The name of its home base might have changed but don’t expect one of WA’s fastest-growing beer labels to slip into a black hole.
Indeed, the owners of Black Brewing Co. in the State’s South-West believe a fresh identity for its brewhouse and new branding will enable the business to continue its expansion.
And that could be sooner rather than later with a stronger Perth presence in the pipeline.
For the past three years Black Brewing Co. has used its home in Wilyabrup near Margaret River to build its drinks and cuisine into a prominent part of the WA food and beverage market.
Now the Black Brewing Co. facility will be known as the Caves Road Collective with new lodgers Dune Distilling and Ground to Cloud Wines moving in to create an eclectic mix for discerning consumers.
Black will continue to be the flagship beer brand but because of the location of the venue on one of WA’s most visited tourist drives, owners Stewart Sampson, Kristin Kestell, Rob Johnston and James Paterson decided to turn the site into a multi-faceted visitor experience.
“We do a lot of weddings and events and ‘Black Brewing Co. Weddings’ doesn’t have the right appeal – it’s not the right name for us in this area because we offer wine, great food and spirits and more,” Stewart told Brews News.
“Recently we signed a lease here for another 12 years and we thought if Black Brewing Co. needs to leave, build a bigger brewery or expand elsewhere it would be a shame to change the name again.
“We have ideas to do other stuff and we wanted this venue to reflect an all-inclusive experience of Margaret River (region) with great booze, great food and great other things as well.
“It would be a home of a collective of great things in this region.”
Stewart outlined that the concept for the group model came well before the brewery and the initial plan was to go to a nearby property, build a shed for artisanal produce then grow with another structure that might have accommodated “a brewery, a bakery, a coffee roaster or an art space and then go on piece by piece from there”.
But when the old Duckstein brewery, located on the famous Saracen wine estate, got into financial trouble and had to vacate the facility was too good to pass up.
So Black Brewing Co. came first. And now the expansion has realised the distilling and wine enterprises.
The Caves Road Collective will also feature the Honest Ale beer label, a partnership between the Black Brewing Co. crew and local star surfers Taj Burrow, Dino Adrian and Jay Davies plus Caley Brent-White.
“This move allows Honest Ale to have its own story and growth path,” Stewart said. “It is available in six States now. We’re in with ALM (Australian Liquor Marketers) and we have Dan Murphy’s firing up now.
“We have full-time sales staff on the east coast and Honest Ale can then grow and not have to look like one of Black Brewing Co’s beers.
“It is its own company. Taj, Dino, Caley and Jay own half the business and now Honest Ale can rise within the Collective with the possibility of an Honest Ale tap room, cellar door or brewery.”
The new Dune Distillery will use its 500-litre still to deliver gins boosted by local botanicals.
Ground to Cloud wines are produced from the property’s vineyards and include Chardonnay, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Syrah, and Rose.
The beers coming from the Black brewhouse, which delivers a Lager, an IPA, Bao Bao Milk Stout, Fresh Ale, Saison and new Pale Ale, have been well received. The Rice Lager picked up a gold medal at the recent Indies awards in Sydney.
The Black Brewing Co. label has also undergone a revamp with cleaner colour differentials and an homage to local marron a key plank of the badge on cans and bottles.
An IPA aged in wine barrels from the Margaret River region and a Framboise using raspberries from Albany will soon be released in the new uniform.
Black Brewing Co. has a venue, Little Brother, in the nearby Dunsborough town centre and Stewart said the brand also wanted to have a residence in Perth, although Stewart was committed to keeping the brewing operation in the South West.
“We have two full-time salesmen there, and two others helping out, but we have no home in Perth,” Stewart said. “Unfortunately, we can’t take people to a base in Perth to showcase our beers.
“There is no reason why production should move from Wilyabrup. It isn’t an expensive exercise to send beers to Perth (250km north) and we have trucks going up twice a week.
“I would like the production to stay down here and benefit the local community. That is all part of being a local collective.”
The full Caves Road Collective experience now includes:
Caves Road Collective restaurant: the restaurant is lead by Chef Hayden Vink with a delicious pared-back menu using great quality local ingredients from the ocean, pasture, garden and pantry. Kids are welcome and have their own special menu, a playground, and loads of space to run around and be entertained. The Spring menu is now available.
Caves Road Collective events and weddings: the venue will continue to host regular events, exhibitions and live music and remains Margaret River’s leading spot for stunning wedding ceremonies and receptions for 80 to 500 guests. The venue will also play host to a Margaret River Gourmet Escape satellite event this year – the Caves Road Cantina – with a pop-up restaurant and bar at the Gourmet Village.
Black Brewing Co.: Brewers Shannon Grigg and Adam Brookes are pumping out some terrific brews under Black Brewing Co.’s relaunched brand and packaging with a four-fold increase in production capacity. They’ve won a couple of awards already this year and are flat-out meeting the increasing demand for the brand’s Lager, IPA, Bao Bao Milk Stout, Fresh Ale, Saison and new Pale Ale. They also brew Honest Ale for local surfing legends Taj Burrow, Dino Adrian and Jay Davies.
Dune Distilling: Dune Distilling’s pilot gin is a quiet achiever, walking out the door and available at some of WA’s best bars. It’s made on site, and will soon be lifted to a new level thanks to the two new stills on the way from the Netherlands.
Ground to Cloud Wines: Ground to Cloud wines are produced from the property’s vineyards including Margaret River’s best varieties: Chardonnay, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Syrah, and Rose.
Caves Road Collective is located at 3517 Caves Road, Wilyabrup