Firstly Introductions... My name is Chris Farmer, I'm 30 years old & have lived on the Mornington Peninsula my whole life. For the last 10 years I have spent 60 hours a week working a job I didn't have the slightest interest in (this can easily happen when you fall into working in a family business).
After home brewing for a few years one of my best mates & I had the discussion that every home brewer has "what if we put some money together and gave this an actual crack".
It was about 2 years ago when we first had that discussion & a lot has changed since then. Firstly it has gone from the 2 of us to just me, (I do get a lot of help from my wife Penny and other family members in whatever way they can). The idea of 'lets put some money together' has definitely changed. As most people who try to set up something like this will tell you. Take your budget, double it & then add another half. Now I know you don't want to hear it & I always said the same "yeah right we can do it cheaper" but for us it has been pretty spot on. We are pretty much set up completely & those figures add up.. Sorry.
It was always the plan to set this brewery up while still maintaining my full time job - to keep an income for my Wife and Daughter. That can be done, its not easy but you can do it. The main hurdle for me was that family business I worked in is now sold. I was offered to take over the company but for me that was never a path I wanted to take. It was a means to an end and something I fell into, realistically it was probably the best thing to give me the push to go all out with the Brewery.
Over the last few years I have gathered equipment from all over the place. Old dairy vats to be used for the brewhouse, Heat exchangers from industrial machinery traders, tanks from a New Zealand brewery that over ordered & wanted to offload thanks to the connection the guys at Premier Stainless hooked me up with etc..
I have made plenty of mistakes along the way costing me time & money, but setting something up like this on your own mistakes are bound to happen. I think the best lesson I've learnt is to know when to cut your losses, part with the problem and go with the solution. I can laugh now at those mistakes but I promise you I wasn't laughing at the time.
Now that the brewery is pretty much set up & everything had been tested, it was time to put the first run through. I headed to the brewery at 5am Got setup & began the duties to get prepared for the day of brewing. That day ended with 600 litre's of wort down the drain & 8 hours of cleaning due to a design fault in one of the pieces of equipment I had made. I won't disclose the company who designed this part as they have helped me along the way so far but needless to say I was pretty pissed.
4 days later that part had been fixed and It was back to the brewery to put the 1st (2nd) run through. Everything went pretty well & we ended up with a larger volume in the Fermenter than expected. Being the first batch to go through the brewery for us we weren't sure if it was going to turn out the way we wanted it to. But as luck would have it, 3 weeks later we poured the first sample from the Brite Tank & its exactly what we were hoping for. We have just kegged it & are expecting to have it out in a few local Bars in the coming weeks. Its only a small run with limited Kegs for this first batch but we will be brewing again this week So Keep an eye on our Find Beer Page & go grab a cheeky Pint if you see it pop up.
To quickly sum up the last 2 years - It's been a crazy ride so far with a lot of ups & just as many downs. We've had a lot of help along the way especially from other local breweries who were happy to share information & insights into the brewing world. Special mention to (Scotty@Wolf Of The Willows, Karl@Moon Dog & Dan@Dainton). We've also been taken advantage of at times but all in all I would say we are joining what would have to be the most supportive & helpful community (the craft beer family) and we couldn't be more excited about it...
This is just the beginning!
More Beer is on its way so Keep your ears to the ground...