It sounds so simple: two schoolmates liked beer. So they started a successful brewery. The end.
Looking at the modern-industrial glamour of the spoils of that idea, the Green Beacon brewpub on Helen Street in Teneriffe, it’s easy to be seduced by the notion it was that easy. But the success of Marc Christmas and Adrian Slaughter’s vision is deeper than the bright polished steel and beautiful, long hardwood bar. It’s better attributed to the rise in popularity of craft beer.
Green Beacon’s business-development manager, Chris Borbas, says while the rest of the beer market has been retracting, the craft-beer segment has “come a long way in a short time”. After just four-and-a-half years of operation, Green Beacon is now putting the finishing touches on a bigger brewery in Geebung, a move that will see the Brisbane beer go truly national.
“With the new facility up and running, you should start to see Beacon beers popping up at pubs, bars, restaurants and bottle-shops around the country,” says Borbas.
The new Geebung brewhouse is roughly three times the size of the brewery’s current production facility. The brewpub itself won’t change but “overall capacity increase has been significant” for the business. Its new facility can turn out an impressive 78 cans a minute, a jump from its original canning line in 2014, which produced 12 a minute.
“It’s always been about getting the freshest beer possible into the hands of our customers,” says Barbas. “Cans are simply a better vessel for upholding the integrity of the product. There used to be a stigma surrounding canned beer, but these days our customers wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In league with its small-batch roots, Green Beacon is vocal about supporting local business. The brewpub highlights local produce on its menu and invites different local food trucks into the premises once a week. Barbas says it’s important to encourage a community.
“We couldn't ask the community to support us if we didn’t support the community,” he says. “We source seafood from Moreton Bay, bread from one street over and our cheese, smallgoods, dips and sauces are all from local producers.”
Then there’s the beer. Green Beacon won the Craft Beer Industry Association Champion Medium Brewery and Best Speciality Beer Trophy for its Bourbon Barrel Strong Ale. Barbas says they were blown away by the result, and calls it a reflection of the hard work of the close-knit team. As well as the enthusiasm of the two schoolmates, who still own and operate every aspect of the business.
“You can have the best laid plan for expansion and growth, but if you can’t adapt with the ever-changing beer landscape, you will fall by the wayside,” says Barbas. “As long as there are people drinking our beers, we will push to make them even better.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with James Squire.