Pirate Life Brewing secures $2 million government grant

Pirate Life Brewing and their new owners, AB InBev

Pirate Life Brewing and their new owners, AB InBev

The Weatherill Government will contribute $2 million to the development of Pirate Life Brewing’s new brewery and bar in Port Adelaide.

The grant has been allocated from the government’s Economic Investment Fund, which supports eligible projects that bring new jobs to South Australia.

Pirate Life had been pursuing the grant long before its November 2017 sale to AB InBev, which did not affect the government’s appraisal of the application, co-founder Red Proudfoot told Brews News.

“It’s all about jobs. We’re going to be creating in excess of 80 jobs in the next three or four years. If we don’t hit our milestones and add new jobs and positions, then there will be less funding available for us to draw down on,” he said.

He said the funding will help pay for initial building works enabling Pirate Life to fast track the hospitality aspect of the venue, which may not have been within budget – even for the brewery’s new owners.

“It’s quite easy to look at it and say they’ve [ABI] got big buckets of money but every single dollar they spend needs to be backed up with rhyme and reason,” he said.

“If we were doing it alone, with the budget we had in front of us, it was more about beer, and hospitality would have been a luxury that we would attack once things were established.

“It just means that we can do it a lot sooner and hopefully have it fully firing by the time the new train station ends up across the road in Port Adelaide,” Proudfoot said.

He said there will be some funding left over for the production facility, which will likely go towards improved laboratory facilities.

“Hopefully we’re going to be able to help out some local brewers who might not have the lab that we’re going to have up there,” he said.

The $15 million brewery and bar venue is being created at Port Adelaide’s historic woolstores site on Barlow St site and will almost quadruple Pirate Life’s annual production to more than 11 million litres, the government said on Tuesday.

“Jobs are the State Labor Government’s number one priority, which is why we are investing in projects such as this one,” Premier Jay Weatherill said.

“After a few false starts, the Port has entered a new golden era. This development adds to the growing number of workers, visitors and residents coming to the Port, including the new 500-person education building, the Future Submarines project with thousands of workers, 750 new homes at Dock One, private development on the waterfront and the new spur line and train station.

“Pirate Life will be a key tourism drawcard for the Port, and I look forward to seeing the company achieve their goal of becoming one of Australia’s largest craft breweries,” he said.

Grant for Big Shed Brewing
The funding for Pirate Life follows last week’s news of a $50,000 State Government grant and $1 million discounted loan for fellow South Australian brewery Big Shed.

Big Shed has announced a $2.5 million expansion that will help it take production from about 250,000 litres a year up to a million litres.

Its new 3500 square metre warehouse-style site will include a 50-hectolitre four-vessel brewery and tanks, a new dual four-head canning line, a testing lab and a 200-300 seat venue with a beer garden, live music stage and dedicated kitchen.

Big Shed’s new brewery is expected to create about 15-20 hospitality jobs and about 10 on the production side.

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