeful thing, we’re actually just using that to pace our growth.”
Byron Bay campus
Cook said Stone & Wood is getting very close to building its new “campus”, which will properly consolidate its original Byron Bay brewery and pilot plant with its head office and tasting room.
“That’s on a block of dirt we bought about a year and a half ago on the main road on the way into town in Byron Bay,” he said.
“For those listeners who have been to our brewery in Byron Bay, it’s a pretty humble little metal shed with a two-bedroom apartment bolted on the front of it.
“We hope to create a space where people can visit the team any day of the week and see how we work and what we do and taste some of our beers.”
Episode 114 of Radio Brews News is available to download here