Fox Hat launched in 2015 as a sibling brand to Vale Brewing. The craft beer industry was really starting to come into its own, with a growing number of drinkers after more "off the chain" beers – the sort of creations that didn't really fit Vale’s more mass market DNA.
Thus Fox Hat was designed as an experimental, “unleashed” place where head brewer Jeff Wright and his team could have a little fun, giving them liberty to make bigger, bolder beers, a move that led to him digging up some old homebrew recipes to tweak and upscale along the way.
As Jeff told The Crafty Pint at launch: “Fox Hat will be a range that will reflect our personality as brewers. It’s a way to keep our interest in using new hops and working with new styles.”
In October 2017, both Vale and Fox Hat were acquired by the family-run South Australian beverage company, Bickfords, giving the 180-year-old a pair of beer brands to add to the cider, vodka, wines, spirit and non-alcoholic labels that already sat under their Vok Beverages banner.
The move saw the Fox Hat core range evolve, with new beers arriving and some departing. The Heavy Handed XPA now starts things off within the core range, joined by the West Coast style Metric IPA, Red Pelt Red IPA, Phat Mongrel Oatmeal stout, and that beer's big brother, the seasonal Full Mongrel Russian Imperial Stout, which has since appeared in various barrel-aged iterations.
As for the name, Fox Hat came from a brainstorming session that ended with them landing upon the punchline from an old joke featuring the Queen, Prince Charles and Wagga Wagga. These days, should you hear the Queen say: "Wear the fox hat", you can tell her the beers can be found in most Australian states, as well as at The Vale Taphouse that opened as a home for the sibling brands in September 2022.