Time For Change At Rocks

Rocks Brewing’s Alexandria home is set to become the Bourke Road Brewhouse following a change in ownership structure. Simon Osborn, who joined Rocks as a major investor in 2013, has taken control of the business and will now run it with wife Rachel.

It’s a decision that ensures Simon’s “retirement” continues to look rather a lot like work.

“I was a McDonald's owner operator until 2010,” Simon says of the period before he joined Rocks. “In fact, I had about 30 years’ experience with McDonald's.

“We got out of the business thinking we could retire, but Rachel and I couldn’t sit on our hands, so we looked to invest and that’s what we did.”

The recent change in structure means the Osborns retain ownership of the Alexandria brewery and venue, while The Crafty Pint understands Mark Fethers, who launched the Rocks Brewing brand as a gypsy operation from Harts Pub in The Rocks, will focus on Harts and the Native Rose Hotel in Rozelle.

Simon says he and Rachel had become concerned by the brewery’s recent direction and looked to buy Mark out of his shares. In June last year, the Alexandria brewery and venue was put up for sale then taken off the market a few months later.

Simon told The Crafty Pint he wanted to separate the Rocks name from the Alexandria brewhouse so the latter could enjoy a better fit with the suburb in which it sits.

“There’s a lot of families moving into this area and [a lot of people are] visiting the places around us,” he says.

Both he and Rachel will be active shareholders in the business, declaring themselves excited for the brewery’s potential as a family-owned and operated venue.

“We’ve invested into this with everything we’ve got,” he says, “so it’s make or break us now.”

Together, Simon and Rachel now own close to 90 percent of the brewery. Among the other shareholders in the business is the brewery’s former and long-time head brewer, Scott Morgan. Simon says Scott will be involved at a consultancy level, with Jared Stewart remaining as head brewer.

The rebrand of Rocks in Alexandria will take place over the next two months, with Simon particularly keen to continue developing relationships with the gypsy brewers already brewing there.

“The big news is that whatever we brew in this space we are going to put on tap in here,” he says, adding that they’re also looking at the export market for Rocks.

“It’s been a five year journey for me," Simon says, "and it’s a beautiful dream.”

Mark Fethers declined to comment for the article.

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