Construction has started on the long-awaited Shelter Brewing Co, the latest brewery to launch in Western Australia, after a five-year development process.
It will be located on the Busselton Foreshore opposite the iconic Busselton Jetty in Western Australia’s south west.
The brewery is set to open in spring 2020, and the directors have ambitious plans to open on time and on budget. Plans for the microbrewery were first unearthed in 2014, and the directors of Shelter sought liquor licensing approvals in 2017, so it’s been a drawn-out affair, one which almost didn’t make it this far.
Shelter Brewing Co is a joint venture between the Credaro brothers Jason, Matt, Chris and Mike and Packard-Hair brothers Zeb and Asher, all fourth-generation locals.
Head brewer Jason Credaro graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Oenology at Curtin University in 2007 and has been in the drinks manufacturing industry ever since, starting in winemaking but experiencing an Oktoberfest in Munich proved to be the turning point on the way to brewing beer.
In 2009, he worked at Billabong Brewery Myaree, then at Little Creatures in Fremantle before their takeover by Lion Nathan, and after four years left to start Blue Mile Brewing. He was at the helm until 2018, before moving to Brick Lane Brewing Co on a 12-month contract.
The Shelter project brought him back to WA.
“The longer we were involved with the project and the more we went down that road, we got to the point where we decided if we want to do the project right and do justice to the site, we wanted a partnership that would bring another level of experience in,” Credaro explained.
“We thought that the only thing worse than not doing the project was doing it and not doing the site and the town justice, we were close to pulling out and then last minute Zeb and Asher found out we were looking for a partnership.
“There was a lot of due diligence between both families and the city of Busselton, that’s why it dragged out for a while.”
The team went in for a rebranding and basically began the whole process again after finding last minute partners in the Packard-Hair brothers, but the project got back on track in the past two years. Having worked with the community and council to get the concept right, it’s now full steam ahead.
The Busselton community
While initially taking a little time to warm up to the concept of Shelter (with a reported 107 complaints made when plans were first proposed in 2014), the community of Busselton has got on board and so have the council, said Credaro.
“The city has been really good and far as the local community goes, you always get a little bit of backlash [with development applications], but 99 per cent of feedback has been great.
“They [may have] seen it as just another alcohol venue going in, but we as an industry are trying to educate everyone that microbreweries are not about heavy drinking culture.
“We’re about that community, casual feel. A place where you can have a meal with your family, have a couple of beers with your mates – it doesn’t need to be anything more than that,” he said.
Busselton is a thriving WA tourist destination around two hours from Perth and is known for its sheltered bay and pier, and it was the tourism angle that seemed to work with the council.
“The city of Busselton have been really good and supportive of the project. Down here one of our major industries is tourism,” explained Credaro.
“While Shelter will not just be a tourist venue – it will be for the local community too, which is so important for us – for the city it’s another reason why Busselton will be amazing to visit.”
Keeping it in the family
Inevitably, board meetings with two sets of brothers get a bit boisterous, but the team all have different skills to bring to the table. Between them they have experience in civil engineering, winemaking, venue management and of course, brewing.
While they didn’t actually know each other before the partnership, both the Credaro and Packard-Hair families have a long history in the region.
“We’re all born and grew up here, and our families have been here a long time, even our great-grandparents worked together.”
Between them they have worked out a 50/50 family split in terms of investment for the business, each relying on their own methods of funding.
And when it comes to the beer-related operations, Shelter is putting its brew kit specifications out to tender.
Credaro is looking at a 25hL, three-vessel brewkit with a range of 50 and 100hL fermenters, as well as 25hL horizontal bright beer tanks to be used as serving tanks, but hasn’t identified a supplier as of yet as the process is still in its design phase.
In keeping with the theme of green breweries which have seen the likes of Lion and Heads of Noosa install solar panels, Shelter will be following suit.
Shelter Brewing Co is set to open by spring 2020.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.