Perth's Pioneering Dutch Trading Co To Close

July 4, 2024, by Guy Southern

Perth's Pioneering Dutch Trading Co To Close

One of the country's leading beer venues is set to close in August. The Dutch Trading Co – better known to most as The DTC – has been a bastion of all things beer in Western Australia since opening in June 2015, launching the careers of many, and collecting numerous awards along the way, including Beer & Brewer’s Best Beer Venue.

However, Joel Beresford, co-owner of the Victoria Park venue, told The Crafty Pint the time was right.  

“After nine years, our lease was coming up and we had to fight really hard to extend it," he says. “We could have done one of three things: keep going and let things tick along; extend lease then sell business; or extend lease and do something different – and that’s what we’re going to do.”

He adds: “We knew DTC could continue indefinitely, but was that what we wanted? The fact that we asked the question gave us the answer.”

This watershed moment has offered an opportunity to reflect on the venue's achievements and the many memorable events held there over close to a decade.

“The hosting of Cantillon’s Zwanze Day on my 35th Birthday was pretty special!" Joel says. "The original midwinter Tropical Darkness always holds a special place in my heart.

“And the Garage Project Day of the Dead collabs were always epic. We loved to dress up for those every time, and I got to see one of my favourite people, Adam Holliday, for that event.”

 

DTC team members Tommy, Brucey, Baker, Hoops and Pete at a Day of the Dead event.

 

Likewise, collaboration brews between DTC staff and various breweries have been considerable with one, endorsed by Alex Kidd of Don’t Drink Beer, sticking in the mind.

“Oaklore – Heaven Hill barrel-aged barley wine by a country mile!” Joel says when asked to pick a standout.

“[Brewers] Ron Feruglio and Jackson Purser were so fun to work with; a great combo of old and new. To be honest, any collab with Jackson Purser was a heap of fun!”

More broadly, having made the decision to bring down the curtain on the WA icon, Joel is coming to terms with the impact of The Dutch Trading Co’s legacy.

“I like to think the main thing we did was show what the calibre of the craft beer scene could be, in terms of passion, produce and education. Plus, I like to think I made a lot of people drink lambic, whether they wanted to or not.”

However, the reality of the current market is razor sharp.

“People in WA are slowly understanding that, like any small businesses, you've got to support them or they can't be around forever,” he says.

“It's just not a brand. Our industry relies on each segment and it goes full circle – brewery, brewpub, bar, bottleshop – they are all contributing to the richness and lifeblood of the industry, and community. 

“Realising this is a great positive; the negative is that it could be too late for a bunch of the aforementioned businesses.”

 

DTC co-founder Joel Beresford hosting a wild ale event in the back room, where we've run many Crafty Pint events over the years.

 

He adds: “Wallets are being kept in the pocket more often than not. People still want options available but don’t necessarily take them. They want an interesting venue, new experiences – all these things need to be provided for, but also cost the provider with no guarantee of return. Unpredictability is a hard factor to work with.

“But, as a business, we need to control the narrative, not respond to it. Being proactive is key, otherwise you are just sitting on your hands.

“You’ve got to be more cost effective for everyone concerned. But don't make it a race to the bottom, in terms of both price and quality. Homogeny is not the answer.”

Following a “full refit and complete makeover, including the name” the new venue will retain some of the niche beer themes, while expanding the offering via a greater focus on wine and cocktails.

Having just opened Fallow – another venue with a poly-beverage approach – it means the team has a busy few months ahead, including a chance to sign off with the DTC faithful.

“I love how much conversation is had with punters, many who I easily call friends,” Joel says. “Thanks for the time you too to spend time at the venue, especially our events. Thanks for investing in our dream. And thanks for understanding why we need to say goodbye to The Dutch Trading Co and hello to the next chapter.”

Describing the venue’s last few weeks as a “rolling party”, he also drops a cryptic hunt that the venue’s spiritual leader, Vincent Van Halen, isn’t done yet. 

“The doors are closing, but Vincent may be popping up here and there – he already has a date!”

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