Moffat Beach Brewing Co., winner of the Champion Brewpub trophy at this year’s Indies, is opening its second venue and brewery.
Now the team has developed a second venue and production brewery in Caloundra to complement the existing beachfront microbrewery, and it is officially launching to the public today.
“We’re pretty tired,” admitted Matty. “Shaz and I are running on adrenaline and we’ll be glad to get the place open, and making some money instead of eating money! But it’s been a lot of fun building it and getting it up and running.”
Challenges of a second venue
Breweries across the country have been investing in second venues, from Brisbane-based Range’s Melbourne taproom, to Gage Road launching a major site in Perth following the opening of its Sydney venue.
But wherever the location and whatever the size of the brewery, the challenge is finding the perfect site and Moffat Beach was no different.
“Finding the right site was difficult. We did want to stay in Moffat Beach there, but we had a site lined up there and the guy that wanted it sold the land and then the land sale fell through,” explained Wilson.
“He was going to develop the shed for us, said he had too much debt, so we had to go find another place.
“Then we agreed terms on another shed, found out it wasn’t in the right zoning.”
The site Moffat Beach settled on is a former car wreckers on a major thoroughfare into the coastal town of Caloundra, but even this wasn’t perfect.
“Long story short, we ended up having to do a full DA which cost us upwards of $20,000, which we would have preferred to have spent on the fit out, but it is what it is,” Wilson said.
Following a full fit-out including the brewery and kitchen, the finishing touch was the eye-catching artwork that covers the building from local artist Steve Bordonaro, who had initially been brought in for an internal mural.
“Before the Moffat Beach Brewing signs were there, we had some little old ladies come in want to buy pot plants!”
Having already cut their teeth at their popular beachfront site, however, some aspects of the new venue have proven simpler.
“On the hospitality side of things it’s been easier because we know what we’re doing. [Our soft launch this week] was seamless, the hospitality side of things has been a lot smoother,” explained Wilson.
“Even installing the brewery, I know a lot more about it than I did in 2015 when we did the little one.
“I’ve been really happy with how the beers have scaled up, we only had one batch down the drain and that was an operator error on my part, so that’s more about me learning.”
Building a brewery in a pandemic inevitably came with challenges.
“It was a bit of a shock initially with COVID,” explained Wilson.
“The Chinese manufacturers were going to come out and put it together but they obviously couldn’t come over.
“I thought ‘How am I going to do this by myself?’ but one of our good customers Rodney is an electrician who sold his business and he was semi-retired.
“I said, ‘mate I’ll pay you, do you want to come and help and put this together?'”
“I wouldn’t have got it together except for him, and Mark our builder who built the shed, he’s been amazing with fit-out.”
Even the brewing has become a team effort, with Matty bringing friend and fellow army veteran Jim on as assistant brewer.
“The production house will be doing our biggest selling lines like the Summer Ale, Social Jam and Passenger, those core range beers, and at the other site brew things like our 9% abv Iggy Hop Double IPA, so that will be our R&D brewery. It’s been fun going over and using the little one.
“We put Jim on, we were in the army together, we worked on operations together overseas and I gave him all my homebrew gear a while ago.
“He’s been working in the security industry for the last few years and has had enough of that and wanted to come on board.
“I got him up to speed, and he’s doing solo brews himself and I can trust him, so he’s been great.”
However while production may up and running, packaging is lagging behind.
“There’s been a delay on the new canning equipment, we put the order in some time ago, but just got the finance approved.”
The team aren’t getting ahead of themselves with distribution either.
“We haven’t pushed any wholesale stuff just yet, we want to see how busy we are and dial in the processes a bit, I’m still getting the carbonation right, makes them hard to pour if they’re a bit too excited.
“We will see how the venues go over Christmas and we’ve got that canning line commissioned so we will start pushing some beer out into the universe.”
In the short-term, the focus is on Moffat Beach’s venues, and Shaz and Matty are excited to open to new and existing customers tonight.
“Thanks to all of our customers and Rodney and Mark who are the guys that helped with the install, and Shaz of course.”
Moffat Beach Brewing Co. Production House brewery and taproom at 51 Caloundra Road, Caloundra West is open from 3pm.
Find out more about Moffat Beach Brewing Co. on the Beer is a Conversation podcast with Matty and Shaz Wilson.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.