James Harvey tapped into the world of brewing while working at Yulli’s, a vegetarian restaurant in Surry Hills. Thanks to Yulli’s owner, Karl Cooney, who had a penchant for craft beer, Harvey was taught how to enjoy and discuss the nuances of beer, which grew his interest in the amber. Jumping on an opportunity to visit the factory at Grifter’s Brewing Co., he maintained a personal relationship with the guys there by attending brew days and bringing in his own home-brew for constructive criticism. After perfecting his processes and techniques, Harvey entered his formula in Vic on the Park’s 2014 Home Brew Competition, and won first prize.
Harvey and Cooney realised their dream of starting a brewery could become a reality.
It’s important to Harvey that his beer works with food. “Is there anything better than a beer and a meal?” Harvey says.
Embellished on each bottle is a personality that characterises the type and flavour of beer inside. “We've seen so many beers with such serious, professional branding. So we decided to go with something a bit more fun.”
Yulli’s Australian Ale sports the nonchalant, Akubra-wearing Norman, the archetypal Australian beer drinker. “It’s our most accessible and easy-drinking beer. Norman is the kind of bloke you'd always enjoy having a beer with.” Also available is Slick Rick’s Rampaging Red Ale, Fat Nerd Vanilla Porter and Bruce Malone English IPA. “Beer is about not taking yourself too seriously,” Harvey says.
Yulli’s beers have been poured at more than 30 establishments in Sydney and Newcastle since business began last year. The long game is to one day open its own brewery.