Escape Brewing opens on Mornington Peninsula

Following a three-year development journey, Escape Brewing on the Mornington Peninsula has opened.

After founding the Escape brand in 2019, co-founders Russell and Nicole Matthews wanted to create a brewery space where customers could experience the brand.

“We set up Escape Brewing to be a destination on the southern Mornington Peninsula providing a relaxing location for locals and tourists to escape down to this beautiful part of Victoria,” explained Nicole Matthews.

After funding the venture themselves, the duo embarked on finding a location for the brewery and settled on the suburb of Capel Sound.

“We were looking for two adjoining factories to house our brewing production on one side and our taproom on the other,” Matthews said.

“It was quite difficult to find a location which ‘ticked all the boxes’ on our wish list however, this location met most requirements. Our premises are very close to the numerous beaches, golf courses, wineries and other local attractions.”

Planning and development

Once the team found the location in Capel Sound, the planning process went relatively smoothly, according to Matthews, with the exception of traffic concerns.

“The main concern was around having sufficient car parking spaces to meet demand, which meant we had to get a traffic study completed on the local area to show that there were an appropriate level of free car parking spaces available,” she explained.

Once the brewery build began, the introduction of the pandemic started to cause delay issues, as many other breweries in-planning faced over the past few years.

“COVID had a large delaying effect on getting our brewery and taproom completed which in turn caused quite a cash drain due to the time delays.

“It also meant we changed some of the designs for the taproom to meet changed health regulations and outdoor dining.”

The recent Brews News’ States of Brewing report highlighted the confusion around the definition of a brewery when it comes to planning and development. For Escape Brewing, the confusion was further amplified by the number of entities the brewery had to deal with, as Matthews explained.

“The hardest part about setting up the brewery was the amount of government and semi-government entities and rules that we had to get signed off and/or abide by,” she said.

“We had to satisfy the requirements of the Federal Government (ATO excise), State Government (Liquor licencing, EPA, police), Local Government (Planning Permits & Food Safety), South East Water (Trade Waste), United Energy/Zinfra/Origin Energy (Power Modifications).”

The venue

The Escape Brewing venue is a brewery with a taproom, which seats 80 patrons inside with additional seating outside.

With Russell Matthews acting as head brewer, all brewing is done on a 1200L MLT and KWT with two 2000L and two 1000L fermenters from Precision Brewing.

The team has also launched with six beers on tap including a Pale Ale, Australian Lager, Tropical Pale, Belgian Golden Strong Ale, Red IPA and Chocolate Porter.

While the brewery opened in late February, the team do have plans for the future with the aim to eventually expand distribution to bottleshops, according to Matthews.

“We will be looking to sell our kegs and cans offsite in the coming months,” she said.

“We chose this model to give us the flexibility to allow the public to try our beers on site and also to recognise our brand when out at other bars or bottleshops.”

Escape Brewing is open from Fridays to Sundays at Factory 2/12 Suffolk St, Capel Sound, VIC 3940.

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

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