BrewDog has quite the following, with its 400-seat brewery and taproom at Murarrie at one point last year the busiest of the brand’s 100-plus bars in the world.
BrewDog, the brainchild of two Scotsmen who started out by selling their hand-bottled beer at the markets, picked Brisbane for the site of their first Australian venture in 2019 – just as the word Covid began infiltrating our news feeds.
But they forged ahead, setting up a state-of-the-art brewery and taproom on the banks of the Brisbane River, under the Gateway Bridge.
Head brewer Tim Radjenovic reckons BrewDog is just at the start of its growth journey here and the brand is really starting to take off. After touring the brewery with him, you can feel the enthusiasm and see the potential and scope for expansion, great news for Brisbane craft beer devotees.
BrewDog Australia CEO Ed Botts says the Murarrie site is big enough to support the Australian market, with forays into NSW and Victoria in the pipeline. Eventually, beer could be exported from Queensland to New Zealand and potentially further afield.
For now the priority is south-east Queensland and BrewDog has partnered with independent retailers to get the brand out and known.
Best sellers are the Punk XPA and hop-heavy Hazy Jane, both available at Sense of Taste outlets. The sessionable Passionfruit Sour and grapefruit-infused Elvis Juice are also in stock and worth a try.
It’s pretty exciting stuff that BrewDog, who already had breweries in north-east Scotland, Ohio and Berlin, chose Brisbane to set up their Australian operations.
Ed headed up the Berlin arm and joined the team here in 2020. He explains why Brisbane was chosen for BrewDog’s only Australian brewery.
“The location of this site is just amazing, but also the craft beer scene here is so healthy. There are so many craft breweries in south-east Queensland, it’s a growing region of Australia, everyone knows that.
“It’s the perfect location in terms of access to market with the M1 right behind, the location on the river is great for our taproom and it’s a very supportive craft beer community here. It’s just the perfect place to be.’’
A big part of the BrewDog brand are their signature bars. There are 105 all over the world, and the first Australian one, over three levels, will open in Fortitude Valley later this year.
“It’s such an exciting craft beer market here in Australia, and there’s so much happening,’’ Ed says.
“There’s been a lot of growth over the last 15 years, but I still feel like we’re only at the early stages of where craft will end up going in Australia.
“The word craft is almost redundant, it’s almost just new-style beer variety of beer to a certain degree. It’s already mainstream, which is great considering it didn’t even exist 15-20 years ago in terms of variety outside of lager.’’
It’s a small team at Murarrie, just three brewers and four sales reps, but they’re passionate about making good beer.
The brewery installed a pasteuriser last year and is starting to experiment with low-alcohol and alcohol-free beer.
An alcohol-free blueberry sour is in the works and there are plans to develop an alcohol-free range of the Hazy Jane, XPA and Lost Lager.
Learn more about BrewDog here: www.brewdog.com/au