NT Brewers Unite For Pints For A Purpose

February 19, 2024, by James Smith

NT Brewers Unite For Pints For A Purpose

Skim the lineup for Local Beer Day and you'll spot plenty of events where brewers, bar owners and other businesses in their neighbourhoods are joining forces to celebrate their local community. In many cases, the participants are doing it for a good cause too: raising money for charities and organisations serving their part of the country.

That's the case with Pints for a Purpose at Beaver Brewery in Darwin too, but the purpose there is one that's very close to home for the NT brewers involved.

As 2023 drew to a close, I spoke to each of the territory's brewers for our end-of-year roundup; the chat with Adam Asanovski (pictured above right), who runs Purple Mango Cafe and Brewery with his wife Kylie, revealed they had plenty going on. They were close to completing the construction of five accommodation units at their bushland brewery and café an hour out of Darwin en route to Kakadu, and looking forward to being added as a stop on helicopter tours of the region.

Then, just last month, Kylie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and their grand plans were thrown into turmoil.

While they'd expanded enough since I visited with my family in 2021 to employ a brewer, as anyone will be aware who's called in for a beer and pizza – or parked their caravan overnight as we did – Purple Mango is the epitome of owner-operated. Over the course of our short stay, Kylie served us beers from the shed housing the brewery, as well as pizzas (cooked by Adam on their outdoor oven), before sending us on our way with chilli mango dressing from their gift shop which, of course, she had made.

 

Kylie behind the bar at Purple Mango's brewery back in 2021.

 

As a result of the diagnosis, Adam has had to take on other work to try to keep the brewery and café going while Kylie receives treatment. And that's why the local brewing scene has rallied around.

Prior to taking over Purple Mango, Adam gained insight on running a small brewery – as well as tips on brewing – at Beaver Brewery while still working for Coca-Cola.

"We met through a mutual friend," Beaver founder and head brewer Chris "Browny" Brown (pictured top left alongside Beaver brewer Nayana Patmore) says. "They'd bought Purple Mango as a café but he'd never brewed before.

"He started working behind the bar here, then did some brew days. I taught him as much as I knew. He spent around 18 months working for us after quitting Coke, then I would go and do brew days out there."

Browny says that as soon as Kylie was diagnosed she started a course of chemotherapy.

"They've still got to pay their bills and we want to cause them one less stress," he says. "When we offered to support them, they didn't want the money – like most people, they're pretty proud – but we just sat him down and said, 'This is the reality. This is what we're going to do and you've got two options...'

"It comes to a point where you've got to accept."

 

Adam and Kylie, owners of tiny bushland brewery and café Purple Mango.

 

At the heart of their efforts to support the couple is Pints for a Purpose, created with another mate from NT's small brewing community: Kyle Pearson from Alice Springs Brewing Co (pictured second from right at the top of the article). Their hope for the fundraiser on Local Beer Day is to take more than $20,000, which would help cover Purple Mango's bills for the next few months.

Alice Springs are donating half a dozen kegs for the event, with Kyle telling The Crafty Pint he first met Adam through Browny.

"In the early days, when I first started the brewery, I got wind that Browny was starting his at the same time," he says. "He was very supportive. I'd stay at his house [when in Darwin] and met Adam long before he and Kylie had Purple Mango.

"We ended up being in contact the whole time: anything we could do to help them out we could."

As he expanded his brewery setup in Alice Springs, his older kit ended up making its way north. When I visited in 2021, Adam was still brewing on what was effectively a homebrew setup; now they use Kyle's old – and rather larger – Braumeister, while ex-Alice Springs fermenters and other equipment are now found at both Purple Mango and Beaver, who work together to save money on freight or lend each other ingredients when needed.

 

The Purple Mango Café in 2021. The couple have since invested heavily to expand their accommodation offering in 2024.

 

Kyle has also introduced the two breweries' beers to his hometown regulars, typically buying a few kegs from each for his brewpub heading into peak season. All three of them brew Territory Mid as part of their core range too: a three-way collab designed for the NT climate.

In short, while the breweries are separated by 1500km, they very much see each other as locals.

"Kyle comes and stays at my house," Browny says. "Adam comes in for a night. We're mates, not just brewers – it's been through beer we've become mates. And we're all very lucky to have mates like that."

There are 200 tickets available for Saturday's event, each costing $100 and giving attendees three hours of access to an open bar featuring donated kegs from Beaver, Alice Springs, Purple Mango and the latest local operation, Darwin Brewing Co, plus wine and soft drinks. There's a gold coin donation BBQ, an auction, special shirts, and a raffle too.

"Pretty much anyone that has dealt with Adam and Kylie has thrown in their time to help," Browny says.

"If we get 200 people through the door," Kyle adds, "that will be fantastic."


You can read about Pints for a Purpose here – or donate to a GoFundMe set up for Kylie and Adam here. The full Local Beer Day lineup of events across Australia can be found here.

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