South West WA’s heaving craft beer economy seems to be growing at a pace that could easily rival its big city counterpart in the north. Margeret River feels as much a beer region as a wine spot these days, and a growing number of places are servicing the ever-growing demographic of craft beer-loving locals, as well as the masses of thirsty tourists who visit regularly.
Already the bustling township of Bunbury boasts crafty options like Mojo’s Kitchen, Bar & Bottleshop and a Mash Brewery outpost. And by the end of the year – or early 2022, as these things go – the area will welcome a new brewery to call its own. Well, kind of new...
The team at Froth Craft Brewery, which launched in Exmouth in 2017, hope to give the locals of Bunbury a Christmas present in the form of a 25hl brewery and impressive taproom, which would be the city's first brewery installation.
Co-owner Peter Firth (pictured above right with founders Phil Gray and Tyler Little) says many features of the ambitious project will set it apart from other venues in the region, with the venue tying itself to Bunbury’s nautical history and the region's environment, culture and art.
"The feature bar is a huge repurposed wooden boat named Kybra," Peter says. "[It was ] built in Bunbury, in the year 1900, and will be a talking point. A large amount of leafy greenery, plants and small trees, both inside and out, will add to the experience too."
But perhaps the most exciting design aspect of Froth's Bunbury home – or Froth Craft Bunbrewery to use its proper title – will be the street inside the venue.
"Bunbury’s main drag, Victoria Street, will bend through the building," Peter says. "This internal ‘street’, called Back Reef Lane, presents the opportunity of weekend markets, stalls, buskers, street performers, art and craft exhibitions, live music and so much more."
Fit-out and design aside, the Froth team have put plenty of thought into their beer too, with the venue set to serve up more than 20 taps with brewing led by the North American native Tyler. The food menu is set to focus on local produce and share style dishes, with a family-friendly atmosphere a focus for the 300-person capacity space. The new venue will also feature solar power and a sustainability focus, while a "Froth tower" will be a visual landmark.
"We aim to become an integral player in the City of Bunbury’s innovative and aspirational planning initiatives," Peter says.
Located nearly 1,500 kilometres south of their home in Exmouth, the expansion might seem like an odd move for the brewery but, as Peter says, they felt the opportunity in Bunbury was too good to pass up. And that expanding Froth's beers into packaging and distribution is something that would be exceptionally hard in Exmouth given its isolation, while the South West offers opportunities due to the bigger population, many of whom are already well versed in craft beer.
"We can’t believe Bunbury has never had a commercial brewery and we’re frothing to bring one to the centre of town," Peter says, pun intended of course.