Future Magic opens in Brisbane

Newly crowdfunded Future Magic Brewing Co. has opened its brewery and taproom in East Brisbane.

Future Magic was inspired after founders Sean Astill and Rhys Pike met while working for a technology company.

“I repaired computers/phones and other consumer electronics and Rhys was training both customers and staff,” Managing director and brewer Sean Astill said.

“After that I went to get experience in the industry as a brewer at Ballistic Beer Co. and knew immediately that we were making the right choice and have remained passionate about the industry and brewing ever since.

“I also brewed at home for many years before turning it into a career, as is the case for many brewers I think.”

Finding the right location for a brewery took around 12 to 18 months, according to Astill.

“Many places didn’t fit the bill for various reasons, you have to consider location, demographics, building services (water, drainage, gas and electrical supply) and even the landlord as they can significantly help or hinder your progress.

“We feel ours has hit the mark on all of these. We found it two days after my daughter was born in January last year, after lots of inspections and meetings with the landlord/real estate etc., we finally moved in on the first week of May 2022.”

While it found the location early last year, Astill said the development application process was time consuming and is still ongoing for the business.

“My honest advice is to seek help and advice from a town planner and liquor licence consultant early in the piece, preferably during site selection,” he advised.

“Be sure they know what you are producing, how you’re doing it, the type of heating system, as electric, direct fire or steam can all have different implications with fuel burning clauses for different zoning classifications.”

He also advised other breweries-in-planning to get familiarised with development applications and licences as much as possible.

“Nobody else has this overall view in the same way you do and while it’s good to trust the people you engage to consult on certain aspects, they do not and cannot oversee it all, it must be you and you need to ensure that it is all appropriate and fit for purpose.”

To help fund its bricks and mortar presence, the business made an unusual move for the industry, by launching a crowdfunding campaign in August last year.

The campaign, which ended up raising over $298,000, was the right path for Future Magic, as Astill explained.

“I think doing it prior to or as we were launching helped in multiple ways,” he said.

“Primarily it helped us to grow as a business far quicker than we would have organically in terms of financial savvy, marketing, building and growing an audience as well as just growing your brand awareness in those first few crucial months leading to opening.

“I’ve been a pretty vocal advocate for the CSF space in regard to breweries but similarly believe that it is still a young industry that can be easily misunderstood, so more education for both businesses and investors could see the space become more mature over time.”

Future magic crewFuture Magic opening

The venue

Situated on Manilla St in East Brisbane, Future Magic Brewing Co. is a brewery and taproom that currently seats 150 patrons, with room for more on the main taproom floor. A planned outside area and mezzanine will add additional combined 100-150 seats.

“We have expansion plans built into our business model that will be activated when the time is right, but to start as a production brewery is too cost prohibitive to do properly.

“The margins for a brewpub/brewery with taproom are far more viable for a new business to focus on in their early stages.”

Astill currently acts as head brewer and is in the final stages of setting up the brewing system.

“We have gone with a 10hL 3 Vessel brewhouse from Brewtique with 80hL of fermenter capacity, a 20hL brite tank and 3x 10hL serving tanks going straight to taps which is something we feel is both better from a customer experience point of view as well as being better for the beer,” he said.

“We chose Brewtique based on recommendations from others in the industry and on Neal Cameron’s reputation in the industry for setting up systems in other successful breweries over the years.”

Its core range, which includes a Session Ale, West Coast IPA, Lager, Pale Ale and NEIPA, is currently available on tap along with a few seasonal and limited releases.

With Future Magic officially launching last week, Astill said it had been a long journey and elaborated on the challenges of opening a brewery.

“I’d say it’s the same for almost everybody, hard work, long hours, no breaks, high stakes and high stress, worrying about budgets,” he said.

“None of which are big issues in themselves but all of them happening at once over such a long period has changed my perspective on what hard work is.

“You become pretty match-fit throughout the process that’s for sure and it’s only when you stop that you notice what impact it all has.”

For Astill and Pike, the goal for Future Magic is to build a community space for its locals.

“Big beer brands don’t have any genuine sense of community, we see our taproom as a way to unite people in our community, we want to be the centre of the community spirit in East Brisbane,” Astill said.

“A place where you can socialise and meet other like minded people, to see music, meet your neighbours and be proud of your postcode.

“This area is amazing, the people we’ve met through the process have been incredible and we’re proud to provide a venue for them all to congregate, a place where families can go and kids are welcome, we love brewery doggo’s too!”

Future Magic Brewing Co. is now open at 32 Manilla St, East Brisbane QLD 4169.

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

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