It started off innocently enough as the name of a beer brewed specially for a wedding. But soon 3 Ravens was taking on a life of its own. By 2003, a microbrewery had opened in a warehouse in northern Melbourne, knocking out traditional European beers and putting them into a handful of nearby pubs. Today, the focus on European styles sold locally remains, but embellished by a range of new, souped up variants of the brewery's beers.
One of the first to install a traditional, English-style hand pump into a Melbourne pub, they also turn their hands to all manner of limited releases, from past favourites such as the Ale Noir - their Dark smoke beer aged in a French oak barrel previously used for pinot noir - and the Ravenator Bock to popular repeats like the USB and more recent beasts such as the whisky barrel-aged Black Mass and Pedro Ximinez aged Druid.
In 2013, as it approached its tenth birthday - and with a 10th anniversary beer in the tank - it looked like it could be curtains for the brewery as disagreements among its original owners led to the business being put up for sale. WA's Mash Brewing, which was looking for somewhere to brew its beers on the East Coast, came riding to the rescue and the site now brews 3 Ravens and Mash specialty beers.
The new owners also set out pumping money into the brewery, carrying out a spot of rebranding and investing in new equipment. It seems to have been a wise move by them too. In 2014, 3 Ravens was named Champion Small Australian Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards and also picked up Best British Ale for its slightly tweaked English Ale / ESB. More trophies have since followed as the brewery has undergone significant expansion too.
That expansion includes the conversion of the former offices upstairs into a contemporary shared workspace called CoBrew that opened late in 2015.
They've been opening up the brewery to the public more too, most notably during Good Beer Week when it has played host to sell out events such as Cask Off at which hundreds of punters have flocked to sample cask and barrel-aged beers from the hosts and some of their friends from the Aussie beer world. They've also opened up what was the once closed off "Pleasure Palace" to create a ten tap bar open four days a week and hosting regular events, including weekly comedy, as well as food trucks.
Meanwhile, the beer range continues to expand in all directions, with Thornbury Lager becoming the brewery's first canned beer and everything from New England style IPAs and mixed fermentation sour ales regularly leaving the brewery.