Common People Brewing Co. opens its doors

Common People Brewing opened its doors last week in Bangalow in NSW.

The Northern Rivers area is home to a growing craft beer scene, with a number of breweries in the area from relative newcomers like Two Mates and Earth to more established breweries such as Seven Mile,Wandana and Stone & Wood.

Common People Brewing Co has now joined the throng, after being founded by locals Jay and Sophie Kempnich, and Drew Tourle and Janelle Morse.

“We are all local to the area and wanted to create a space for the locals of the hinterland and beyond. There are a few around the area, but nothing in Bangalow,” explained Morse.

Keeping it in the family, Tourle’s brother Sam will be leading the brewing operations. Sam Tourle has an established background in brewing, having worked at Malt Shovel and then Stone & Wood for the last six years.

He is taking a six-month sabbatical from Stone & Wood to become Common People’s head brewer, teaching homebrewers Jay and Drew the ropes.

The brewing team will be working with a copper-clad DME brew house, and the team have a core range in place, which includes its Protesters IPA, Villager’s Pale Ale and Back Beach White Ale.

The founders themselves come from a diverse set of backgrounds. GM Jay has worked in customer relations, sales and account management, Sophie in team management, Drew is a live audio engineer and Janelle an experienced publicist.

“Our combined skill set has been very advantageous. Some of the team have moved into full-time roles at the brewery, others are part-time or in the process of transitioning from previous roles to their role at the brewery,” Morse explained.

The team have spent the last 17 months converting an empty warehouse in the Bangalow industrial estate to a taproom and production brewery, although delays meant they could not hit their planned December opening date.

“It has been a long process but we got there in the end. We had some unexpected curveballs and requirements to fulfil to gain approval, but overall it has improved the look and functionality of the brewery, so the outcome has been positive.

To others thinking of opening a brewery, Common People shared some common advice.

“Double your initial timelines! And seek advice from similar businesses in your neighbouring shires,” Morse said.

Thankfully, while COVID was raging during its development process, Common People Brewing Co. was not as badly impacted as others.

“We were lucky to be able to consistently continue our build throughout the pandemic. Now that we are open, we have our very stringent COVID safe plans in place.”

As for future plans, the plan is to distribute locally, but there are no plans for world domination just yet.

“We’re just really excited to finally be open and serving our beers to the locals and visitors alike.

“One day [we’d like to expand] but baby steps for now. The plan for the first few years will be to provide kegs to local pubs who express interest, along with local independent bottleshops, venues, restaurants and bars.”

Common People Brewing Co. is open from 12pm-9pm on Thursday-Saturday and 12pm-8pm on Sunday, at 9 Dudgeons Lane, Bangalow NSW 2479.

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

Back to Brewery Openings