Stone & Wood Brewing has announced plans to open a Brisbane venue that will include a 600-litre pilot brewery.
Co-founder Ross Jurisich told Australian Brews News that the venue would be a Brisbane base for the brewery.
“It’s not designed to be a hotel, it’s not designed to compete with our customers,” he said.
“It will be a training venue and a home away from home for us.”
“It’s an extension of the Byron Bay tasting room as well as a training space for our customers to come and learn about our beers. It will also be a great base for our Brisbane crew.”
The 90-seat venue will be in a warehouse on Bridge Street in Fortitude Valley, tucked behind the train lines. The venue will pour Stone & Wood’s regular lineup together with some in-house brews.
The move follows Scottish brewery BrewDog’s announcement that it had chosen Brisbane as the home for its Australian operations, a move which will see a roll-out of BrewDog branded pubs.
The threat to independent brewers is increasingly looking to be the rising vertical integration of breweries and retail outlets.
These include the Rockpool Group, which owns – amongst many other brands – the Bavarian Bier Cafe chain as well as the contract Urban Craft Brewing Co, and has been expanding its footprint with growth accelerating since it was acquired by private equity group Quadrant two years ago. The once strongly traditional German theming has been going progressively downmarket as it reaches for growth.
In July, Redcape Hotel group acquired the Australian Hotel and Brewery, Colonial Leisure Group own Colonial Brewing Co as well as venues nationally, and Australian Venue Co, formerly Dixon Hospitality Group, owns national venues including the Beer Deluxe Chain and purchased the Hawthorn beer brand in 2017.
Jurisich said the aggressive vertical integration can’t be ignored.
“With the likes of Brew Dog coming in and setting up shop, we’d be mad to not keep an eye on it,” he said.
“The line between supplier and customer is blurring. Hotel groups are buying breweries and there’s a change in the external-trading environment that we need to be mindful of.”
“Our main focus is building a relationship between our customers and us as supplier but at the same time if we continue down that old-fashioned route, we can lose relevance.”
“We want to make sure we don’t lose our local relevance, and this venue will be a small touch point for people who can’t get down to Byron as often as they’d like.”
The new venue is due to be open within six months.