Earlier this year Sparkke Change Beverage Company expanded its presence with the opening of its brewpub, restaurant and rooftop bar Sparkke at the Whitmore.
Now, following a cash injection from Founders First, a company that invests in fledgling breweries and distilleries, Sparkke has just announced a forthcoming brewpub in Melbourne. All going to plan, it’ll be open before the end of next year.
“From an independent craft perspective, we’ve always looked at Melbourne as mecca. Even though it's a mature market, it remains a healthy market,” Allen says. “[And] from a social perspective, Melbourne is the progressive centre of Australia. We feel really comfortable there.”
Sparkke has taken over The Vine Hotel, a dilapidated 19th Century boozer on Wellington Street, Collingwood, which was once operated by CUB. A majority of the booze – including pale ale and mid-strength pilsner and non-beer ferments such as zesty, alcoholic lemonade brewed with champagne yeast; alcoholic ginger beer with lime juice and orange blossom honey; and a cider made from 11 types of apples – will continue to be produced at Brick Lane Brewery in Dandenong, but it plans to have a “small, theatrical” brewhouse on-site for limited edition pours (in the mould of Sparkke at the Whitmore).
In-demand architect Iva Foschia, of IF Architecture, has been engaged to restore the site. An early concept suggests the original brick façade will be uncovered, after hiding under paint for several decades.
The company is also on the hunt for a head chef who – like Sparkke at the Whitmore star Emma McCaskill) – can deliver an ambitious menu that goes well beyond the usual pub or brewery food.
Sparkke at the Vine is slated to open in late 2020 at 59 Wellington Street, Collingwood.