No Place Like Home

Young Henrys has announced that it will be ending involvement with its recently opened brewery in Western Australia.

The brewing company, which launched in the Sydney suburb of Newtown a little over three years ago and has experienced rapid growth since, had opened a sister brewery in Metricup, in the Margaret River region, late in 2014. It was the first of three new breweries the business had planned for local markets, the others being in Adelaide (where plans were recently postponed) and Brisbane.

The decision, says Young Henrys co-founder Richard Adamson, was simply a business one.

“We just wanted to go in different directions.”

The Young Henrys business was started by a handful of investors – a mixture of those hands on in the day to day operations alongside silent backers – who pooled resources to establish the Newtown brewery. The land on which the Metricup brewery (pictured above) sits is independently owned by one of the original investors and it is they who will take ownership of the brewery itself from Young Henrys, with the current intention being to run it as a separate business.

It’s surprising news for several reasons, not least of which is how recently the brewery was established. With that in mind, The Crafty Pint asked whether the split was amicable, or perhaps a result of having grown too quickly and bitten off too much, too soon.

“As amicable as business can be,” says Richard. “Having the brewery on the property, it might have been a bit difficult if we weren’t able to resolve it in that way, but it’s really down to an ownership and company thing rather than anything else. When you’re in different parts of country, you just start to go in different directions and form different visions.”

One of the key parts of the original vision was canned beer. Young Henrys currently packages its core beer range, plus a cider, in cans and all of that is done from Metricup. Despite the official parting of ways, that won’t change just yet.

Says Richard: “They’ll still produce for us, but we really haven’t been able to get enough tinnies out to meet demand. We’ll probably look to do a bit more in NSW with Icon while we work towards finding a solution here [Newtown] so we can service the demand.”

In lieu of being able to speak to the new owners of the Metricup brewery, we asked Richard if he knew what was in store for the site which, thanks to its location, was affectionately known as the Beer Farm.

“They’re doing their own range of beers and I imagine they’ll have a local focus and a tasting bar - it’s a beautiful location for that. But I’m wishing them every success and I’m sure it’s going to work for them. And for punters it means there’ll be more variety of beer coming out too.”

With the rest of the Young Henrys ownership remaining unchanged, in the short term the business will focus on consolidating its Newtown base before considering any further moves interstate.

“We’ll probably be installing some new tanks soon – if we can find somewhere to shoehorn them in," he says. "We’ve also got to wrestle with getting the [Noble Cut] gin out. We’ve been rubbing together a bit in terms of resources on that, but we’re finally sorting things out there too.

“We’ve still got the same people in their leadership roles here. I’m still a director of the company and, along with Sammy [Füss, head brewer], making sure the beer’s tasting the way we want it to. We’ve had a massive change having the lab and the new brewing team where all the guys are super passionate – they’re all brewing as if it’s their own little babies. All those things have really improved the quality of the beer.”

While Young Henrys’ interstate adventure may have hit an unexpected bump in the road, their Sydney journey appears set to continue unabated. And with the Metricup brewery seemingly set to reemerge in a different form, it could well be yet another reason for beer lovers to make a beeline to the Margaret River's hive of microbreweries.

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