Located well over a thousand kilometres north of Perth, there’s clearly something special about Exmouth that attracts so many tourists each year. Perhaps it’s the town's location next to the heritage listed Ningaloo coast, with its crystal clear waters and white, sandy beaches. It could equally be the sheer number of whales that call the waters off the North West Cape home.
Historically, the area was once filled with whalers hoping to cash in on the valuable bounty. But, today, its tourist numbers that swell each year, with visitors hoping for a chance to glimpse the highest population of migrating humpback whales in the southern hemisphere.
They now have an additional attraction in the shape of Whalebone Brewing Company, which hopes to add local beer to the list of reasons for visiting Exmouth. The operation, which is the second brewery to open in the town following Froth Craft, takes its name – and some of its building materials – from the history of the area.
Whalebone is the work of Justin Fuery (above right) and Paul Minniear (above left) and here's the former to tell us more.
Whalebone Brewing Company
Why do you brew?
We live in the ultimate beer drinking climate – blue skies, warm days, endless beaches. We want to share our love of beer with the community and the many tourists that come visit the World Heritage Listed Ningaloo coast.
What beers have you released to date?
Our inaugural brews are the Session Ale (4 percent ABV), Amber Ale (5 percent ABV) and Wheat (4.6 percent ABV).
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
The name Whalebone reflects the history of the region. Whales were commercially hunted near Exmouth nearly 100 years ago. Whalebone Island off the Exmouth coast has spectacular dive sites and the gulf is an important resting ground for humpbacks and their calves during the southern migration.
We have some Whalebones around the bar, which was constructed from recycled timbers from the old Navy Pier.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Great question! As a kid, brewing was part of our Christmas ritual – we’d all get together and bottle a few king browns.
I’ve always been fascinated by the magic of fermentation and making beer is a great way of exploring that. But I guess really it was a case of grabbing an opportunity and taking a chance. When a second hand brew kit came up for auction, Paul and I just thought, let's do it and that was how Whalebone really changed from a dream to a reality.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
I’ve got Cheeky Monkey Session Red Ale and a Whalebone Amber. We recently introduced two litre reusable growlers so people can keep their favourite Whalebone Brew in the fridge or esky.
What would be your desert island beer?
Colonial Small Ale. It’s refreshing and tasty. As a bonus, the open top can would be very helpful for collecting stuff.
If your brewery was a band, who would it be?
Howlin’ Wolf. That big booming voice resonates through our tap room quite often. The blues reflects the musical freedom those artists shared and the freedom that we now have to make our own beers.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
We would love to be distributing our beers across Australia. How great would it be for a visitor from Melbourne or Sydney to be able to walk into a bottleshop or bar when they get home, grab an ice cold Whalebone Session Ale and reminisce about their holiday in Exmouth.
Where can people find your beers?
At the brewery – 27 Patterson Way, Exmouth, and also at Whalers Restaurant in the Escape Resort in Exmouth.