After a turbulent few years, Archer Brewing are set to touch down in Newmarket with a new brewery to call home.
Stu and Lucy Martin launched Archer in 2017 as a nomadic brewing company, soon taking over the old microbrewery under the International Hotel in Spring Hill where they ran an underground bar called Archer’s Bunker. However, when the International Hotel sold in 2019, the Archer team again found themselves gliding, looking for a place to set down.
And what better place for an aviation-themed brewery than a repurposed World War Two era hangar?
Those familiar with the area might remember the spot on Newmarket Road as formerly housing a Lifeline op shop (which always seemed to be an odd fit for such an iconic building). But now Archer are breathing new life into the hangar, where the brand’s aircraft imagery is right at home.
Stu and Lucy have done what they can to show off the bones of this beautiful building, accentuating the zigzag frames and arched ceiling, and the brewery’s colours and font bring to mind the signage you see at an airfield. Even the brewery’s thoughtfully-designed bathrooms have three yellow stripes running the length of the black subway tile walls – stripes you’ll also see around the top of Archer Brewing’s beer cans, and will find on the shoulders of an Archer aircraft’s captain’s uniform. (In case you didn’t know, Stu is a former commercial pilot, and an Archer is the first aircraft he flew.)
There will also be some artwork around the walls; for one, anyone who visited Archer’s Bunker in Spring Hill knows the portrait of Archer the border collie in an Air Chief Marshal’s uniform.
But the coolest element of the whole place? Thanks to an aircraft engineer friend of Stu’s, the bar tops are made from the actual flaps from the wings of a Boeing 717 airliner.
“Lucy and I argued about whether they’re flat enough [to rest beers on] or not,” Stu says. “Hopefully they are!"
While I can see how the argument came about, I can’t stress enough how cool it is to stand at the bar and lean an elbow on buffed aviation-grade aluminium complete with rows of rivets. This detail locks in the feeling that you’re standing in an actual hangar.
But this is a brewery, not an aviation workshop, with an 18-tap venue that will seat over 200 people. One side of the building has restaurant style seating downstairs, while the mezzanine level above has more tables with seats and benches, as well as stools pulled up to a balustrade looking down at the bar.
“I didn’t want it to be a 60-person taproom,” Stu says. “I want people to come in and for there to be different areas, a variety of perspectives. A different feeling from every seat in the house.”
The other side of the building has seating on the mezzanine that looks directly down at the brewery. But Stu and Lucy’s vision also held that punters would be able to see the brewing tanks from every spot throughout the venue.
“Everyone has to remember at all times they’re in a brewery. They’re not just in a cool pub.”
The brewery itself is a 10hL, two-vessel kit with capacity to produce 200,000 litres a year, complemented by a pilot kit that’ll be used to make single keg batches. Chris Fletcher, formerly of 2 Brothers Brewery in Melbourne, is on board as head brewer.
As for the beer, three of Archer’s core range will remain – their mid-strength lager, pale ale, and IPA – while a full-strength, Japanese-inspired rice lager will replace their previous pilsner. They’ll also be adding a cider and ginger beer to the lineup. These six drinks will cover 12 of the taps at the bar, leaving the other six taps available for special release beers. All Archer beers will continue be made from 100 percent Australian ingredients, as they have been since the brand’s inception.
The bar will also serve Queensland wines and local spirits, although Stu has a dream of installing a distillery at some point in the future.
“Maybe one day we’ll even buy a winery!" he says with a laugh. "Have the trifecta.”
The kitchen will be run by a second vendor putting out share plates and other easy beer food, with an emphasis on as much Australian produce as possible.
“We do paddock to pint, and we’ll do paddock to plate. As a farmer’s son, I want to showcase Australian produce. It’s important.”
The brewery founders haven’t wasted any time making friends with their new neighbours either. Since moving into the Wilston/Newmarket area, Archer have already signed a sponsorship deal with the local field hockey club, and are in discussion with a soccer club about sponsorship. (Archer will also continue to sponsor the Brisbane Bandits baseball team and brew Bandits Beer.) And any time Stu has been onsite, he’s been inviting passers-by to come inside and have a look.
“Everyone who comes in here is blown away by it,” he says.
“We were always looking for somewhere to be the right place. When you know, you know.”
Archer Brewing is at 1/278 Newmarket Road, Wilston. The interior is in its final stages of construction, and all things going well, they're looking to open the doors before the end of 2022. You can follow progress via the brewery’s Facebook page.