Melbourne’s Bodriggy Brewing Co is set to open the doors of its 400-person brewhouse and live music venue next month, having overcome a complex development process.
In contrast to Bodriggy founders’ other venue Dr Morse, the Abbotsford brewhouse will focus on live music, with freshly-brewed beer complemented with Latin American food and tequila, as well as another agave-based liquor, mezcal.
“Our focus is obviously on our beer but we want the space to be able to cater for people with all tastes,” co-founder Pete Walsh said.
“Our ability to trade until late as well as be a vibrant daytime space will be a real strength.”
Bodriggy Brewing Co’s venue has been in the works since 2017 when it acquired the site on an extended lease, just one year after the company was officially founded.
But it’s not been an easy ride for co-founders Jon Costelloe, Anth Daniel and Pete Walsh, and plans to launch last year had to be pushed back.
“We went for gold on our council application and although the support we had from the local community was overwhelmingly positive we still needed to jump through a lot of hoops,” Walsh explained.
“We did hit a bit of a roadblock when we started to dig out our basement toilets and hit rock around one metre in.
“It was basically a giant piece of granite which added a few months on the job. We try not to think about those times these days.”
The project was completed for an undisclosed sum, but like many developments, went over budget.
“It was a close call getting it over the line. Let’s call it a miracle,” Walsh said.
But ultimately Bodriggy has overcome these problems with the tenacity craft brewers are known for, and is due to open its doors in the next month.
The Latin American element to the venue was developed following a meeting with head chef Johny Dominguez, who Walsh describes as “one of the most talented young chefs in Melbourne right now”.
“Plus our focus on balanced hop forward beers and sours beers is the perfect complement to Latin American cuisine,” he explained.
The venue will have 62 taps and hopefully “something for everyone”.
Celebrations are set to begin on 29th July for the community, and the locality has always been at the heart of Bodriggy, Walsh said.
“Bodriggy started in 2016 and for the first year it was literally three decals in three bars in Abbotsford and Collingwood.
“We wanted a beer to call our own and liked the idea of trying to make the ideal Abbotsford and Collingwood beer for the local community.
“That seems like 500 years ago now but it’s still our goal.”
When asked what they may have done differently, Walsh said that biting off more than they could chew in their contract brewing phase was something they might reconsider.
“If I had my time over I probably would of just stuck more to the basics during that period and waited for the more adventurous beers for when we started to brew onsite,” he acknowledged.
For the past year, every drop of Bodriggy beer, including its lactose kettle sour Space Milk, Highbinder pale ale and German pilsner Staunch is brewed on site by head brewer Tristan Barlow, formerly a brewer at La Sirene and Kooinda.
“Transferring into the beer industry has been a real learning curve for us and we are still just really learning the ropes.
“A lot of our industry recognition has been focused on the brewpub opening. So, the fact we are nearing completion means we are about to take a giant step forward.”
Brewpubs are a popular commercial model among craft brewers, and Walsh explained that this is in part down to consumer demand for quality beer, as well as official recognition that brewhouses contribute to the fabric of a neighbourhood.
“The concept of a brewpub is becoming a proven formula and councils are becoming more open to the prospect of it happening within their jurisdiction.
“I think the raw number of people that not only recognise fresh beer but actually look for it is increasing.
“One of our real strengths when we open is going to be our ability to control our stock levels to the point in which all our beer are served at their absolute peak.”
Bodriggy Brewing Co will open its doors from 29th July at 245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia 3067
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