Local craft brewers Otherside Brewing Co and Gage Roads Brewing Company are growing their businesses with new beers, capabilities and contracts.
Two independent Perth-based breweries have launched new products in the past month as their businesses expand in tandem with imbibers’ growing enthusiasm for craft beers.
Otherside Brewing Co and Gage Roads Brewing Company are among about 60 craft brewers in Western Australia supplying the local market, with some even attracting interest from big international players.
Otherside will be boosting capacity as it makes the move from a so-called ‘gypsy brewer’ to a fixed-site in March next year.
Prior to the move, Otherside used other breweries’ facilities to make its lagers and ales, placing it alongside 14 gypsy or contract brewers in WA, according to industry website CraftBeer Reviewer.
WA punters’ appreciation of craft beer has grown markedly in recent years, according to Otherside Brewing director David Chitty, who said the new production facility would be needed to meet growing demand.
He said the new brewing facility, which is currently being manufactured at a location south of the river, would have an annual capacity of 300,000 litres, with the potential to grow.
As the founder and managing director of events company Sunset Events, Mr Chitty launched Otherside Brewing in 2015 for a niche target market of festivalgoers.
“We wanted to start small, and the idea was to just make some beers for the people at the festivals and see how that goes,” Mr Chitty said.
“That went well, so we thought we’d continue, and we’ve sort of just taken that approach to it; we’ll keep making it as long as they keep buying it.”
Otherside currently produces the Festive Session Ale, Social Classic Lager, Harvest Red Ale, Vinyl Black Ale and has just launched its new IPA.
Following recent tie-ups between other local craft brewers and some of the world’s dominant players, Mr Chitty said Otherside’s independence was something it could leverage.
“I think in the food and beverage industry, the whole local provenance thing is really important,” he said.
“For a lot of smaller craft operators who are in a local market, a lot of that (importance) can be around, it’s made here, it’s local, it’s fresh, it’s independently owned by people who live, work and breathe in this state.”
Taking that a step further, Mr Chitty said he wanted people in WA to be directly involved in the business to promote an emotive connection with the brewery.
Through Otherside’s ‘Own a Bit of a Brewery’ campaign, customers can spend $250 to have their name inscribed on a brick in the new brewery, a chance to have a say during the creation and naming of some new brews, an invite to the brewery opening party, merchandise, offers on purchases, and invitations to new brewery events.
“We don’t need the money to do the brewery; it’s about engaging with people who love beer to get involved with having fun with us on the journey,” Mr Chitty said.
The multimillion-dollar project was being funded in two stages, Mr Chitty said.
With funds for the brewery secured, he told Business News Otherside was still seeking investment for the second phase of the venture, which would involve establishing Otherside Brewing in an ‘experiential venue’ sometime next year.
Mr Chitty is currently also working on the development of Fremantle Social Hall (previously Fly by Night), which Business News understands to be the planned experiential venue.
About $1 million would be needed between stage two of both the social hall and Otherside Brewing, Mr Chitty said, with construction for Fremantle Social Hall expected to begin late January next year.
Another potential venue for Mr Chitty is the J-Shed in Fremantle, which is currently up for a development application (with an answer expected later this month).
Meanwhile, Gage Roads Brewing Company has released two new lagers, called Alby, following its contract win to supply mid and full-strength beers to the 60,000-seat Optus Stadium.
The name Alby was inspired by the Swan River Colony’s first brewery and WA beer brand, the Albion.
Gage Roads chief operating officer Aaron Heary said the lagers had been brewed to emulate the classic, approachable style of beer familiar to Western Australians.
“Alby Draught is a classic, no-fuss, full-strength West Australian lager, while Alby Crisp is a contemporary mid-strength, light-bodied, easy drinking, and perfectly suited to our long hot summers,” Mr Heary said.
The label is reflective of the simple, easily identifiable logos of classic beers that craft breweries have typically moved away from in favour of bright and bold artworks.