Northern Tassie gets latest new brewery

The owners of the Penguin Beer Co. taproom have opened the doors to new brewery and taproom, Island State Brewing, in Devonport, Tasmania.

Originally, the plan was to launch a brewery in the North West town of Penguin, but the local council made this a challenge and instead, managing director Scott Seymour launched Penguin Beer Co. as a venue last year.

But Seymour still wanted a brewery for Penguin’s beers which were being contract brewed at Morrison Brewery in Launceston. This led to the creation of Island State Brewing.

“We were looking for somewhere to brew our beers but the local council wasn’t so keen to talk on any planning around that for another 18 months,” Seymour explained.

“We looked a bit further afield and went to Devonport and we decided to create Island State Brewing and set up our brewery there.”

Along with his wife, Tara, and seven other shareholders, Seymour landed on a council building in Devonport to set up the brewery – highlighting the major differences between councils and their attitude to brewing businesses in Tasmania, which was identified in the States of Brewing report earlier this year.

“My wife said, ‘someone’s going to put a craft brewery in there’ and then when Penguin wasn’t an option, we applied there.

“Being a council building, they took care of everything. It was amazing. They’re very supportive.”

The Island State brewery has a taproom seating 60 people, along with an undercover beer garden with room for another 80 patrons.

Choosing to open another taproom, along with a brewery, was based on Seymour’s love for hospitality, he explained.

“I’ve been looking forward to creating our own beers in our own brewery but also, the margins of the taproom are a lot more appealing,” he said.

“It’s just my love of hospitality as well. Meeting the people drinking your beers is priceless.”

But launching a second venture so soon after the first was not an easy feat, Seymour explained.

“It’s just the costs you don’t see coming and the time that it takes to do everything.

“If you’ve got a really sensible budget in place and a really sensible timeline, triple both because that’s exactly what’s happened with us,” he advised.

“This is our second venture and both times, costs have tripled.”

Brewing for the locals

In terms of brewing, Island State chose a 10hL Brewtique system that has two 10hL fermenters and four 20hL fermenters. The company also recruited Michael Wilson as head brewer, who has worked on various beers with which Island State will be launching.

“We’ll be launching with our Port City Pale Ale, the ‘Devonporter’ porter, a mid-strength beer and a Northwest Coast IPA,” Seymour explained.

Representing the local area of Devonport through its beers is a core aspect of the Island State ethos, according to Seymour.

“All of North West Tassie is what we’re going to be focusing our beers on,” he said.

“Each of our beers is really going to target one section of the area we live in, and try to promote that area as well.

“In July, we’re having a Northwest Beer Fest and inviting all the Tassie brewers to come up to our little part of the world, where everyone can get together and celebrate.”

Finally being able to open is a relief for Seymour, but also an exciting opportunity to welcome locals and tourists to the brewery.

“The locals have been knocking and banging on the door to get in. Everyone has not only put in a lot of money, but also a lot of time and effort.

“We’re keen to have a really big local following. Certainly tourism is going to be a big, big point for us. Devonport is just redeveloping so rapidly, and it’s really becoming a destination.”

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