Brisbane City Council has given Fick Brewing Company the go-ahead for a new brewhouse in the suburb of Northgate.
Nadresha Costa and her husband, Luxembourg native Fabrizio Ceccarelli, are set to launch their Belgian-inspired brewhouse this year.
The site at 108 Old Toombul Road was previously a warehouse with caretakers’ accommodation, and is being used as a family residence by the new brewery owners, who bought the property in 2016 as part of a five-year plan.
“We started brewing together in Luxembourg and selling it to some local events and clubs for distribution.
“We came home in 2016 for two weeks so my husband could finalise his visa. We looked at this place [in Northgate] and knew it was perfect,” Costa said.
The family moved over permanently from Luxembourg in 2018, and applied to transform the warehouse into a microbrewery and bar. Brisbane City Council gave initial planning consent in May this year.
The process hasn’t been an easy one, with delays in development applications throwing the launch date for the brewhouse off.
“Our tools have been downed waiting for approvals over the last nine months and we’re just trying to stay sane!” Costa said.
Now initial approvals have been secured, the brewhouse is set to open in Spring.
Both Costa and Ceccarelli came from very different backgrounds, with Ceccarelli studying brewing over the border in Belgium while at the same time working as a historian at a museum in Luxembourg.
Meanwhile Costa, a Brisbane native, has a background in engineering consultancies and graphic design. It’s been a family effort and the pair have brought Costa’s father, a mechanical engineer, on to help with the project.
They secured equipment with 12-hectolitre capacity from Chinese maker Tiantai and have been receiving advice from established Brisbane’s Ballistic Brewing on getting the brewery here to Australia.
“We just want to be a small batch brewery, selling totally locally. We want to keep it simple so we can balance our family and brewing life.”
She said that in Luxembourg, sales and distribution are limited by local regulations, but it’s also a growing industry.
“Only a few licences are given out and you have to go through a brewery to get a licence,” she said.
“It’s started to evolve now and there’s been a surge of people wanting to do their own breweries.
“It’s completely different in Australia. [At Fick] we’ve got that Belgian influence, and we’re both really into Belgian beers, but we’re open to everything.”
The beer offering will be complemented by a “tasting room” of European street food.
“It’ll be basic to start with and we’ll evolve with what people want,” she said.
Adapting to the wants of the community is at the heart of Fick Brewing, and Costa said they loved the area immediately.
“The Northgate-Nundah area has a real neighbourhood feel to it.
“We love how neighbourhoods are decentralising and lots of little places are popping up that you can just walk down to. We wanted to create something like that in our little pocket of the neighbourhood.”
She said they had also received extensive support from the “fantastic” brewing community in Brisbane.
“We’re part of the IBA and they and the other brewers here are so helpful, it’s incredible. We’ll bring doughnuts to the guys from Aether [who are moving into a site on Melton Road] and ask them loads of questions.
“It’s not a closed-off, competitive scene. It’s an open source community and that’s what we’re about.”
Fick will join the growing number of breweries setting up in the Brisbane area, following two new brewhouses launching in the bayside suburb of Wynnum.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries.