When you've gone from drinking slabs of VB to being named the best homebrewer in Australia in little more than the blink of an eyelid, there's a strong argument to be made for taking brewing seriously. So Kevin Hingston decided to do just that, joining forces with a couple of mates to launch Pact Beer in Canberra in June 2015.
Armed with the recipes that brought him success via the homebrew kit in his kitchen, they set about winning over their hometown while, under the guidance of keg counting brewery co-founder Tim Osborne, also spreading Pact into other cities as quickly as possible. And, as the craft beer scene comes into its own in Canberra, they've found plenty of willing customers; when they launched, none of the capital's breweries had much in the way of distribution or packaged beer, leaving the door open for their brightly-liveried core range to step in.
The core four are beers that possess the sort of tight construction one imagines would have impressed homebrew judges and come with names that pay homage to where they were conceived: Mt Tennent Pale doffs its cap to the mountain and bushranger it was (inaccurately) named after; 42.2 Summer Ale takes its moniker from the hottest temperature ever recorded in Canberra, and so on.
But while those four beers, which are brewed at Hawkers in Melbourne, stay true to style, Kevin's fondness for experimentation is found elsewhere. Recipes first devised in his kitchen have since been brewed commercially at the likes of Prickly Moses in Victoria and St Peter's in Sydney, while there's been a flourishing relationship with fellow Canberrans Wig & Pen, with whom Pact collaborates regularly.
It wasn’t long until judges were again impressed with Kevin’s beers, with Pact named 2017's AIBA Champion Gypsy Brewer, the second brewing company to hold the title.
As of 2018, the Pact team was still working full time jobs alongside the brewing business, though by then they’d taken on staff, while still roping in Kevin's wife for graphic design work and Tim's to assist with accounts. But it’s the next pact that’s likely to please the brewery’s hometown fans the most: finding a home for the brewery.