Conspiracy theories have long marched hand and hand with human history. Whenever impressive or outrageous feats take place, there’s likely to be people eager to offer their own hot take on what exactly went down.
And, as social media has made ever greater inroads into our everyday lives, conspiracies have managed to spread even further. Today, there’s no shortage of dark corners of the internet where groups form around discussion of pizza-based murder cults, fluoride, chem trails and the reptilian origin of many of the world’s leaders.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some forces conspiring for good; well, good beer anyway. That’s the case with CoConspirators Brewing Company, a plot dreamed up by two couples: Maggie and Deon Smit and Tim Martin and Jacqui Sacco.
Long before any of them considered brewing professionally, paramedics Maggie and Deon brewed fanatically – at home as part of the Melbourne homebrew club Merri Mashers. It was there they met future accomplices Tim and Jacqui and, despite all sharing a love of beer, in the early days the conversations were centred more around recipe development and hopping regimes than any thought of going pro.
But on winning some homebrewing competitions and seeing their beers enjoyed in pubs, go pro they did, launching with a West Coast IPA late in 2016. For many years the two couples spent their time travelling across Melbourne, brewing out of different locations and building a following of eager fans for their beers.
Each release is brought to life by Clint Weaver from Pocketbeagles as an underworld figure, from the Bookie Pale Ale, to their New England IPA, The Matriarch, with those characters' tales found on the side of the cans. The core range is one that focuses mostly on hop forward styles, but the brewing operation’s regular limited releases have shown an affinity for yeast driven beers, sours and barrel ageing as well.
That said, the idea of setting up a home of their own has featured heavily in their plotting and, at the start of 2020, the CoConspirators announced they were building a home in Brunswick. It ultimately opened in the final days of 2021 on Victoria Street, with the colourful and bright space as welcoming as the four people behind the beers.
Located in a beautiful old warehouse, the brewpub has capacity for around 200 people and includes 24 taps, perfectly-placed seats to view the brewing, a family room, beer garden and space for a future kitchen. Instead if it’s food you’re seeking, the brewery has conspired with a range of locals to keep stomachs full, including Small Axe Deli and Green Acre Pizza who deliver in the afternoon and evening.
But, even as their operation evolves, CoConspirators’ raison d'être remains much as it was when they started: four people – two couples – conspiring to make good beer. No further conspiracies required here, thanks very much.