The longest-established of all Australian craft breweries, Matilda Bay was founded by Phil Sexton in West Australia back in 1984, making small batches of beer for sale in Fremantle's Sail & Anchor pub. First off the production line was the Redback wheat beer - the first of its style made in Australia and still winning awards today.
Other styles unfamiliar to Australian palates, such as dark lager Dogbolter followed and, in the early 1990s, the brewery was purchased by Carlton and United Breweries. Founder Sexton would go on to found Little Creatures, while the backing of one of Australia's biggest brewers provided Matilda Bay with the financial clout to reach a much wider audience.
It left its West Australian roots behind to move to the Garage Brewery in the outer Melbourne suburb of Dandenong in 2005, where under the stewardship of Brad Rogers (who has since founded Stone & Wood in Byron Bay) and now Scott Vincent, a team of brewers acts as the Foster's group's craft beer arm. In early 2012, the brewery moved again, to a former Cadbury factory in Port Melbourne where it both brewed and welcomed customers to its Brewery Bar seven days a week. This came to an end at the close of 2014, however, when parent company SABMiller announced it was closing the bar and, later, the brewery and moving operations to Cascade in Hobart.
Having outgrown its microbrewery origins, Matilda Bay appears on taps all over the country, often acting as the first contact drinkers have with craft beer. Its own range invites drinkers to embark on a journey through the world of flavoursome beers, with the likes of the hugely hopped US style Alpha Pale and other seasonals lying in wait.