Would the Australian craft beer scene be where it is today without Little Creatures? Just like founder Phil Sexton's first foray into craft beer at Matilda Bay, the Fremantle brewery has helped blaze a trail for others to follow since opening in 2000, never less than with its iconic Pale Ale, the first Aussie beer to give drinkers a taste of the big, hoppy US pales that had wowed the States years earlier.
Since opening on the site of a former crocodile farm on the Freo waterfront, Little Creatures has become a runaway success. The brewery and accompanying bar gets bigger and bigger by the year, now encompassing several huge sheds featuring expanses of glass that let the stainless steel tanks take centre stage. Meanwhile, their beers continue to spread the craft beer word into every corner of the country - and have started flying the flag for the Australian beer scene overseas too.
More recently, Little Creatures has opened a dining hall in Melbourne's iconic Brunswick Street, a colourful, cavernous venue that's packed every day of the week serving up their beers alongside a handful of other Aussie and international labels plus pizzas and other food suitable for accompanying beer. It also pours beers from White Rabbit, Little Creatures' little brother brewery in Healesville that uses the old brewhouse from Freo that was replaced in 2008.
As for the beer, the brewery's main offerings have remained pretty settled for some time now, with the Pale augmented by the Bright Ale, Roger's and a Pilsner. But just as visitors to the Freo HQ have been treated to regular limited release beers, now drinkers across Australia get to sample something new every few months in the form of the Single Batch releases, which have so far included an Oatmeal Stout, a Brown Ale and a single hop East Kent Golding Ale. The regularity with which these appear is expected to increase, while at some point in the future, the Little Creatures empire will be getting that little bit bigger after the parent company, Little World Beverages, bought a large plot of land in Geelong where they intend to open a third brewery.