Reckless Brewing opens in Bathurst
Reckless Brewing Co. has opened the doors to its brewery and taproom in Bathurst, three years after initially launching the business.
Grace Fowler, who previously worked at Akasha Brewing Co., co-founded Reckless with husband Jarrod Moore, and friend Alice Wilson.
“We always wanted to work for ourselves, our jokes about opening a brewery turned into serious meetings, planning things like liquor licences and release schedules,” Fowler told Brews News.
“We fancied ourselves as a pretty good team, with a good cross section of skills to run a business like this.
“Alice has a background in finance, Jarrod [in] logistics and I have been brewing for around 10 years now.”
While the business wanted to launch a brewery after launching, the pandemic caused delays.
“We started brewing on other breweries’ equipment three years ago,” Fowler said.
“COVID happened and we put our adventurous targets on hold and kept things ticking along.”
It wasn’t until 2021 that the business found Crago Mill, a historical site recommended by a Bathurst local, which was previously occupied by Two Heads Brewing until 2018.
“It had lots of great bones and a bunch of stuff already set up from the previous brewery who was there,” Fowler explained.
“So we got to work setting it up how we wanted, making sure everything was up to spec, it was quick, about six months of work.”
As the site had already been occupied and updated by another brewery, the development process went relatively smoothly according to Fowler.
“As the previous brewery had DA approvals in place we were able to use those to quickly get our licence sorted,” she said.
“The other brewery only occupied a third of the space we have, so we are now in the process of amending it to the whole building basically.
“But what we have allows us to have a full bar, kitchen, beer garden, brewery on site and 150 people in the venue. Once the whole building is licensed we will be able to have over 300.”
Despite the delays, Fowler said the pandemic proved to be a blessing in disguise in finding the location.
“The space was empty probably due to the pandemic, the online tasting where we discovered the site might not have happened without the pandemic,” she said.
“Don’t get me wrong it’s been a hard slog from a business perspective, but the actual discovery of the space may not have occurred if things had turned out differently with COVID.”
Balancing the challenges
While opening any business is challenging, having to juggle multiple personal factors along with this can be especially difficult, as the Reckless Brewing team found.
“This is probably quite unique, but I also had a baby four weeks ago,” Reckless co-founder Grace Fowler said.
“So juggling family, recovery, basically a new business has been challenging. We have a bunch of amazing people working with us so that has lightened the load, but it has been exhausting.”
The added pressure of other operating challenges can be tricky to balance, as Fowler explained, who also continued working at Akasha Brewing until March this year.
“There are so many heads to this business,” she said.
“Physically project managing the brewery equipment build, project managing the brewery site, setting up the taproom, kitchen, still brewing at Akasha while this is all happening, hiring staff.
“It’s just a whole lot of things that need to be managed and fall together. To do lists have been essential!”
Find out more about Grace Fowler’s career in this episode of Beer is a Conversation.
While Fowler does act as head brewer of Reckless, the business recently hired Stephen Szabo as a brewer.
“We have hired Stephen to assist with brewing as I now spend quite a bit of time doing boss lady things,” Fowler said.
“Stephen has been great, he has a wealth of experience and is an all-round great guy. He has been instrumental in getting the brewery set up.”
Brewing on a custom designed 4 vessel system brewhouse from Bespoke Brewing Solutions, the company has brewed over 15 beers so far.
“Our core range includes pale ale, XPA, IPA, Red IPA. We have just added our stout to our core range and we have a lager coming soon.
“We also have Pilsner specially released to celebrate our home in Bathurst called the BX Lager, BX is the local lingo for Bathurst. It’s designed to be extremely sessionable and tasty.”
Since launching as a contract brand in 2019, Reckless has been brewing at other breweries, including Akasha, and now that it has its own venue, Fowler is excited for the business to grow.
“The biggest growth for us is as a wholesale business, but the ability to have a taproom means we get some cash up front, and we get feedback upfront.
“Bathurst is also a beautiful destination, with great tourism. Bathurst was the largest city in Australia without a brewery.”
After having its soft launch over the Father’s Day weekend, Reckless Brewing is set to have its official opening on 22nd September.
“We opened 1st September for a little sneak peek and we’re booked out for four days! The reception from Bathurst has been amazing. Our grand opening is the 22nd September. We have a pretty big party planned!”
Reckless Brewing Co. is now open at 2A Piper St, Bathurst NSW 2795.
Brewery openings are presented by Spark Breweries and Distilleries, the finest in-venue and production brewing systems available, with local design and support.