Articles by James Smith

Fundraiser Launched For Wags' Family

A GoFundMe has been launched to support the family of Mark "Wags" Wagthorne, the much-loved beer world character who passed away from cancer at the age of just 44 last week.

Vale Wags

Tributes have been pouring in following the sad news that one of the most popular figures in the local beer world, Mark "Wags" Waghorne, has passed away after a years-long battle with cancer. We spoke to some of those who worked with and knew him.

Matilda Bay Roll Out The Rejects

By the time Matilda Bay released their first new beer following the return of founder Phil Sexton, they'd tipped 27 trial batches down the drain. Now they're offering drinkers a chance to try four of the beers that didn't quite make the grade.

24 Hour Barley People

They've brewed barleywines and plenty of double digit ABV beers before, but never anything like this. In what's likely to be an Aussie first, Rocky Ridge have created a 24-hour boil beer to see how far they can push a local farmer's pale malt.

How Good Is Pint Of Origin?!?

There's precious little good news around at the minute, so let's try this: Pint of Origin is going ahead in Melbourne this May. With Good Beer Week cancelled for 2022, we've rallied with the #poo22 venues and are going bigger than ever!

Batch Buy Bucket Boys

Batch Brewing Co have acquired Bucket Boys. They will transition the latter's Darling Square venue into a Batch outpost in Sydney's CBD, with Bucket Boys Marrickville and its related online store retaining the existing name.

Brew & A: Rhys Lopez

At the end of 2021, our WA team chose Otherside as the state's standout brewery of the year. We figured that was a great excuse to invite head brewer Rhys Lopez to take us on a tour through his life in beer and beyond.

No Good Beer Week Or BrewCon In 2022

Sad news for beer lovers and many in the beer and hospitality industries today with the announcement that Good Beer Week won't be going ahead in May. The Independent Brewers Association have also postponed BrewCon to 2023.

Who Brews As Brewcha Libre?

Just two-and-a-half years ago, Ryan Walker wasn't even into beer, then a gift of a homebrew kit changed everything. As he prepares to launch his first two beers, we chatted to him about his Mexican wrestling-themed brewing company.

The Crafty Pint's Biggest Stories Of 2021

From brewery sales to the rise of hazy pales, homebrand beers to wild frontiers, and winners to those tackling sinners, here's a look back at some of the biggest stories to appear on The Crafty Pint in 2021.

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The Best Of The Territories In 2021

Time to wrap up our state by state by territories wrap of the year in beer that was 2021 with a look back over the past 12 months in the ACT and NT, a time in which the beer scenes in both territories have been expanding.

Getting Blind With Crafty: Cold IPAs

Something a little different for our last blind tasting of 2021 as we tuck into an emerging style that's only been attempted by a small number of Aussie brewers. So, what did our panel make of the world of cold IPA?

Indies Trophies To Change Hands Following Audit

Four state champion trophies from the Indies awards in 2020 and 2021 are changing hands following an independent audit of results. Wildflower, Future Mountain and Mismatch are the new recipients as the audit continues.

A New Guide To Beer Ownership

We've been meaning to create an interactive version of our Who Owns Your Beer? infographic for some time. And, ahead of the 2021 Indies, we've finally made it happen, creating a version we can update with each and every sale.

Beer's Diversity And Discrimination Problem

A survey looking at diversity in the Australian beer industry shows there is much work to do for it to become truly inclusive. We spoke to the survey creators, Beer Agents For Change, about their mission to create a better beer world.

Slow Lane Triumph At Sydney Beer Awards

Slow Lane continue to rise through the ranks of top Aussie brewers at quite a rate. The Botany brewery added more trophies to their collection at the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Awards, with Belgian tripel Threefold leading the way.

Now Tapped To Cease Operating

Free tap list app Now Tapped is to cease operating. Founder Angus Bremner, who launched the app in 2014 as a " bit of a hobby" says Untappd have cut off his access to their data without warning, forcing his hand.

Feral's Brewpub Comes Full Circle

Just weeks after Feral closed their Swan Valley brewpub, there's good news for WA's beer lovers. One of the original founders of Feral has taken over the site and will be opening a tavern and recommissioning the on-site brewery.

The Wild Ones: Van Dieman

​​The Wild Ones is a series showcasing Australian brewers creating spontaneously fermented ales. Following our launch piece last week, here we head to a farm in Tasmania to catch up with Van Dieman founder Will Tatchell.

The Overland Corner Hotel Flowers Anew

There have been many heartwarming and inspirational tales to come from the beer world during the pandemic, but few as colourful as this. Here's how a Sydney family went from hitting the road to a houseboat to an historic pub.

The Big Sale: Is It A Big Deal?

Last week's announcement that Stone & Wood's founders had agreed to sell their business to Lion sent shockwaves through the industry. But, as the dust settles, what has really changed for indie brewers and those who buy indie beer?

Kaddy Go National

As they approach their second birthday, business to business drinks ordering platform Kaddy is expanding across Australia. We chatted to co-founder Rich Coombes about their growth, navigating COVID, and the search for truth.

Brick Lane & O'Brien Toast World Beer Awards Success

Brick Lane and gluten free beer specialist O'Brien Beer woke to good news with both winning trophies in the World Beer Awards. Brick Lane's Revolver claimed World's Best Porter and O'Brien's Belgian Ale Best Gluten Free Beer.

Lion Buys Stone & Wood

In news that will send shockwaves through the local beer community, Lion have today confirmed the acquisition of Stone & Wood as well as associated brands in the Fermentum Group, including Fixation and Two Birds.

Fermentum To Lion: The Founders' Tale

Following the sale of the Fermentum Group to Lion, we chatted to co-founders Ross Jurisich and Jamie Cook to get more on how they reached this point.

KAIJU! Head For Home

Almost ten years after they first talked about opening a hospitality venue and two years after securing a site, KAIJU! are hopeful they may finally open their proposed 16-tap brewpub in Huntingdale by the end of the year.

Wildflower – Back From The Brink

A rogue element appeared in Wildflower's house culture recently, plunging the brewery team into despair. But, thanks to the kindness of friends in the food and drinks community, they're back from the brink.

What We'll Be Drinking Next

The local beer and hospo world needs a big beer-drinking season like never before. So, with spring approaching and the drinks landscape more complex than ever, we've invited a few experts to peer into their crystal balls.

Brew & A: Steve Wearing

They might not brew hype beers or indeed be a hype brewery, but King Road Brewing Co have been quietly carving a fine reputation – and collecting trophies – in WA. We caught up with head brewer Steve Wearing to find out more.

Help #emptythekegs

Much of Australia has faced lockdowns through 2021, making it difficult for breweries and venues to sell kegs. In response, one beer lover has launched the social media campaign #emptythekegs to help keep tap beer moving.

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The Crafty Pint's Best Of 2021 – So Far

After skipping a year due to the madness of COVID, our Best New Beers – So Far mid-year feature is back. It's a little different this time around, reflecting the changing beer landscape, and so late it's barely mid-year for that matter...

Our Story: The Next Chapter

In the wake of allegations and articles documenting sexual assault, abuse and harassment in the beer world, work is ongoing to make positive, lasting change in the local beer and hospitality communities. We spoke to those driving it.

Postcards From The Edge Revisited

We hoped we wouldn't have to resurrect this series, but with most of Australia back in some form of lockdown or restrictions, we chatted to two Sydney brewers who've pivoted back into action since the weekend.

Who Brews Dangerous Ales?

As they work on a major brewery expansion at their home in Milton, NSW, we caught up with Dangerous Ales founder and head brewer Damo Martin to find out how he went from big wave-chasing chef to brewery owner.

Sailors Grave To Create Multimillion Dollar Dunetown

Sailors Grave are set to realise the long-held dream for a farmhouse style brewery, securing a $2.35m grant that will go towards the creation of Dunetown on the East Gippsland coast.

Going Green: Brew Rocket Launches

A new grant designed to encourage new brewing companies to put an environmental and/or social enterprise focus at the heart of their business has just launched. We spoke to the woman behind Brew Rocket to find out more.

Australian International Beer Awards Winners 2021

Dollar Bill proved hugely popular winners when they took out Champion Australian Beer at the 2021 Australian International Beer Awards as the beer industry gathered en masse again after missing out in 2020.

Getting Blind With Crafty: Pale Lagers 2021

Much has changed in the half decade and more since we last put lagers to the blind taste test. For one, there's bloody loads of them, but who's brewing them really well? We compiled an expert panel to find out.

A Day In The Life Of: A Technical Brewer

He gets to play around with new ingredients and techniques as much, if not more, than any brewer in the country, yet you'll never taste his beers. We spent A Day In The Life Of Ellerslie Hop's technical brewer Glenn Harrison.

A Year On The COVID Roller-Coaster – Part I

It was a year nobody could foresee and nobody wanted, yet the worst fears of March 2020 haven't been realised. Over two features, we take on in-depth look at the local beer industry 12 months on from the nationwide lockdown.

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Beer Swag Day Is Back!

Beer Swag Day was a day of celebration that ran as part of the Keeping Local Alive campaign in the early weeks of the national lockdown. And now it's back – on the anniversary of the lockdown so we can mark that dark day with a smile.

How's The Serenity Of Speed?

Readers will know Corinna Steeb and Frank Samson through the beers of Prancing Pony, but it's only one of their passions. They met through a shared love of motorbikes and next month Corinna will attempt to break her own land speed record.

Hops Without Borders

In a normal year, brewers and other beer industry people would be preparing to visit the Southern Hemisphere's hop farms for harvest. It's not a normal year, however, leading Hop Products Australia to invite guests to join them online.

Getting Blind With Crafty: Hazy Pales

They're hazy. They're pale. They're all the rage. But who's doing them well? For our first blind tasting of 2021, we got our hands on a stack of Aussie examples, amassed some expert palates, and put them to the test.

2020: The Year In Beer – Victoria

It might have been a year to forget in many ways, yet there was still plenty to admire and celebrate in Victoria's beer scene in 2020. Join us as we try to make sense of the madness.

2020: The Year In Beer

Well, who saw that coming? We kick off our end of 2020 coverage with a look back at some of the biggest trends and standout moments of the past twelve months.

Getting Blind With Crafty: Non-Alcoholic Beer

For our first and only blind tasting of 2020, we went with a suitably 2020 lineup: non-alcoholic beers. They may well ruin the pun in the series title, but how do they stack up in front of our panel of industry experts?

Little Bang To Release 12,000 Hazy IPAs

Need more hazy IPA in your life? Then you're in luck as Adelaide's Little Bang are releasing 12,000 of them this December. We chatted to the lunatic behind the venture.

Total Eclipse Of The Hop

Seven years after the launch of Enigma, Hop Products Australia today unveil the latest` hop variety to graduate from their breeding program. Eclipse is a sibling of star pupil Galaxy set to bring a hit of mandarin to an IPA near you soon.

Brew & A: Five Barrel Brewing

From bushfires to COVID, closures, cans, quarantine and a Kiwi, it's been a full-on year at Wollongong's Five Barrel. As they launch their new look lineup, we chat to founder Phil and his new head brewer, imported via hotel quarantine from NZ.