Alice Springs gets its first brewery

The outback Australian town of Alice Springs is about to get its first homegrown microbrewery and taproom.

Alice Springs Brewing Co, which released its first batch to the public last week, will be the first brewpub to serve Australia’s desert centre with fresh craft beer.

Northern Territory beer lovers will be able to drink beer straight off the kit, thanks to the hard work of co-founders Kyle Pearson and his partner Sarah Hore, and a supportive circle of their family and friends.

Pearson, who has been homebrewing since he was 18, said he’s always had an interest in beer.

Having spent the past six years working in sales for CUB in both the Territory and in Victoria, Pearson said that he saw an opening in the Alice Springs beer market.

“Not even just from a financial perspective, there’s a big gap in the market for locally produced beer,” Pearson explained.

“A lot of the beer we get here has been on trucks and sat in warehouses for three or fours months, so we weren’t exactly getting fresh beer here as well.”

“There was a big opportunity for someone to produce fresh beer here in town.”

The building in which the Alice Springs brewpub has been built, used to house an old car museum, and more recently a function centre and restaurant.

Pearson has been pilot brewing on the 500-litre brewhouse and 50-litre brewhouse for three months.

“We would have liked to have gone larger, but given that there’s so much unknown here, we just wanted to start small and manageable.”

Pearson said that he had been hoping to open the bar this month, but confirmed that he’s had to take a step back because of licencing.

“Brewing is still quite new to the Northern Territory, so you tend to find when you go to the governing bodies, they’ve got to do a bit of learning themselves as well because it’s such a new industry here in the Territory.”

“But there’s really good reasons for that as well.”

“Especially here in Alice, our water quality isn’t great, so we’re having to do quite a bit of work with the water and where it needs to be to brew with and then there’s the freight side of things as well.”

“The freight we’re paying on things… we’re up against a lot, large freights to get stuff here.”

However, it’s not all bad news for the brewery. Pending an on-premise licence, the brewery has been granted a venue-to-venue wholesale licence, which allows Pearson to sell his beers into other venues in town.

Having been granted this wholesale licence, Pearson was able to launch his first batch of beer at a venue in Alice Springs on Friday last week.

The Summer Ale, brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops, is something Pearson has been working on for a while.

“Alice Springs is quite receptive to craft beer, but given the got climate it’s not always the best environment for smashing big IPAs and things like that.”

“The local market is certainly geared towards mid strength and easy drinking beers.”

Pearson said that the brewhouse was more efficient than he had expected, which has resulted in a slightly higher ABV than what was originally intended for the Summer Ale.

“But we’re very happy with it for our first brew.”

While Pearson said that it’s been handy being able to sell into other venues, he is focused on his taproom and selling his beers on-premise.

“Going into other venues, and it’s not being critical of other venues, but you lose control a little bit of your product.”

“We know the beer has been refrigerated the whole time, we know how it’s being poured, we know that our glasses are clean – especially when you’re starting out it’s really important that people’s’ first impressions are good.”

With the taproom now only “one big day of cleaning up” away from opening, all Alice Springs Brewing Co needs is that final bit of licencing to go through.

Brewery openings are presented bySpark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.

Read more:How to start a brewing company: Part One.

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