What’s in a name?
When choosing one for your brewing company, there's little that's off limits but, equally, plenty riding upon getting it right. Some choose to honour their location, attaching their home to the identity of their beers. Some prefer to go with something that invokes the feeling they hope their brand and beers embodies. In the case of Jonny Bucknall, it was more a case of "Why not both?"
In his role helming the ship that is Freshwater Brewing Co, Jonny (pictured above right) took his surroundings – the New South Wales beach town of Freshwater – and set out to create beers suited to being around just that: fresh, open water.
“That was always our number one priority” he says.
“The brief for every beer was, ‘What would you want to drink on the beach in Freshie?’ That guided us throughout the whole process.”
The process has been a long one for the British expat, who spent more than a decade working with brewing companies big and small, including Lion and, more recently, Modus Operandi, in a marketing capacity. But the concept for Freshwater is one that had been percolating for some time.
“It just started to manifest in my mind – thoughts of how I would run my own brewery, how I could do things differently," he says.
“Ultimately, the overall vision came together, and I didn’t want to die wondering.”
From there came the fun part: designing and building a brewing company, one that released their first beers midway through August this year and are still in the process of creating a home.
“Obviously, the beers had to be great, but making sure the space had a sense of place and community was a must," Jonny says of progress to date.
“Once we put the Freshwater name on the brewery, we knew this wasn’t our brewery anymore, it was a brewery for the people of Freshwater, so we wanted to establish a space that gave people that feeling of belonging.”
As we wait for that space to open, Freshie beers are already doing the rounds; a cerveza featuring citrus and sea salt, their Secrets Pale, and a couple of pilsners.
In the meantime, if you want to know a bit more about what lies in store, we invited them to take part in our long-running Who Brews...? series.
Who are you?
Jonny, Brett, Marv and Tom. A mix of brewers and home brewers with a marketing, IT and hospitality background.
Where do you brew?
We're currently bouncing around, brewing out of a few breweries that we know, trust and respect, with a brewery location finally locked in as close as we could get to Freshie, in Brookvale.
Why do you brew?
To make quality beers that fit with the Beaches lifestyle: classic styles with a Freshie twist. We're not looking for any hype, just well brewed, thirst-quenching beers.
Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?
When you homebrew long enough and work on beers brands long enough, you have aspirations to put your own spin on things. The TAFE course in 2017 was when things began to pick up speed.
What's the inspiration behind the brewery name?
The Freshwater community on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. You can't name a brewery after a place and not be inspired by the people and place around Freshie. We want to brew beers that fit the Beaches and, when we have a taproom, we'll let the community have their say on what we produce.
What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?
We've launched with a modern take on a Mexican style corn lager, Wedge Cerveza (pictured above), and Freshie Pils, a New World pilsner. At first glance they're two super easy-drinking beers to crack on Freshie beach. But they're beers that have no room to hide, brewed with quality ingredients with loads of flavour.
They don't interrupt the conversation but fuel it.
If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?
Well, it's not up to us but the best brew days are the mellow ones. A bit of Khruangbin, Toots and the Maytals or People Under the stairs rocks the spot. Tom runs his own record label, Start Local Records, so he'll have an opinion for sure.
What beers are in your fridge right now?
Oktoberfest beers – as many as we can get our hands on. Burnley's pack and Batch mainly for the Australian selection, and then the German imports with a couple of Schlenkerlas.
Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?
White Bay x Lotus Japanese Lager
Slow Lane Thirsty Miner Grisette
Mountain Culture Mars Attacks!
Where can people find your beers?
We're super new, so slowly getting on the shelves at local spots on the Northern Beaches, Sydney or
our website, where you'll find the stockists.
Where do you hope your brewery will be in ten years time?
If we're sitting outside at the Harbord Hotel sipping on a crisp Freshie Pils, looking over Freshwater Beach under a palm tree, things have gone to plan. We're not here to be massive but to get some quality beers and an inviting taproom to serve our community.
You can find other entries in the Who Brews...? series here. And we'll add the Freshie taproom to The Crafty Pint's map-based app as soon as it's open to the public.