Over the past few years, we've run many articles in our Going Green series looking at steps brewing companies and others in the wider industry are taking to be more sustainable and socially and environmentally conscious. And now one local business is launching a grant as an incentive for newcomers to the world of brewing to ensure they put such measures at the heart of what they do.
Brew Rocket is the brainchild of Jessie Jungalwalla, founder of brand agency Craft Instinct, and will see the successful applicant win a multi-faceted package of support worth tens of thousands of dollars. As well as a full branding packaging from Jessie and her team, it includes business plan development and mentoring from BentSpoke co-founder Rich Watkins, coaching from Peach Business Management, discounts with Rapid Labels and Sun Tap Decals, plus a launch story and year's free listing with The Crafty Pint.
That Jessie has hatched such a scheme will come as little surprise to those who know her; the No Beer On A Dead Planet campaign that tied in with the 2019 Climate Strike marches was her idea, and she donated her time designing the look and feel of the Keeping Local Alive campaign last year, as well as the Beer For Bushfire relief logo before that.
"I'm passionate about the environment and social change, and the career I find myself in doesn't necessarily lend itself to that without thinking outside the square," Jessie says. "I saw an opportunity where I could make a difference and have a bit of impact where I want to be having an impact, through inspiring other people to make a change."
Rich put his hand up to get involved when he and Jessie were on the Cryer Malt Brewery Startup Panel during this year's Good Beer Week. He will be offering the successful applicant eight sessions covering a wide array of topics designed to help them enter the brewing world in a strong position.
He regularly gives informal advice – whether to brewers or prospective brewery owners visiting him in Canberra or making contact from interstate – and says: "It's humbling to think people are reaching out to ask me questions."
Rich, who collected another trophy at the most recent Australian International Beer Awards for BentSpoke's Sprocket IPA, adds: "I'm keen to help people set up better and do it the right way. Starting a brewery sounds really great, but understanding what it all means and doing a good job are two different things.
"It's good for our industry to have more good breweries opening up, so the more I can help the better."
At BentSpoke, he says they're sitting at around 79 percent when it comes to being self-sufficient with solar power and are working to reduce their water usage, although Rich says they particularly focus on people when it comes to being good corporate citizens, from making sure their staff have clearly defined roles, and receive the right training, support and career progression, to working with organisations in their local community.
"We work with arts foundations that aren't as well funded as others," he says, "but also organisations that might otherwise struggle to survive."
As for the sort of ideas Jessie is hoping to see from applicants, she cites plans for carbon neutral brewing companies, businesses with strong messaging around social change, and policies to build and support a diverse workforce.
"I'm looking for people that are really excited and passionate about these things too," she says.
"I've worked really hard to build my business over the past five years, and feel I'm really privileged to be in this position, so one reason I wanted to create the grant is to give back to the independent industry that I love."
Applications are open until August 31, 2021. Applicants must demonstrate how their business model fits the requirements of the Brew Rocket Grant, found towards the bottom of this page, and must be planning to open or be selling beer within two years of the grant application closing date (August 31, 2023).
To apply email [email protected] for an application form.
You can find other entries in our Going Green series here.