Former professional BMX rider Cam White has been given the green light for his newest venture, a taproom brewery in coastal NSW.
Big Niles Brewing Co is set to launch by the end of the year after a 12-month development process. White received approval from the council at the beginning of this week and is now waiting on his licence application.
The 110 square metre venue in Dalmeny, a coastal city in southern New South Wales, will feature a 500-litre brewery, a beer garden and taproom.
It’s been a big change for White, who spent more than a decade in the US and rode in some major BMX tournaments across the country. After having a family though it was time to slow down, and like many brewers, his passion for beer started off in homebrewing.
“I’ve been doing it for five years now and just fell in love with it, the options and creativity really appealed to me,” he explained.
White returned to Australia and with his family settled in Dalmeny in the Narooma area, he found a house with land and a shed at the back – fortuitously located on the edge of an industrial zone.
The local council got on board, although like with most planning applications it took a little longer than expected for the brewery to be approved.
“I wasn’t expecting it to take 12 months. Before I bought the house I met with the council and told them this is what I want to do.
“They were very supportive, but these processes take a lot of time and they’ve got to make sure they’re covering everything.
“I got my approval yesterday (29th July) but there’s still a lot of work before I can get the taproom open.”
Once Big Niles Brewing gets its licence through, the first thing on the agenda is wholesale, followed by completion of the taproom and bar.
White has been installing Big Niles’ equipment himself and he wants to keep this hands-on approach throughout the development and running of the brewery.
“It’s awesome because you learn so much about your own equipment and how it works.
“We wanted to keep it manageable though, with handcrafted small batches. It’s very hands on and all the canning and bottling is done by me.”
So far his hands-on approach and the novelty of being the only brewery in miles has been well received, he said.
“We’ve had a lot of positive response from people, they’re really excited and pumped – I’ll be working on the site and they’ll stop by and have a yarn, it’s awesome.
“There’s not a crazy night life here, there’s a few local clubs and pubs, no nightclubs or anything like that, I’m the first brewery in the council area.”
Bearing in mind the local crowd which is relatively new to craft beer, he’ll play it safe with his beers he said.
“I went to a fair few little breweries over in the US in San Diego and Las Vegas and I really enjoy their style of beer.
“I’m a fan of IPAs and getting that hop and malt balance. I’m going for a few lagers and real easy-to-drink American style lager – nothing too flashy – just to help people that haven’t ventured into craft beer, to slowly get them into it.
“I don’t think [people in Dalmeny] have been exposed to it before – the closest brewery is probably an hour and a half away, people don’t really want to drive that far for craft beer – well maybe except me.”
But despite the career change, White said it has all been worth it so far.
“You got to enjoy these experiences, I learn every day and I’ll continue to keep learning, it makes all the hard work worthwhile when you get it done.”
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.