Local Brewing Family Buys 4 Hearts Brewing

July 1, 2024, by Mick Wust

Local Brewing Family Buys 4 Hearts Brewing

Ipswich’s 4 Hearts Brewing and Pumpyard Bar are changing hands – from one local family to another.

James and Tracey Long, who developed the 88 Limestone Precinct, have sold the businesses to Deryk, Karen, and Jack Anderson, a local family who also own Stony Creek Brewing.

“A bit sad,” James says of the decision to sell. “But I’m glad to be out of hospitality!”

James and Tracey created and launched the brewery and venues after witnessing the early craft beer scene developing in Queensland a decade ago. They purchased the 100-year-old Technical College at 88 Limestone Street with James, an engineer, developing it into a hospitality precinct, complete with brewery.

Needing a brewer, the Longs brought in local Wade Curtis – buying his nascent 4 Hearts brand as he became part-owner, brewer and director of 4 Hearts Brewing – then, a few years later, acquiring his share to become the sole owners.

While they’re sad to let the brewery go – not least as their kids all worked in the hospitality side of the business – they’re glad it’s being taken on by locals who are invested in the area.

“To me, it needs an owner-operator for the passion,” James says. “We’ve done it for nine years, done our bit, and it’s nice to hand it over to someone who’ll keep the fire burning.”

The new owners currently run Stony Creek Brewing, based on Deryk and Karen’s property in Mulgowie, an hour's drive southwest of Ipswich. It’s a small setup – a 50 litre system they’re currently upgrading to a 200 litre brew kit – and they sell their beer mostly at community markets in the Lockyer Valley region.

 

Local brewing family Jack, Karen and Deryk Anderson will bring Stony Creek Brewing to the 88 Limestone precinct in Ipswich.
Local brewing family Jack, Karen and Deryk Anderson will bring Stony Creek Brewing to the 88 Limestone precinct in Ipswich.

 

The family launched Stony Creek in 2020, aiming to replicate the community aspect of craft breweries Deryk and Karen had visited during a stint living in the USA. As such, investing in a taphouse was always on the cards.

But, while it had been part of their future plans, when the 4 Hearts opportunity “fell in our laps” they realised it was the easiest way in which they'd be able to own a bar and restaurant.

“An established clientele, an iconic location in Ipswich, the staff are top notch, the people working in the bar side and the restaurant..." Deryk says. “We couldn’t hope for any more than that.”

Their son Jack, who lives in Ipswich, will be involved in both the brewing and management of 4 Hearts and Pumpyard. As well as making Stony Creek beers, he’s been brewing at 4 Hearts on a volunteer basis since late 2023 after completing his brewing certificate at TAFE.

“I started a placement there to get more work experience, and I never left,” he says.

Existing 4 Hearts brewer Nick Davis also staying on.

“We know what each other’s thinking,” Jack says. “It’s been a great partnership.”

 

Jack Anderson has been brewing alongside Nick Davis at 4 Hearts since late 2023
Jack Anderson has been brewing alongside Nick Davis at 4 Hearts for the past eight months.

 

While it won’t happen immediately, the plan is to rebrand the brewery and taphouse into Stony Creek Brewing, with the Mulgowie brewery used as a pilot system to make small batches for the taphouse.

But there will be continuation as well as change: the Andersons intend to retain 4 Hearts beers alongside their own, both to keep locals’ favourites on tap and to honour the role 4 Hearts has played in the local community.

Deryk says: “Wade Curtis – the original founder of 4 Hearts Brewing – he was in here the other night with us having a beer, and we were picking his brains on the history. He was really happy we picked this place up and are going to continue that line of products.”

Indeed, even with upcoming tweaks to the venue and the food menu, Ipswich locals needn’t fear that they’ll be losing anything at 88 Limestone. Jack says their plan with Stony Creek Brewing is to focus on serving the local area, “spreading the net close” and showing people that “Ipswich has still got a brewery.”

"I want Stony Creek to be the beer for Ipswich,” he says. “When you go into a bar, you’ll see Stony Creek on tap.”

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