It’s not all about beer.
To be honest I’m not a writers behind, however for the sake of my own sanity I think I should attempt to write about some of my experiences so far.
As most of you following this will be aware, we are a fair way down the path to opening a production brewery on our family dairy farm. An idea was hatched late last year- we did some feasibilities and I’ve ploughed ahead with the implementation of it. To say it’s been easy wouldn’t be fair, however it’s probably (to this point) not been quite as difficult as one might expect. A whole lot of work, very little sleep and some arguments ensued, however for the most part everything has been relatively smooth. Our approvals went through with only minor changes necessary, probably the most difficult part and the area that has caused us by far the most trouble is the waste water system. Initially we wanted to re-use our waste water (all cleaning chemicals are neutralised by the end of cleaning cycles)…this is apparently something that is very difficult to fathom- who could possibly want to re-use perfectly good water? Long story short, we ended up capitulating and agreeing to a system which…well it’s a long story that may get me into some s*** (pardon the pun) so I best tell it in person. We have made every effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible; both during the build and moving into our production phase. This has included the install of an off-grid electrical system, supplying three phase power. It’s a beauty! We have no connection to the electrical grid whatsoever, just a massive battery bank and a small generator backup in case of failure. At every step we have tried to ensure maximum efficiency, including a few small changes to our brewery to ensure less power use (more on this in a later blog) Our liquor license has been conditionally approved- words can’t explain just how excited I was when I found this out. All we now require is final sign off on our build. We are so very close to that stage; just some finishing touches on the bathroom/toilet and lab and we are a go!
Our equipment has been very carefully sourced direct from a manufacturer in China: yes I would have loved to use local gear or even equipment from the US or Canada, however it is just too far outside our current budget. We have had a small delay on the manufacturing side- my fault as I made some late changes to the system design. The build should be complete mid-July and arrive in Australia late July or early August. Here’s hoping the process continues relatively smoothly.
Anyone following our Instagram/ Facebook feeds will see our latest Hop propagation efforts: subsequent to the latest post I have now nearly 600 rhizome cuttings from 12 varities. We are aiming for around 80% strike rate in the greenhouse which should give us a fairly good kick-start to this season. If anyone is interested in Hops and growing them in this region, please drop me a line. There is a plethora of information available however very little on our specific climate and I’m more than happy to share the little I’ve learned. All of our Hops are fertilised with compost from the dairy, with a carefully selected cover crop planted this season to add nitrogen and biomass back to the soil. We are making every effort to ensure that our hop production is sustainable, both for the environment and to our predicted brewing needs.
Our first barley crop is in the ground! LaTrobe and Bass varieties, planted