When North West Brewing Co opened their doors in the latter half of 2019, owner and head brewer Daniel Scott's plan was simply to brew beers for his community in Karratha, Western Australia.
The port town, which is home to a touch more than 20,000 residents, is more than 1,500km by road from Perth, while the closest craft breweries before North West arrived were found in Exmouth – a solid five hour drive away. Now, just over a year on from launch – a year in which we've endured a global pandemic – Daniel and his team can reflect on a strong year.
Despite some COVID-19 restrictions, Karratha locals continued to support their local product and were joined by tourists soon after restrictions were eased, many exploring the state because of border closures around the country and overseas.
Among the mix of locals, tourists, and freight workers moving through the region, their North West Lager has consistently proved the most popular, with patrons frequently drinking that tap dry. Other favourites have included the Kolsch, as well as their Draught – Daniel’s way of slowly acclimatising lager drinkers with craftier offerings.
Moving forward, bigger and better seems to be the theme: new equipment is being brought in to increase capacity, with the understandable aim of never having to worry about running out of beer again. Daniel also hopes the increase in volume will allow North West to start canning, so he can get his beers out beyond the Pilbara too.
We got in touch to find out more about one of Australia's most remote breweries for our ongoing Who Brews...? series.
NORTH WEST BREWING CO
Who are you?
North West Brewing Co is owned by Karratha locals Daniel Scott, Jack Heales and their respective families.
Both Daniel and Jack have owned their own businesses for close to 20 years, with Jack also being the owner / operator of Powerlift Industries, and Daniel owning the distribution rights to Neverfail Springwater here in Karratha.
Dan grew up in Dampier and is a proud, passionate local, and has been brewing beer since he was 19. He and his wife completed their Master Brewers certs over in Melbourne back in 2015 and we opened the doors to the brewery just over a year ago.
Where do you brew?
Dan is the head brewer here at the brewery, and we brew onsite here in Karratha. We are located in the light industrial area of Karratha in a giant shed about 3km out of town.
Why do you brew?
Dan: Because I love beer and I love having the ability to design beers suited to our climate, and brew beers the people of the Pilbara can enjoy.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
Dan: My favourite beer when I was younger was Redback – although it’s not the same as it once was! – and I was happy to pay the extra premium for a good tasting wheat beer. Like most young people, I couldn’t really afford to buy it all the time which lead me to homebrewing.
I decided at about 21 that one day I would turn my passion for craft beer and brewing into a business. Took about fifteen years, but here we are!
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
We considered various names before settling on North West Brewing Co, but, ultimately, we wanted the name to be easy to remember and easily identifiable to the people of the Pilbara.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
North West Draught – because Dan favours a clean, crisp and refreshing beer. Easy to drink on a hot, humid day!
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Dan’s all about rock – indie rock / 80s / 90s rock / any rock.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Rocky Ridge Baby Peach IPA.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
Always been a big fan of Wilsons Rough Seas Pale Ale, AKA the Roughie.
Where can people find your beers?
Just here on tap at North West Brewing at the moment. We have just commissioned a canning line though, and installed three new fermenters, freeing up some capacity to enable canning and distribution next year.
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
To continue to expand by distributing and getting our beer to market in and across the Pilbara initially, and across WA and possibly interstate in the future.
You'll find North West Brewing Co at 100 Mooligunn Road, Karratha Industrial Estate, other entries in the Who Brews...? series here, and North West and hundreds of other good beer venues across Australia in the free Crafty Pint app.