Dave Macgill is leaving Tasmania’s Moo Brew after 14 years in the role of general manager and head brewer to pursue a new project.
Macgill joined the team in 2006 after the brewery was founded by Australian professional gambler, art collector and businessman David Walsh who also founded MONA and the Dark Mofo festival. Moo Brew has gone on to become Tasmania’s largest independent craft brewery.
Macgill will be moving onto another project in the same industry and remaining in Tasmania, with more details to be announced in the coming months. He told Brews News that he felt it was the right time to leave and said that while it was a big change, he had great confidence in the Moo Brew team.
“I’ve been there a long time and the business is well set up to take on the next step. It was a great opportunity and we’ve got a really good team kicking around here so I felt I could happily hand it over,” Macgill said.
In his time at ‘Moo’, Macgill has overseen its core range move into cans, won multiple awards at nationwide judging competitions, and joined three other brewers in taking the Taste of Tasmania sponsorship from the big brewers.
He said Moo’s relatively early adoption into cans was a highlight of his career at Moo Brew.
“Being pretty early into cans and being able to change the direction of Moo were probably my proudest moments – keeping the integrity of the brand while moving into packaging and transitioning our core range.
“Over the past couple of years working with the brewers and developing the packaging, we’ve been able to keep the integrity of the brand while we do adaptations of those classic styles, and easing that transition into a competitive landscape, that’s what I’m most proud of too.”
Obtaining the Taste of Tasmania sponsorship, a major event in the Tasmanian and wider national calendar, was a huge win for the local independent breweries involved, he said.
“We were lucky that the management team at Taste had confidence in us and that we could present that on a professional and economic level,” Macgill said.
It was evidence of how far the industry has developed during his time at Moo.
“It’s changed immensely from when we started, and even in the last five to seven years the industry has seen a lot more people from outside of beer-orientated industries come in.
“So the beers have stepped up and the quality of beer is a lot better and the way businesses conduct themselves, with high-level business and hospitality people in management positions, it’s made it more competitive and brought in a level of professionalism which we didn’t see 10 or 15 years ago.”
But this change hasn’t just been driven by internal factors.
“I think the consumer has driven it too and the industry has done a great job of educating the consumer. There’s a lot more investment from the punter too,” he said.
Macgill explained that with the growing competition in the sector, he thought the industry would move towards more localised business models.
“We’ll end up seeing the industry focus more on local areas and what they’re good at locally, we won’t see the big Balters and 4 Pines hit the deck and go national straight away,” he predicted.
But Macgill did say that he felt that the effects of COVID-19 have and will cause change in the industry.
“COVID has forced a lot of people to rethink their business model and look at it in a different way, so I think we’ll see much leaner businesses in future,” he said.
In Tasmania he was confident in the strong evolution of the state’s craft beer industry, citing the work of other brewers like Will Tatchell at Van Dieman and Hobart Brewing Co.
“It’s amazing to see how it’s developed now and there’s a lot of breweries now which are gaining some good recognition. Tassy does that local thing really well and Tasmanians really support that.”
He said that influence from brewers nationwide and interest from consumers has also seen Tasmanian brewers up their game.
“The more people we see that have maybe moved to the mainland and have come to raise children and have families, we’re seeing that push [towards craft beer] and people in Tasmania embracing it more too.
“We’ve seen so many breweries from the mainland come down on tap and it’s given the brewers here an insight into competitiveness and quality.”
Moo Brew will be announcing a new general manager and head brewer very soon, it said in a statement.