Batch Brewing Co is set to open up its latest brewing operations in a Sydney Inner West pub.
Batch will be launching a nanobrewery at the Public House Petersham officially from 3rd August.
In addition to the small batch brewing operations, they will operate a public tasting bar offering cans and bottled condition brews that won’t be available anywhere else, as well as collaborative events between PHP and Batch.
Co-founder of Batch, US native Andrew Fineran, said that the pilot brewery would specialise in experimental brews as their existing Marrickville site evolved.
“We’ve invested a lot in the brewery in Marrickville, and we asked ourselves, as craft beer is growing, do we expand and build a bigger brewery, do we do what everyone else is doing?
“We’re producing good beers but we think we can do better. We needed a pilot brewery where we can test beers. We thought it would be fun to do that and do more experimentation,” he said.
The added benefit of the pilot brewery is to develop their main site in Marrickville further, Fineran explained.
“We realised we could actually get more volume out of [the existing site] and we can make it run more efficiently.
“It was time to get the Marrickville place more efficient, and evolve our original brewery but stay true to our roots – we’ve gone smaller to help us grow.”
The ethos of the brewery is to continually try new recipes and ingredients, to the point where it brews a new beer every 10 days or so, and Batch wants to maintain this high level of experimentation capability as it grows, said Fineran.
He said that they have already made around 200 beers including American Pale Ale, Pash the Magic Dragon Sour Ale and Hopsy Mozy Nitro IPA, and have another 100 recipes in mind for future brews. The pilot nanobrewery, coming in at 350 litres and so producing around seven kegs per batch, would aid these ambitious plans.
“If you can do it in a small setting, you can do one offs. For beers like Plum DMC we buy fruit from the farmer when it’s just ripe and you can’t do it in large quantities,” he explained.
Batch’s deal with Public House Petersham embodies the community feel that the brewers want to maintain even as they grow.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with the Public House – we like their ethos.”
However plans could have turned out differently, as Batch were looking at a warehouse close to their Marrickville site. The team made a conscious decision to move into an existing pub, according to Fineran.
“We’ve been interested in that brewpub-style place and [Public House Petersham] had a shed outside, where a homebrewing collective was setup, but you weren’t allowed to do that for any length of time.
“The positive thing for us is the vibe and collaboration with the pub – but I don’t have to manage a pub or a kitchen. I know how to brew beer and run a brewery.
“Food is their expertise, and like with our tasting room in Marrickville, we get a food truck in. That’s their expertise, and making, selling and pouring beers is ours. We get the best of both worlds.”
The team at Batch continued their collaborative approach with the council, Fineran said.
“I reached out to the mayor and head of planning. It isn’t an industrial zone site, so the challenge was figuring out how are we going to be able to put a brewery in there.
“[The council] were fully supportive and it was a case of ‘how can we all work together to make this happen?’
“It’s very much a small setup, it’s not a case of putting a full production brewery in a residential area.
“It’s smaller than the brewpub model in America, so there’s not a lot of big trucks coming in, and we’re still leveraging the industrial setup at Marrickville. We won’t be disrupting the neighbours and we did a lot of acoustic reports.
“It made council feel better that we were already thinking about that. You always have to work through those things with the council but we got there and we we’re all on the same page.”
Whether councils will become more amenable or flexible when it comes to industrial and residential zoning is another matter, but it’s something to consider, according to Fineran.
“Councils in general need to get their heads around breweries and how they can operate without big industrial setups.
“With a brewery setup, people think your aspirations are to be CUB, but that’s not the case anymore – breweries can be a nice local community business without it being huge and it’s getting councils to understand that.
“There are checks and balances, but it won’t become a big huge brewery slap in the middle of a neighbourhood.”
Keeping it neighbourhood-friendly is a focus for Batch, Fineran said.
“Petersham has always been a diamond in the rough. Venues like the Petersham Bowls Club, The White Cockatoo and the Public House, those guys are working to make this place really cool and hopefully all of us working together will help lift it.”
The Small Batch @ PHP Opening Party will be held on Saturday, August 3rd from 1pm.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.