Dangerous Ales pub brewery expands

New South Wales’ Dangerous Ales, a brewery launched inside The Milton Hotel, is expanding.

The business has invested in a 2,000L system, explained co-founder Damien Martin, upgrading from its previous 500L brewkit.

“The micro brewery behind the hotel was the sleeping monster. We’ve just gone through a very large upgrade from making 100,000L a year to being able to make 2 million litres a year – if the market is ready!” said co-founder Damien Martin.

“We had planned an expansion for the brewery but it was needed a lot sooner than expected! We couldn’t keep up with demand between supplying The Hotel with kegs and tins to bottle shops.”

Dangerous Ales was founded by Martin and his father-in-law Andrew Bell, lining up with the refurbishment and reopening of the Commercial Hotel in Milton, NSW.

“I started my working life as a chef 20-odd years ago, completing my trade in 2005 where I had the opportunity to work around the world for the likes of Gordon Ramsay in London, to Quay in Sydney and the French Alps,” explained Martin.

“I was then lucky enough to work for a Margaret River winery Vasse Felix where I found fermentation!

“I then explored brewing and like most fell in love, I brewed all the beer for our wedding 5 years ago and haven’t looked back! I have also just completed Cert III info processing (micro brewing).”

Martin said that at the time, the hotel and brewery was “something that doesn’t exist on the south coast”.

Its success highlights the growth of alternative business models, with real estate group CBRE suggesting that breweries in pubs would add value, improve profit margins and be a growing trend in the 2020s, although we have yet to see an influx of pubs bringing in breweries.

“I think people love to support local at the end of the day, and what better way then to support it at your local pub,” explained Martin.

“Margins are definitely better, you can make it for cheaper than you can buy it. Through the upgrade we had to fill in some gaps in our line up, but normally it’s just our beer.”

However, pubs are conventionally synonymous with a certain type of beer and beer drinker, and changing the model and beers like this can be an obstacle for publicans looking to mix up their strategy.

“I definitely think it will be an up and coming business model especially as Australia move towards supporting independent craft breweries – There was a lot of backlash in the beginning, not having any of the big guys on tap, I think we’re over the hump now.”

There are beer styles conventionally considered to be the realm of macro beer that have proven popular, Martin explained.

“We brew everything from DDH IPAs to barrel aged mixed fermentation sours, nothing’s off the table! A crowd favourite is definitely our Crispy Boi Lager.”

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