24/10/2006 - 22:00

Matso’s brew a nice package

24/10/2006 - 22:00

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In a climate where the state’s microbrewery stocks are surging ahead and consolidating across Perth, it is worth noting that the Western Australia’s most isolated brewery is quietly and efficiently going about its work.

Matso’s brew a nice package

In a climate where the state’s microbrewery stocks are surging ahead and consolidating across Perth, it is worth noting that the Western Australia’s most isolated brewery is quietly and efficiently going about its work.

Matso’s Broome Brewery, which overlooks Roebuck Bay, has come a long way since opening in 1996 as the first and only brewery in the state’s north-west.

Matso’s is now on the eve of venturing into packaged beer, with its line of craft beers to be distributed throughout WA and interstate.

The move into packaged beer is often a significant challenge for microbreweries that move in that direction, but not one without its rewards.

Matso’s sales and marketing manager, Justin Wiebrecht, says the move will cap off an exciting period for the company.

“We have learnt a lot from gauging the response to our product from recent food and wine trade shows,” Mr Wiebrecht told Gusto.

“And we think that the time will soon be right to see our Monsoonal Blonde, Smoky Bishop and Ginger Beer enter the packaged beer market.”

As a craft beer brand, Matso’s has gained momentum ever since Kimberley hoteliers Martin Peirson-Jones and Kim Hart bought the business.

Having installed a $500,000 custom-made microbrewery and significantly improving the restaurant facilities, Matso’s was soon in prime position to embrace the tourist boom in Broome.

But perhaps the business partners’ best decision was hiring former schoolteacher and self-taught brewer, Mal Secourable.

Mr Secourable presided over the Matso’s beer range before his recent move to the Sail and Anchor in Fremantle. But, during his tenure, he enjoyed immense success with the Matso’s brand.

This was highlighted recently when the Matso’s brewing team pulled in an impressive haul from the 2006 Australian International Beer Awards. Matso’s picked up a ‘best in class’ and two gold medals for its Smoky Bishop Dark Lager.

The Monsoonal Blonde Spiced Wheat Beer won a bronze medal in the specialty section, while the River Rocks Lager snagged two bronze medals.

While the full-flavoured Smoky Bishop brew, named after the Bishop of Broome, Chris Saunders, attracted the attention of the critics, it has been the cardamom-infused Monsoonal Blonde that has struck a chord with punters.

Assistant brewer Martin Peirson-Jones Jnr says the beer is “not your usual blonde that’s infused with orange peel and coriander”.

“Brewing like this is science meets art. It’s chemistry at a certain level, but beyond that it’s drinking it, tasting it, and always trying to take it to the next level,” he says.

The Matso’s team is also putting plenty of work into diversifying its tourist attractions. Its fine art gallery was recently given an upgrade, as were the restaurant facilities.

In addition, the brewery flew in its own North Indian chef and sponsored his stay in Australia while he created the ‘Matso’s Curry Hut’.

Now serving traditional curry recipes to hungry customers, the venture might sound a little strange but anyone who knows how strongly British tourists feel about beer and curry need only look at the steady stream of punters flocking in.

But Matso’s future could be secured by riding the groundswell of success achieved by the state’s burgeoning microbrewery sector, which is enjoying both critical and financial success.

“The microbrewery and craft brewery scene in WA is quite amazing,” Mr Wiebrecht told Gusto.

“No-one can quite work it out, but we are definitely the leaders of this industry in the country.

“Beyond this, there is a definite swing towards premium beer in all the states in this country. Commercial beer is on the way out – Foster’s knows this, Lion Nathan knows this.”

Mr Wiebrecht believes it is the creativity inherent in the product that is the major attraction of microbrewery beer.

Chuck Hahn [of James Squires Beers] came up to me the other day and said he couldn’t believe we were putting cardamom in our blonde beer, and I said to him ‘there are no boundaries in beer Chuck’.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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