By Kirra Grimes
IT MIGHT be early days for Burra Brewing Co, but talk of the new microbrewery coming to town has already got mouths watering.
We caught up with the team behind the vision to find out everything you need to know about Korumburra’s newest watering hole.
Still under construction at the old nursery next door to Kellys Bakery on Commercial Street, Burra Brewing Co will be producing and selling a core range of beers on site, including a Golden Ale, Pale Ale, Summer Ales, a Dark Ale, and an IPA, as well as a changing range of speciality brews, such as the intriguingly titled Coffee Ale.
Brewing tanks and equipment will be on show in the rustic/industrial venue and there will be plenty of great spots to sit, sip and socialise, with ample indoor seating at tables and at the bar, and an 80-seat, landscaped beer garden out the front.
Wood-fired pizzas, antipasto and cheese platters will be available to nibble on (menu options will increase over time), and throughout the venue, there will be an emphasis on sustainability and local produce.
Fresh tap beer can be taken home by filling a two litre ‘Growler’ or one litre ‘Squealer’ bottle, which have been designed to be refilled or reused, reducing waste and unnecessary packaging, and grain used for brewing will be given to local farmers to feed to their cows.
Local wines and Beand coffee will be on offer, and local musicians will be invited to perform. The venue will be child-friendly and will have disability access.
Brothers Phill and Anthony Dempster, and their long-time friends Narelle and Luke Jones, have put countless hours into planning and researching the craft beer market and what makes a successful brewery/drinking and dining venue.
They also have years of experience to bring to the new venture.
Phill has been experimenting with and refining beer recipes for 20 years, while Anthony and Narelle have decades of hospitality experience between them.
Phill’s wife Ange has a food background and will be helping design the menu, Anthony’s wife Kim manages the brand’s social media accounts, and Luke provides advice on all things finance related.
The majority of the brewery directors grew up in Korumburra, and Phill and Anthony first started talking about starting up a brewery in town around eight years ago, but Burra Brewing Co wasn’t officially born until May 2015.
The team considered several sites, including the railway station, but found the nursery’s size and location best suited their needs.
The team hopes Burra Brewing Co will not only be another great social spot for locals, but a tourist destination.
“Breweries are a major tourism draw, and with breweries at Lang Lang, Loch, and Mirboo North, and soon Korumburra, we’ll have a ‘brewery trail’ people can follow.
“These trails have been working really well in places like Mornington and the Yarra Valley,” Phill said.
“Korumburra’s in a really good spot. It’s not off the beaten track; it’s already on a tourism pathway, and it’s the perfect distance from Melbourne for a day trip. It’s on the verge of taking off and growing and we want to make it a destination town,” says Anthony.
The team is excited about the potential benefits for other local businesses, including accommodation providers.
“It is a big investment and obviously we want it to work for us, but it’s not just about us, it’s about the whole town – giving everyone a boost,” says Phill.
“We’ve done a lot of research on the traffic going through town and we’ve found that a lot of it’s not stopping here – 5000 to 10,000 cars go through on a Saturday and we want them to stop here.
“We want a large percentage of them to come here [to Burra Brewing Co] but also go over the road and spend money at other stores,” Narelle said.
Burra Brewing Co will also create much-needed local jobs, including bar staff, waiting staff, kitchen staff and brewer’s assistants.
And while the brewery’s offering could be classified as ‘craft beer’, Phill says it’s beer everyone can enjoy.
“It’s craft beer made for the people,” he said.
“We want it to be drinkable by everybody – not over the top in flavours like some craft beers that only really keen beer drinkers will enjoy. We want people to come in and try all six beers on tap and come away loving every one.”
So, the all-important question, that Phill gets asked every day: when are they opening? Construction at the Commercial Street site is well underway but there’s still a fair way to go.
So far, they’ve gutted the old nursery building, removing interior walls and the front exterior wall, removed concrete, made space for a large cool room along the side of the building, and replaced some of the exterior cladding.
They’re hoping to be open by mid-2018 and they say they’ve already had lots of interest in the venue for weddings and corporate functions. Check the Burra Brewing Co Facebook page for all the latest updates.