Who Brews Little Blessings Beers?

April 23, 2024, by Matt King

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Who Brews Little Blessings Beers?

Throw on your Sunday best: it's time to go to church… for a beer.

OK, it's not exactly the sort of activity that is typically carried out in such a place, but as of this coming weekend it will become a reality as Craig and Cat Blesing bring a different form of communion to the community of Laura, a small town in the Southern Flinders Ranges. 

Little Blessings Brewing is housed in Laura's newly-renovated Baptist church. The building dates to 1875 and served as a home for the Baptist community until its final service in August 2022, paving the way for Craig and Cat to move in.

Converting the church from one form or worship to another required a mammoth renovation, one which ensured the history of the building was retained while converting into a taphouse. The original floorboards have been given new life, the historic stained glass windows shine once again, and some of the old church pews now seat beer drinkers. The rich history is on display throughout for those keen to learn more about the stained glass windows, the church's founders or other significant people from the local Baptist community.

Opening a brewery was a long-held dream for the Blesings, and when they heard the church was for sale they had a location to bring that dream to life. What's more, after conducting research into the building's history, they discovered one of Craig’s relatives had been a founding member of the church back in 1875.

The result of their painstaking conversion is a brilliant balance of contemporary taproom with the story of the church's first 150 years. The restoration was no simple undertaking, requiring many hands and the support of the community which, according to the new owners, went beyond and above to bring Little Blessings to life.

The chapel officially opens to the public April 27. Here's Craig and Cat with more on their background and plans as part of our long-running Who Brews...? series. 


The Blesings

Craig and Cat Blesing outside the immaculately-renovated home of Little Blessings.

 

Who are you? 

We are a husband and wife team, Craig and Cat Blesing. Craig is a former engineer and Cat worked in schools as a teacher and ESO.


Where do you brew?

We brew at Little Blessings Brewing at 38 Victoria Street, Laura. Little Blessings is Australia’s only church brewpub.


Why do you brew?

Craig: I love the science and process of creating beer. Not just drinking beer, but beer you truly want to drink. I get pleasure from others enjoying a beer I’ve made. 

I also love shiny things!

 

Craig with Ryan and Beau from Long Gum Farmhouse / Unit Three Collective, who travelled to Laura to assist with the first brew.

Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?

Yes. Drinking a choc coffee breakfast stout made by Ryan Bickley from Lone Gum Farmhouse sent me down a very deep rabbit hole of craft beer. He’s been my inspiration and mentor from the beginning.


What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?

Our surname is often mispronounced as blessing so our business name is a nod to that, and the fact we are located in a church. Ties in nicely.


What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?

Probably my IPA because it’s the one I’ve spent the most time developing, the one I enjoy drinking all year round, and it’s also done well in competition, which tells me everyone else enjoys it too. 


If you could have any person in the world join you on a brew day, who would it be, and why?

I’d love to brew with Adam Mills from Sonder Brewing because he’s an interesting character; I like his technical side and he looks like he has fun when he brews! 

 

A somewhat altered altar inside Little Blessing's church taproom.

If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?

Anything from the 90s: guitar, bass and drums driven rock.


What beers are in your fridge right now?

Shapeshifter’s Nordic Hazy, Coopers Botanical Ale, Rehn Bier’s WC IIPA Howdy Neighbour, Ministry of Beer Milk Stout and Raspberry Sour, and Fox Hat Red Pelt.


What would be your desert island beer of choice?

Our Parish Pale XPA.


Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?

Watsacowie Party Wave and Ministry of Beer NEIPA.


Is there a particular style, ingredient, or trend in beer you'd like to explore further?

Big, barrel-aged stouts.


Where can people find your beers?

On tap in our Church Taproom. Down the track we’ll have our beer in cans for takeaways.


Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?

We hope to be busy, employing lots of locals, and still enjoying what we’re doing now. 


You can count your Little Blessings at 38 Victoria Street, Laura. And you'll find their brewpub alongside hundreds of other breweries and good beer venues in the free Crafty Pint app.

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