CoConspirators Brewing Co
It’s tough to make an impression in today’s crowded beer market. At last count there were more than 700 breweries in Australia, with a sizeable fraction vying for attention at bottle shops.
But CoConspirators is crushing it. Since appearing in 2016, the brand’s playful, instantly recognisable labels have become a focal point on shelves, and The Matriarch New England IPA is recognised as one of Australia’s best examples of the style. The Butcher (a red IPA) and The Editor (a passionfruit and guava sour made in honour of Froth magazine’s Emily Day) are also highly regarded.
Amazingly, this successful brand is run by two couples that work full-time in unrelated industries and make their beer at various breweries around Melbourne – two factors that have made supply annoyingly patchy over the past three years.
All that’s about to change. Owners Deon Smit, Maggie Smit, Jacqui Sacco and Tim Martin have signed a 15-year lease on a small warehouse on Victoria Street in Brunswick and plan to open a brewery and attached bar by the middle of the year. Martin has already quit his previous job, and the other three are also planning their exits.
A lot of things need to fall into place before then, including a planning permit. The group wasn’t planning to break the news this early, but their hands were forced. “We’ve had a lot of people seeing the [town planning] advertisements out the front of the building and ringing us and messaging us saying, ‘What’s going on? Are you guys opening something?’” Sacco tells Broadsheet over phone on her lunchbreak.
Building hasn’t commenced yet, but the current plan is to open in two stages. Stage one will include a 12-hectolitre brewery, plus a bar and rear beer garden with room for 195 people. Neighbouring businesses Los Hermanos and Small Axe could potentially provide food. Stage two will include a kitchen and rooftop bar.
Capital investors such as Founders First, which is involved with the forthcoming Jetty Road South Melbourne and Sparkke at the Vine, are an increasingly common presence in the brewing industry. CoConspirators hasn’t gone down that route yet. The couples are financing the project on their own.
CoConspirators plans to open at 377 Victoria Street, Brunswick in July 2020.