After five years brewing together, co-founders of Adelaide’s Little Bang Brewing Company Filip Kemp and Ryan Davidson, have decided to expand their brewhouse, once again.
From humble beginnings in Kemp’s garage in 2013, to a modest brewhouse and cellar door in the Adelaide suburb of Stepney in 2015, Little Bang is growing once more.
“To begin with, we literally built a 600-litre system in my business partner’s garage and we were running a commercial brewery out of there,” Davidson said.
“We ran out of beer almost immediately and then pretty much stayed out of beer all the time.”
The decision to upsize from “tiny” to “small-medium” was made over the past 18 months, as Kemp and Davidson continued to feel crowded.
“One thing we didn’t account for was all these people who keep coming to visit the brewery every week,” Davidson said.
“We’ve had to completely and utterly change the business plan since the beginning to account for the popularity of the venue.”
“We thought we’d see half a dozen homebrew geeks over the weekend and it’s not that way at all.”
“We get all walks of life, all ages, a really good turnout of women, which is amazing for the beer industry, and a big part of what the craft beer scene is all about.”
“Too many, even craft breweries, still fail to recognise women’s roles in the craft beer industry and so I’m really pleased that our brand and our place and our whole style has really welcomed that.”
“It’s awesome, but we need space to put them.”
Each Friday, Davidson described how they collapse everything down over the weekends to make room for the taproom, before putting everything back during the week for when they’re brewing.
“It’s just getting so pokey, I feel like we’re only going to be adorably unpretentious for so long before it gets cramped and a bit of a pain.”
Little Bang Brewery is currently made up of a melange of brewing and winemaking equipment and other odds and ends that the boys have either found or made themselves. While Davidson is confident in the brewing side of the business, the other side to running a brewery has them still at the foundations stage at the new site.
“While we’re learning, we’re getting stuck in and doing a lot of the build ourselves, along with a couple of very talented mates.”
“We’ve dug up a lot of concrete, buried an awful lot of pipe, and poured concrete back on top.”
“So, so tens and thousands of dollars later it still looks like where we started, except now we can build a brewery on top.”
“All we need to do now is figure out how we’re going to afford that.”
Davidson said he hopes to be open for summer, brewing beer at the new site at whatever stage of the build they’re at. The new site spans 1000 square metres and is about five to six times the size of where Little Bang is now.
The space will house a bar and beer hall to the left, with several different spaces, including a lounge area and barrel room. There will be mezzanine level that will perch above the bar and offer additional seating. There are also plans for a stage to accommodate bands.
To the right will be the production brewery, which will incorporate a packaging line and much more storage, including cold storage. Out the front will be a multipurpose space for outdoor seating and greenery on the weekends, as well as a more practical delivery space during the week.
The new brewhouse will remain the same at 15hl but will move up to four vessels. Davidson said the decision gives them versatility to produce higher volumes of the same beer, or up to four different smaller batches per day.
“The last thing we want is to be hemmed into mass production of a core range that we then need to do all that boring stuff like trying to maximise our reach through market chains.”
“We’ve seen with other breweries that have gotten a lot bigger that there is that pressure and they lose their spark and their creativity, and get pushed into this treadmill of pumping out a core beer or two.”
“If we compromise on that, I think we’ll quite quickly lose our personalities.”
The new brewhouse will be upgraded from nine taps to at least 20, with the view to installing a hand pump or two as well. Davidson said the plan is to have 16 Little Bang Beers on tap, two to showcase their favourite local breweries and two to highlight both interstate and international standouts.
Davidson said that he’d like to put Little Bang up against the best in Australia and the best in the world.