The founders of Brisbane-based Aether Brewing are splitting the business, with head brewer Dave Ward set to launch his own Aether-branded brewpub in Northgate next week.
The existing Milton site will stay in the hands of his Aether co-founder Jimmy Young. It will be renamed Milton Common, and a new brewer will be engaged for its production operations.
Ward will retain the Aether name, and launch his production-focused brewery and tasting room in Northgate on Indie Beer Day, Saturday 26th October.
“After what can only be described as a busy, tumultuous and somewhat insane few years getting Aether Brewing up and running, Jimmy and Dave, the two founders and people behind Aether Brewing are continuing to live their passions and chase their dreams as separate companies,” they said in a joint statement.
“It’s a tough, demanding and very intense industry and the strain and stress is felt most between business partners.
“But, while being a less than ideal situation for all involved, Jimmy and Dave hope and trust that the amazing people that have supported them over the years continue to, and reap the benefits of the pursuit of their passions.”
Ward received planning approval for the new brewery by Brisbane City Council earlier this year.
The new brewery, on Melton Road in Northgate, will include a small tap room for external tastings and sales.
“[The Northgate site] is a brewery first, with the taproom mean to engage the local community,” Ward said.
He explained that the split was amicable, but had been compounded by the pressures of operating in a difficult sector.
“It’s a tough industry and Jimmy and I went into this as best friends. As the business got harder, our relationship was put under more and more stress and we got to breaking point.
“Right now we’re in a unique position where we can both walk away with a future and step out of our respective comfort zones,” he said.
Next steps are to grow the company, Ward said, bringing in new staff to help at the brewery, followed by a focus on marketing.
“I want to get the beers bang on. We’ll get the brewery operating and then from there we’ll hopefully grow to maximum capacity and that will help to grow the brand a bit more.
“We’re keen to break into interstate distribution too,” he said. Currently Aether supply Queensland bottle shops and the occasional NSW venue.
Aether opened in November 2016 on Railway Terrace – positioned effectively in the shadow of the XXXX Milton brewery.
“I’ve always loved brewing. I had my own homebrewing system and everything and always wanted to open a brewery, I just needed someone like Jimmy who was just as excited about beer. He was the catalyst that drove the whole thing,” Ward said.
He explained that the brewing industry in Brisbane had been pivotal to their success so far.
“The Brisbane brewing scene from the very start was amazing. When Jimmy and I first started we were launching at Beer InCider in 2016. The kegs didn’t turn up in time, we rang the guys at Newstead, who immediately washed some and brought them over,” he said.
“That was our very first contact with another brewery in Brisbane. It’s a statement to what people are like in Brisbane we don’t see ourselves as competition, we’re a collective, just trying to make the best beer possible.”