So, it goes without saying that this last 16 months (yep, we’re finally out of the crawling stage and walking around smashing our heads on things) has been crazy. Like stupid Crazy. Our family here at the brewery has doubled. And doubled again and now will grow to 7. I don’t think any of us have slept in the past 6 months, but that’s normal, right? There are a few things I want to touch base on here, a couple of issues I want to address and I also want to make sure the record is set straight and ensure everyone knows exactly where we sit.
First off, the problem with giving a fuck is that when you aren’t sticking 100% to the road you have chosen it tears shreds from your soul and crushes your spirit. Now that might sound a little melodramatic- but bear with me.
We set out with a very firm set of goals and a strong ethos- 16 months of solid growth has made two things very evident; 1) Beer is about love, not money, 2) Without money, love won’t put beer in a can, 3) (ok, so three things) As much as I hate to admit it- this is a business first and foremost. Now don’t get me wrong here- each and every beer we brew has as much love, care and effort put into it’s creation as humanly possible- we couldn’t live with putting out sub-standard products.
The reason for this semi-rant is that (as some of you will have noticed) we have shifted slightly away from our original motto of “Everything we brew, We grow” to “Freshly Brewed, Freshly Grown”.
The problem is, as with every business growth story, something had to give. Our resource growth hasn’t kept up with our brewery growth- that’s it, plain and simple. We are still endeavouring to source as locally as possible (WA>Australia) and are trying to lock in enough hops from WA to see us well into next year. The problem is though, it’s really going to be a middle term goal to bring everything back in house, because, let’s face it; the beer is the most import aspect of what we do. Now I know this may seem like a colossal shift, believe you me, I have been digesting this for some time and trying to find a way that we can miraculously make two tons of hops appear in our cool room. Unfortunately, the magic lamp never appeared and I’ve had to buy them in. We’ve also had to make some tough decisions with our malt and expand our current water filtration set-up to allow for a mix of ground and rain waters to be used.
Now again- this isn’t to say we aren’t working on increasing our raw ingredient production- we are! Our hop yard is looking better than ever and we are firmly focussed on a significant expansion in this area for the 2019 Hop season.
But don’t stress- we haven’t been sitting idle; Our orchard has increased in size significantly to assist with our sour and fruited beers, Our production capacity is increasing from our current 210HL to 450HL (giving us the capability to produce somewhere around 750,000 litres of beer/year). Our barrel store has grown from 4 barrels to 65. We’ve also been working hard to increase our efficiency in the brewhouse, reduce our energy use, reduce our water use and overall make a smaller footprint. Even though we are more than doubling production, we should be using less water and power than we were 3 months ago. This is bred out of necessity- being off grid means we have firm limits on the amount of power available to us; if we aren’t smart in our energy use, we could have a serious problem on our hands.
Another huge aspect of our growth is about to be made reality- our Cellar Door will be opening in time for summer (10 Marine Terrace, Busselton). We have eschewed a farm-based location for now, in favour of a small Cellar Door in town- there are many reasons for this, deserving of a blog post of their own- so I won’t add detail here. Safe to say we are super pumped to have this starting up and look forward to seeing everyone come on through.
Now that I’ve bored you- I’ll leave you on this note. It’s important to care about things, some more so than others. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions about the things you care about. It’s not easy, but there’s no backing down. Hopefully this has given an insight into who we are, where we are at and why we are doing what we are doing.
Cheers and Beers