Kombucha makers to open no-alc brewery

With the continued rise of the no-alcohol trend within the industry, a new brewery dedicated to no-alcohol beer is set to be built in Brunswick.

Melbourne based kombucha microbrewers, Monceau, announced last week that the company had secured $850,000 in a pre-seed round to go towards building a non-alcoholic brewery in Brunswick.

“From day one, we have brewed and bottled every bottle of Monceau ourselves,” Monceau co-founder Rowan McNaught told Brews News. “This new facility will be focused on our Monceau line as well as other new no-alcohol ranges we’re developing.”

Apart from kombucha, Monceau’s range also includes a no-alcohol lager called Parc Pils, which is unpasteurised, according to McNaught.

“Unlike many other no-alcohol beers in the market, Parc is unpasteurised and is completely dry; zero sugar.

“Parc is brewed with a low sugar wort and a low-alcohol-producing strain of yeast, to create a completely crisp, dry and unpasteurised pilsner.”

The no-alcohol market has seen continued growth over the past few years with major and smaller brewers taking on the trend, as seen through recent trade mark activity. Last week, Lion’s XXXX announced an alcohol-free version of its existing brand called XXXX Zero.

This new brewery is set to produce more than 16,000 bottles a week and will also have a dedicated retail and venue space, according to McNaught.

“More than the raw number, however, we’ve designed it to be a really flexible space in terms of producing lots of limited-edition and cellar door drinks in smaller batches,” he said.

“Customers will also be able to come to Brunswick and try our latest drinks in our retail and venue space at the front of the brewery.”

The challenge to diversify in the evolving no-alcohol market can be difficult however, as McNaught explained, quality in the brewing process is key.

“We think that no-alcohol drinks can retain the experience, complexity and authenticity of alcoholic drinks; it just all revolves around the care we put into the brewing and fermentation processes,” he said.

“We make Monceau in much the same way natural wine is made — the key difference is an alternative yeast culture that produces much less alcohol. The new brewery will help us broaden our range as well, so that we’re always bringing new options to the table.”

Seed funding route

Crowdfunding has been on the rise in Australia as an alternative investment strategy for businesses to utilise however, recently companies have sought out other platforms including GoFundMe.

For Monceau, seed funding was the right option, as McNaught explained.

“The world of CSF has been pretty amazing to watch grow here in Australia, and we did consider it,” he said.

“However, we saw this first funding round as an opportunity to bring on some really amazing advisory talent, with a stake in our success, and a more traditional seed route seemed to support that better.

“Our round consisted of a blend of founders, family offices, individuals, and VC-type funds. These investors have backgrounds and other investments in beverage companies, online retail/distro, FMCG, subscription products, and more.”

While the process of building and planning a new brewery is tough, McNaught said the business can now plan ahead for future opportunities.

“It definitely takes effort to put a raise together, but the process can also become something of a strategy session for the business. It helped us hone what the next 18 months of the business will look like.

“Our advice would be to talk to as many potential investors as you can, be frank about your plans and aims, and seek out investors who can add value in a multitude of ways.”

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