January 23, 2014 by Crafty Pint
One of the most popular brewing teams in Australia is bringing brewing to Melbourne’s Inner West. Two Birds Brewing, which was formed by former Mountain Goat head brewer Jayne Lewis (above right) and longstanding friend Danielle Allen (above left) in 2011, is set to open its own facility in Spotswood and hopes to put a first beer through its brand new setup later this year.
It is the latest step in what has been a phenomenally successful first 28 months since the pair decided to go it alone, a period in which they have succeeded in getting their Golden Ale, Sunset Ale and, more recently, Taco beer into venues across the country both within and, especially, outside the craft beer world. Opening their own brewery was always their stated goal from the moment Jayne announced she was moving on from Mountain Goat, with the search for a suitable site near her Seddon home stepped up significantly in the past eight months.
“We started looking when we got back from [the Craft Brewers Conference in] America,” says Jayne. “Louis [her husband] actually found it while we were in LA airport on the way home from that trip. There’s been a bit of work to get it where it is now and there’s still a lot more to go.”
As for the choice of location, she says: “We believe very strongly in the western suburbs. That part of the world is really ready for something like this. There’s so many great restaurants and bars and pubs there, it feels like it’s ready to have a brewery too.”
Their 18 hectolitre brewery system is set to ship from DME in Canada next week, with tanks to follow from China shortly afterwards. Wisely, given how no brewery ever seems to open on time, Jayne is keeping the expected first brew date as vague as possible, but “sometime in 2014” is the hope.
With demand for Two Bird’s beers having grown rapidly since launch, production has taken place at breweries in Victoria (Southern Bay) and Western Australia (Gage Roads). The plan, once the Spotswood brewery is open, is to start by bringing keg production in house; then, over time, they may add a bottling facility. In the meantime, Jayne says hasn’t been short of quality advice when designing her brewery, with Feral head brewer Brendan Varis proving an excellent sounding board.
“He’s been so generous with his time,” says Jayne. “I was flicking him stuff left, right and sideways and he was telling me what I didn’t need, to make sure this bit is turned around in this direction – things I wouldn’t have thought of. He actually bothers to put in time and offer his thoughts, sits down and goes through everything.”
“It was always the intention [to have our own brewery],” she adds. “We said that from the very beginning and they weren’t empty words.
“I feel like I’ve been a brewer without a brewery for years now. The business is quite strong, we’ve got to the stage where the brand is starting to take off, so it feels right; I think it’s time.”
The hope is that having their own facility will allow for more experimentation too â something that fans of their Taco beer will be pleased to hear. As for the emotions that go with securing their own brewery, it seems fair to say that Jayne is reasonably happy.
“It feels #$%^ing amazing, frankly!” she says, laughing. “It sounds totally cliched but it’s the dream come true for us; it’s everything we’ve been working towards â and we’ve been working our arses off.
“This is the realisation, which is scary as hell as well, but once I’m up and brewing it will feel pretty amazing.
“Drinking that first pot of whatever it is that we have made in our own brewery after we’ve opened â I’ll be shedding a few tears. But they’ll be happy tears.”