South Yeast Brewing might have only opened this year but the brewery's been a long time coming.
Behind it are the Panucci twins, Simon and Joey, who grew up around the corner from their taproom in North Nowra, and their first foray into craft beer came courtesy of a close friend who was homebrewing.
Once seeing the ins and outs of how beer was made, Joey became hooked, while Simon would often help his brother on brew days, and says becoming the local beer brothers brought with it a fair amount of popularity.
“I would help Joey out so we could take our brew to parties, which people loved," Simon says. "However, free beer is free beer, so it was somewhat unclear how much they actually liked the beer."
Before they even started homebrewing, the duo had a strong feel for the hospitality industry, working in their family’s hotel in their teens before exploring the music scene in and around Sydney after high school.
While Joey continued brewing, Simon began working with coffee and, after running his own coffee business, the brothers came together and decided beer was the direction in which they wanted to head.
“People kept telling us they liked Joey’s beer,” Simon says.
“I was going to travel, but then COVID hit … we just thought, ‘Why not?’ and went for it.”
After some time, the pair locked down a location in North Nowra and got to work creating a space that would highlight the culture within the local community.
“Floating the idea to the community, people were interested because it was something new," Simon says.
"We’re up the road in a tiny little industrial area. We didn’t know how it would go, we just had hope. All things considered, it’s been fantastic.”
Opening early in the year, the brewery has quickly become a hotspot in town for its live music, food trucks and beer. Simon says it's been a surreal experience seeing how the business has fared locally since opening its doors.
“If you’ve ever spoken to people who come from a country town, there’s a level of interest about exploring and the outside world," he says.
“We did that, so now to come back around the corner from where we grew up and open our own brewery, it’s a little surreal.
“The beautiful thing about the brewery is that we get to make something that people are interested and invested in.”
To find out more about the brothers and South Yeast Brewing, we caught up with Simon and Joey as part of our long-running Who Brews? series.
South Yeast Brewing
Who Are You?
At South Yeast Brewing, we are a twin brother duo, Simon (above left) and Joey (above right) Panucci. We both come from music and arts backgrounds, as well as hospitality. We grew up in the Shoalhaven, around the corner from where we are established.
We both worked within the local community at Hyper Hyper Coffee and toured playing music with Frank Sultana & The Sinister Kids before establishing the brewery.
Where do you brew?
We brew out of a small industrial complex in Geary Place, North Nowra, which is in the Shoalhaven area.
Why do you brew?
Brewing started out as a hobby then quickly turned into a passion. We brew to share our passion for craft beer with the community.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
A defining moment was drinking beer made at our mate Drew’s home brewery. It showed us how amazing and different craft beer could be, showing how much flavour and creativity they could express.
Other experiences like travelling through New Zealand also showed us the great amount of life and joy craft breweries can bring to a city or town.
What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?
To be honest, it came up at lunch, Simon said it while just running off ideas. We blame our mother; an English teacher who can’t help throwing a pun in when it represents itself. Must have rubbed off.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
The beer that best represents us would be the Hyper Stout. It is a coffee chocolate stout that contains Hyper Hyper’s famous blend 6 coffee. It represents us by showing our history with coffee and our intent to work with and promote other local businesses.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Brew day playlists are pretty varied. Being 90s babies there are a lot of 90s hits but with our music backgrounds, there is an eclectic mix including jazz, blues, grunge and EDM.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Right now there is a mix from other South Coast breweries including Jervis Bay Brewing and Dangerous Ales. It is always changing, though.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
In recent weeks we’ve been able to try beers from Jervis Bay Brewing, Cupitt's Estate and Dangerous Ales. They all produce great and delicious local brews. The Velvet Wombat from JB, the Mollymook Pale from Cupitt's and West Coast IPA from Dangerous Ales are all great brews worth a try.
Where can people find your beers?
Right now, we only have the taproom running so, if you want to try a brew or two, you will have to come to the brewery. We have growlers and squealers available for takeaways and we plan on canning eventually so keep an eye out!
Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?
We hope to grow the brewery into a larger venue for locals and tourists alike to enjoy craft beer and live music.
You can visit South Yeast from Thursday to Sunday by heading to Unit 6, 11 Geary Place North Nowra, NSW, Australia 2541.
Find them and hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues across Australia in the free Crafty Pint app.