Life moves a little slower in Ocean Grove.
No one seems to be in a rush in this small town on the Bellarine Peninsula. That’s probably why people move here from Melbourne for a seachange, helping the town to grow while retaining its charm.
It’s probably also why BrewiColo resonates with locals and visitors alike – owners Chilla Tuicolo and Kay Godfrey styled the brewery’s bar to portray Chilla’s Fijian background, infusing it with a relaxed island theme that encourages everyone who enters to, well, chill.
“People in Fiji are relaxed, laid-back,” says Kay. “Everyone there is on ‘island time’, you know? It’s ready when it’s ready.”
This contribution to the seaside town has been a few years in the making. After a couple of years brewing out of their garage and supplying a few local venue, Chilla and Kay decided to take the next step and build a brewery with a taproom for the community.
Kay says: “Ocean Grove is my hometown. It’s always needed something like a brewery. And Chilla’s always wanted to open one.”
The brewery was completed at the end of 2018, just in time for the summer rush.
“It’s a coastal town with lot of tourists over the summer months, so we knew we’d do well over summer," she says. "We expected it to be quiet over winter, but it just wasn’t! It’s been fantastic, the support we’ve seen from the locals.”
BrewiColo brew on a 1000L brewhouse, with beers – that on last visit favoured maltier lager styles – pouring through eight taps, and a fridge full of bottles for takeaway. Though the brewery venue had been open for just eight months at time of writing, it's proven popular enough to push their storage, space and brewing capacity towards their limits.
But the beer isn’t the only thing drawing people in. Chilla and Kay designed the space to be family friendly, with an outdoor area where children can skateboard or run around, and a stack of games indoors.
"It’s an easy day out for the parents, which is what we wanted to create with having our own young family," Kay says. "Parents can sit there for a session while the kids are busy occupying themselves.”
They also run a community event once a month, with past events including mini markets, a winter festival, and an RSPCA Cupcake Day.
In a brewery that encourages the slow life, it’s perhaps ironic how hard Chilla and Kay work. As well as brewing, Chilla works full-time in the defence force and Kay runs the business side while looking after their two young children, who are usually at the brewery overseeing the whole operation.
But they surround themselves with all things Fiji as a reminder to embrace the island philosophy themselves. The BrewiColo logo is a pair of palm trees, and the bar front is covered in a palm tree design. A wall mural by a local artist shows the sun setting over the ocean, with the words “BREWI TIME” reminding guests they can let go of their burdens when they enter the brewery.
“We love it so much that we want everyone else to come in. We try to give everyone the Brewi experience: to be relaxed, on island time… to just step into the brewery and forget about everything.”
The island theme extends beyond the vibe of the taproom to the naming of the beers. There’s Wai-Koula (Golden Water) Golden Lager, Kofe (Coffee) Brown Ale, Kabu (Hazy) IPA; Kay’s favourite, Piqi (Pink), is a bright lager with hibiscus tea leaves, honey and local limes; Chilla loves the simpler Palm Ale, an Aussie pale ale that was the original BrewiColo beer, and remains close to his heart.
“Maybe we can transport them to Fiji, or maybe Far North Queensland, or somewhere else… their own little island.”
Here's Chilla tell you more about their little beer island as part of our Who Brews...? series.
BREWICOLO BREWING COMPANY
WHO ARE YOU?
BrewiColo is a family-owned and run brewery. I’m Chilla the brewer, Kay (my partner) runs the business side of things and our two young children are a constant feature at the brewery. We always have plenty of family around to help out: Kay's brother and sisters are always helping out behind the bar as are her parents. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without plenty of family help!
I am originally from Brisbane and, as well as running the operations at the brewery, I’m currently a full-time serving member of the Australian Army, working in Melbourne. With a young family and running the brewery, things are pretty busy for us.
WHERE DO YOU BREW?
Our brewery is located in Ocean Grove, Victoria – 32 Marine Parade. It's right in the middle of the light industrial area, which is surrounded by the new and growing residential estates in Ocean Grove.
WHY DO YOU BREW?
I love everything about brewing, in particular the process of brewing and creating such a versatile product from four simple ingredients. I also love seeing people other than friends and family enjoying our beer.
WAS THERE A BEER OR A MOMENT THAT SET YOU ON THE PATH TO BECOMING A BREWER?
It was when I started to get great feedback on the beer I really enjoyed brewing. From my first all grain brew to now, I am always developing my skill and knowledge on brewing. I think it is the journey of self-development and discovery that put and keeps me on the path of brewing.
WHAT BEERS HAVE YOU RELEASED TO DATE?
- Palm Ale - Aussie Pale Ale
- Baravi - Vienna Lager
- Wai-Koula - Golden Lager
- Piqi - American Bright Lager with Hibiscus tea leaves, honey and lime
- Island Red Ale
- Kabu (Hazy) IPA
- Kofe (Coffee) Brown Ale
We are always coming up with new ideas and new beers; this summer is looking pretty exciting for us.
WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE BREWERY NAME?
My surname is Tuicolo and during a session many years ago a great mate thought up BrewiColo as a play on words and it stuck! Now he has the honour and privilege of bragging rights.
WHAT BEERS ARE IN YOUR FRIDGE RIGHT NOW?
- Balter Captain Sensible
- Capital Rock Hopper IPA
- XXXX Gold
- BrewiColo Wai-Koula
We always have a pretty varied selection of beers, mostly for a bit of market research or just because we like the description or the label of the beer. I always enjoy every beer I buy because I can appreciate the effort that has gone into brewing it.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOUR BEERS?
At the brewery we have a taproom, and local venues/bottleshops on the Bellarine Peninsula.
WHERE DO YOU HOPE YOUR BREWERY WILL BE TEN YEARS FROM NOW?
We hope to have expanded the brand well beyond the Bellarine Peninsula; in particular, I would love to see our beer in venues in Brisbane – my hometown. That should at least stop my mates up there always asking me for a Brewi.
Until then, you can join Chilla and Kay for a Brewi at BrewiColo, 32 Marine Parade, Ocean Grove.
You can find other entries in the Who Brews...? series here and find hundreds of good beer spots across Australia in the free Crafty Pint app.