Fox Friday fans have known about the Tasmanian brewers' plan to head to the mainland for two years, ever since they announced they had their sights set on Melbourne. However, it turns out Perth will welcome a Fox Friday brewpub first, with the Hobart-based team set to take over Blasta's Burswood home when the latter move to their new 1,400-capacity venue around the middle of the year.
All being well, it will give them three breweries in three states by the end of the year, with today's announcement continuing the brewery's remarkable rise since the original Fox Friday was bought from its founders by Benny and Sarah Hooper in March 2019.
Following the takeover, they initially caught the attention of the country's more adventurous beer drinkers on the back of well-received hazy IPAs; following a rebrand and the launch of a high-quality core range in 2022, they have continued on their upward trajectory. Benny and Sarah grew up in WA too, so with the state proving to be one of the hungriest markets for their beers, they started looking at potential options for a western outpost around the time of last year's Froth Town festival.
"WA made sense for us because it's my old hometown," Benny told The Crafty Pint; he was born in Port Hedland before moving to Rockingham aged eight, remaining in WA until he started working overseas in his 30s. "When we were over for Froth Town, we were looking around Freo – so much had changed since I lived here.
"I've been out of WA for ten years but we've still got family and friends there. We saw the pick-up on our beers over there, and have been getting really positive feedback too.
"We don't really want to keep trekking across the Nullarbor all the time – it's a long way."
Fox Friday marketing manager Grace Dorman says the appetite for their beer in the west had "blown us away, to be honest". Late last year, she says they were unable to get beer across fast enough to meet demand, and credits an invite to the inaugural Retro Beer Fest at Rocky Ridge in November as helping them build an audience in Benny and Sarah's home state.
Since then, they have taken on Rocky Ridge's well-known brand manager Ricky Watt to oversee the development of their WA venue. His arrival follows other high-profile signings by Fox Friday, which included hiring brewers Justin Corbitt and Ned Bowring from Deeds last year.
Grace says: "We're moving into a readymade space which we'll customise. It's different to what we're doing in Melbourne, where we're doing everything.
"It's lucky for us it all came together. It's been super, super fast, which speaks to the fact it was an opportunity we didn't want to miss."
While the team's initial exploratory forays were around Freo, the road that led them to Burswood turned into something of a shortcut. They got word that Blasta founder Steve Russell was moving his brewery to a new home (as well as building a major production facility near the airport) and moved quickly. The two owners met up at the start of the year and were soon on the path that's led to today's announcement.
"The nice thing is those guys have done so well, and that area's changed so much with the stadium and the local council trying to make it a hub," Benny says. "Even though [Blasta's new venue] is just down the road, we can make it a really nice hub in that area; a rising tide..."
That they moved quickly to secure the Blasta site goes without saying, but there's also an argument to be made that it was meant to be. Although they didn't know it beforehand, it turns out that not only do the respective brewery owners come from FIFO backgrounds, but they may have worked on the same rig at the same time.
"We have a lot of mutual friends and respect and understanding coming from the offshore days," Benny says. "It's been a good conversation."
And we're pretty sure that as word spreads of Fox Friday's imminent arrival in Burswood, there will be plenty of excited conversations within the WA beer community too.