The Glass House Brewery project has been a three and a half year journey for co-founders Simon Michelangeli and Paul Sanders, who installed their brewhouse this week.
As with many new breweries, there have been some wrinkles in the road to the install.
Simon said that “it’s been a bumpy ride” with “investment that was committed then becoming uncommitted”.
“The project has stopped and started a couple of times but Paul and I have together kept persevering,” Simon explained.
“Now, we’ve got a really great team of investors but also a group of people that bring a range of skills from backgrounds in marketing to construction.”
“So, there’s a small team that has essentially taken a project that was not going anywhere fast for three years and in the space of three months we’ve gone from a shell to – hopefully in a few weeks – a fully-operational brewpub.”
The pair met 15 years ago at a homebrewing conference and, since then, have always planned to do something together.
With a background in marketing strategy, Simon’s skills compliment those of microbiologist and qualified brewer Paul, though the delay in their project has seen the Sunshine Coast craft beer scene take off before they could get up and running.
“When we first looked at the project, the Sunshine Coast Brewery was the only brewery around,” Simon explained.
“The current number that they’re talking about has been approximately 14 [craft breweries] on the Sunshine Coast.”
While competition in the area has increased, Simon said that he believes in the uniqueness of Glass House Brewery and its place on the Sunshine Coast.
“From a product strategy point of view, we have gone to some lengths to create a range that has appeal to local drinkers, whether or not they would describe themselves as craft beer lovers.”
Glass House Brewery is now home to a 15hl four vessel Spark brewhouse, which arrived and was installed on Tuesday this week. With hopes of expanding to eight vessels, the production facility will be set up targeting a wholesale market, but also with a 200-seat venue and beer garden attached.
Simon said that the design will feature a glassed brewery allowing patrons to see straight from the brewpub into the production brewery.
With both founders having Italian heritage and with experience in Italian-oriented food-trucks and wholesale businesses, they are bringing an Italian theme to the brewery restaurant.
Simon said that they felt that “quality, affordable Italian food is something that’s a bit lacking on the Sunshine Coast”.
“So, we’ve developed a family-friendly Italian-based menu with pizza at the centre and a range of more traditional italian options built around a pizza menu,” he explained.
The venue will feature 10 taps.
“In the early stages we may work with a few local breweries to have some guest taps as well, but we are looking to have… eight of our products on tap and then a couple of guest taps including Sunshine Coast Cider.”
“We’ve done a lot of work developing our product range for primarily the local market.”
With a strong focus on lagers, Glass House Brewery now has a 3.5 per cent mid-strength Australian pale lager and a Czech-style black lager, which have been brewed locally to ensure that there is enough beer for when Simon and Paul officially open to the public.
The duo also hope to have “at least a couple of brews” from their own brewhouse completed in time.
“We’ve sort of done a range of testing and trying to understand what local drinkers want.”
“Certainly flavourful lagers are something that we see as pretty popular in the market here and that there is perhaps not as much knowledge of craft beer on the Sunshine Coast as there might be in other major cities.”
“We’re conscious that we’re wanting to brew beer for locals, whether they’re into craft or just into good beer.”
Simon said that Glass House Brewery also has a red IPA, a Pacific-style lager and plans to brew an organic pale ale as well.
Glass House Brewery is located at 8/330 Mons Road, Forest Glen and will be opening to the public mid November.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.