Family breweries are hardly unique in Australia. Throughout the craft beer world, you will find tiny setups comprised of husband and wife, mum and dad, brother and sister, father and son. But, as far as we know, the latest brewing company to enter the Aussie beer world this week is the first to put the fact that it’s a family affair front and centre.
Yesterday saw homebrewer turned pro brewer Dan Dainton (above), formerly of the Portland Hotel and Holgate, tap the first of what he hopes will be many beers under his new venture, Dainton Family Brewery. The Red Eye Rye – a hoppily aromatic, lean, lightly spicy and flavoursome red ale – was launched at The Terminus with Dan joined at the bar by his dad (who’s helping on the financial side) and sister (marketing), the two other family members making up the business.
For now, despite having a 250 litre brewhouse at his home, he’s brewing on Cavalier’s gear in Melbourne’s west but the hunt is on – led by dad – for their own venue somewhere to the north or west of the Victorian capital.
“We’ve looked at quite a few places: around Daylesford, Castlemaine,” says Dan. “Dad’s got a really keen eye for building design. He wants to find somewhere awesome to put it.” It being a brewpub, not just a production facility.
The Red Eye Rye, which is made up of eight malts and six hops drawn from all over the world, is only likely to hit taps around Melbourne; unfiltered and unpasteurised, Dan says he doesn’t want to risk sending it further afield. It’s set to be followed by a stout, then probably a pale ale. Beyond that he has plenty of other ideas, but he’s not letting on for now.
“The plan from here is to brew some different things, get some new stuff out there – get as much beer out as possible,” he says. “It’s been great brewing at Cavalier. They are really good blokes to get along with so I’ll keep brewing there for now.”
He says the name Red Eye is the start of a theme that will run through all Dainton beers, a theme that aims “to play on the dramatics of the family members involved”.
“For us, we really want to stress to people that it really is a family venture,” says Dan. “We have got a series of caricatures that we will use for bottling. It’s hard to explain, but when you see the labels, you’ll understand!”
You can keep tabs with the progress of the Dainton Family Brewery via Dan’s blog.