Melbourne-based brewing company Wolf of the Willows are to open their own brewery and taproom in Mordialloc. They hope to open their new operation early in 2020, adding to a vibrant local beer scene in the Bayside area, one that already includes the likes of Bad Shepherd, Boatrocker, 2 Brothers, Mr Banks, Dainton and, soon, Stomping Ground as they open a second brewpub.
Owners Renae and Scotty McKinnon (pictured above), who launched with one of Australia's first XPAs in 2014, are to take over a partially completed brewery and taproom. They said they'd hit production capacity mid-2018 so the time to expand and into a new and larger brewery was "well overdue".
The new site will feature a 115 seat taproom, with 12 rotating beers on tap, while they will continued to brew at Bad Shepherd, where they share ownership of the brewery. In the initial stages they plan to partner with local food trucks, with council approvals to build their own on-site kitchen in the future.
“We want to create a best practice brewing facility, one where we increase our current production volume, as well as expand our sour and barrel-ageing programs," Scotty said in a media release. "We’ll have the opportunity to stretch the brewing wings and showcase a wider variety of what we can really do.
"The taproom will be a true ‘Home of the Wolf’, where we hope punters feel they can come enjoy a beer in an atmosphere that welcomes them in as part of the Wolf family, and truly reflects what we are about."
Scotty told The Crafty Pint that having reached capacity at Bad Shepherd, he and Renae had been looking for a new space for some time before securing the site, which will include a 12 hectolitre brewhouse.
"First and foremost we need litres coming out - we need production volume," Scott says. "It’s been probably two years of looking and unfortunately, a lot of the industrial areas that have the square metres we are looking for are getting snapped up by residential property now.”
Scotty added the new home gives them a better opportunity to connect with a community and being able to talk to drinkers through both their own space and staff.
“We can show a bit of that personality that is sometimes hard to communicate through a can or a keg," Scott says.
Renae says while their brewery in Cheltenham has allowed the Wolf of the Willows to make it into bars and bottleshops, they felt a personal connection was important for the brewery.
"We wanted that personal touchpoint with the local community and just having something where people can have a beer," Renae says.
It also means, we're likely to see far more styles and types of beers released from the Melbourne brewery going forward.
“When you can make more money by square metre by pumping out the core range beers you kind of have to do that," Scotty says. "But when you have a little bit more room you can have a bit more fun and you don’t have to be so efficient about that space.”
Renae adds: "We like throwing a party and new beers means more parties.”