Introducing Thunder Road’s entry to the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular: Richmond Pilsner! Come and check it out at The Royal Exhibition Building Carlton, 11 – 13 May. More details on this great beer lover’s event at http://www.thelocal.com.au/gabs/
Meet Richmond Pilsner!
Spectapular: Richmond Pilsner!
It’s all about great beer! “There’s no doubt there’s a newer generation of drinkers who want value for money – not just low-priced beer.” Melbourne’s Herald Sun profiles Thunder Road in this article by Neil Wilson.
THE major brewers offer Coles and Woolworths a poor return on their products, leaving a crucial opening in the market for independent brewers.
And the “craft” brewing industry has the potential to grow dramatically and employ thousands more, according to a brewer who is part of a new wave of players in the nation’s beer market.
Thunder Road Brewery founder Phil Withers says craft brewing will grow in Victoria at the expense of big brewers if it taps into the mainstream beer market by offering a better alternative.But it must engage with the retail giants and offer a competitive price to win more shelf space, he says.
Mr Withers has firm ambitions for Thunder Road, which began producing a pale ale in the traditional Australian lager style last June.
He says it is a calculated ploy to convince drinkers they can buy better beers than the standard commercial products.
Mr Withers is a Melburnian who built a multi-million dollar fortune making and selling resealable bags and cling wraps to major retail chains worldwide.
He extended into environmental cleaning products and now claims to be breaking new ground with a local beer that’s unpasteurised – so it must stay cold and be consumed relatively quickly.
He argues that this enhances the taste.
His $6 million investment in water filtration, tanks, lines, brewroom and laboratory is designed to ensure industrial-scale consistency.
Mr Withers says adequate capitalisation, product reliability and marketing are crucial to the success of small brewers.
“You can talk about ‘craft’ brewing but passion alone won’t make it happen,” he says. “It has to be driven by scientific quality, investment and rational economics.”
Thunder Road is in Brunswick near another craft brewery, Ron and Renata Feruglio’s Temple brewhouse.
Mr Withers says craft brewers need access to taps tied up in pubs by the foreign-owned brewers – Foster’s and Lion – to be competitive. Thunder Road has about 100 taps in Melbourne and is yet to start packaging beer.
He claims the major two brewers offer Coles or Woolworths a poor return for each square metre of floorspace.
Independents have an opportunity to break into the market through chains owned by Woolworths and Coles, such as Dan Murphy’s and First Choice, he says.
“We see ourselves as a competitor to big brewers, not a niche player, and we want to go all the way. - Melbourne Herald Sun, April 10, 2012
Thunder Road Open House!
Sunday, May 13th – Families, regular beer lovers and impossible to satisfy extreme beer geeks welcome! Join us for brewery tours, The Great Australian Curry Competition, kids entertainment, food and beer matching courses plus the return of Marcus’ Home Made Lemonade! Also, a limited release of XXX IPA! Limited numbers, so first in, best dressed! 11 am – 7 pm, free entry.
Thunder Road Launches Shamrock Dark Lager
Thunder Road Brewing Co Launches Shamrock Dark Lager in honour of St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday 17 March, we’ve inaugurated our new pilot brew system with a special Limited Edition “Shamrock” Dark Lager.Read more.
Thunder Road Brewing Co Launches Shamrock Dark Lager in honour of St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday 17 March, we’ve inaugurated our new pilot brew system with a special Limited Edition “Shamrock” Dark Lager.
This special brew is named after one of Australia’s finest brewers of the late 1800’s, The Shamrock Brewing & Malting Co., which was based in East Collingwood on the Yarra River.
So this St. Paddy’s, join us in celebrating an icon of Australian brewing history as you raise a glass with family and friends.
We’d also like to thank Crafty Pint’s James Smith who joined our brew team when we created our Shamrock Dark Larger. His brewing exploits will be posted in a short video documentary later this week on www.craftypint.com.
History is a mirror into the future
The lesson with this beer is simple: don’t be afraid of the dark! Great session beers don’t always have to be light in colour and this classic dark lager style demonstrates excellent drinkability and a rich hue.
Thunder Road Shamrock Dark Larger will be on tap at Beer Deluxe in Federation Square during the Victorian MicroBrew Showcase this Wednesday and Thursday 14th and 15th March 2012.
And be warned: this is a VERY limited, small quantity release so come to Beer De Lux while it’s on tap!
Author Andrew T . T. Bailey also got into the St. Patrick’s spirit and sent us an abridged history of Australia’s Victorian Shamrock Brewery from his forthcoming book. Pouring Down a Slab, The Foundation of Brewing in Victoria, Vol. 1., will be released in 2012 after more than 20 years research and dedication to unravelling the mysteries of Victorian brewing history.
THE SHAMROCK BREWERY (Abridged) Andrew T. T. Bailey
Like many successful Melbourne breweries of the 19th-century, the Shamrock sprouted from humble beginnings. There were several small breweries on the banks of Yarra River at the bottom end of Victoria Street in Abbotsford by the early 1860s. One of these, a little wooden building situated a short distance west of Walmer Street, would defy the odds and become a household name. It had several incarnations before anyone could make a go of it. Information on early proprietors is scant and vague. As for possibilities, Gray and Robinson’s Brick Lane Brewery and Edwin Ware’s Britannia Brewery are among the candidates.
The title Simpson’s Road Brewery was adopted some time after John Jones’ brewery of that name, a few hundred yards to the east, closed down around 1862. In September 1864, Thomas Graham, who resided next door at Ferry Lodge, purchased the vacant and dilapidated little brewery. He sold a five-lease to Robert Murcutt. Murcutt had previously run the Phoenix Brewery (that later became the famed Carlton Brewery) in Carlton, where he had gone broke. Although he would survive less than a year at Simpson’s Road, his decision to move there was critical to its success. The reason for this, apart from the fact he knew how to coordinate the installation of the plant and was an experienced operator, was that he had brought some of his staff from the Phoenix Brewery to work for him. These included the traveller Thomas Wright McDougall and the clerk, Henry Collis Boyd.
Boyd had been with Murcutt for six months at the Phoenix Brewery and was clearly an asset to the business. His father was a miller and brewer at Limerick on the Shannon River in Ireland’s west, and it became apparent Boyd was suited to employment in that trade. During the year improvements were made to the brewery. The place was modernised and capacity increased to 300-400 hogsheads. A 7-horsepower engine was installed to power the plant. Graham gave Murcutt a mortgage over the lease, which was a common arrangement that enabled brewers to have cash to buy materials and operate. Unfortunately it proved a downfall for many, as they overspent and returns weren’t good enough to meet the interest payments. This was the case here, and Graham was forced to put the place on the market to recover his money.
Murcutt’s Brewery, as it was known, was auctioned in April 1866. Bidding was spirited, but Graham considered the place was worth more than was being offered and bought it for £620, paying another £280 for the lease. Graham had faith in Boyd, and although there was no formal partnership, suggested that they carry on the brewery together. For the next five years Graham, through the efforts of his trusty manager-slash-brewer Boyd, and traveller Francis Head, turned the Simpson’s Road Brewery into a very successful concern. They brewed XXX and XXXX ales, the latter of which had an alcohol content of 7.8% by volume!
Graham died in 1871, a very wealthy man with an estate worth £50,000 plus. His wife Mary took over and gave a share of the business to Boyd and Head on account of their long and dedicated service to her late husband. Unfortunately, due to relatives contesting possession of the property, complications arose and the brewery was put in the hands of trustees. It remained so for three years, during which time Henry Shaw (the receiver in the estate) under the Management of Charles D. Forbes ran the business. During this period Boyd and Head moved to a brewery in Webb Street Fitzroy, which they christened with the pretty name of the Shamrock Brewery. They flourished and were able to purchase the Simpson’s Road Brewery premises from the trustees for £6,400 late in 1873. They brought the Shamrock name with them. The brewery was a huge success. By the mid 1880s the ground area had increased to three acres and the plant and cellarage doubled. Shamrock ale was known throughout the colony.
In March 1887 Francis Head sold his share to Boyd for £5750, and six months later the Shamrock Brewing and Malting Company (Collingwood) Limited was floated to purchase the place. Henry Boyd stayed on as manager guiding the business to further celebrity.
In 1892 the company made massive improvements to the buildings, and production increased dramatically. The attractive polychrome brick structure made a striking impact against the picturesque tree-lined backdrop of the Yarra. Shamrock was a well-patronised and loved Melbourne brew. Bottled beer was the Company’s mainstay and their flagship brand was Shamrock Pale Ale. By the early 1900s other beers included Pilot Pale Bitter Ale, Shamrock Extra Brown Stout and Anchor Extra Malt Stout. The Shamrock was one of the few paying concerns during the financial crisis of the early 1890s.
Henry Boyd died in 1904 and his son, Charles J. Kingsley, took the helm. Following in his father’s footsteps, he ran the place accordingly. In May 1907 the Shamrock amalgamated with five other breweries to form Carlton and United Breweries Proprietary Limited. Unfortunately due to corporate rationalisation it was made redundant. Brewing ceased around September 1907, depriving Melbourne beer drinkers of one of their much-loved beers. The plant was sold off the following December and the premises were offered for lease.
Nycander and Company converted the buildings into the first yeast-cultivating factory in Australia in 1909. Oscar Nycander bought the freehold in 1932 and continued to make yeast and the celebrated Skipping Girl Vinegar. Their famous sign depicting skipping girl, “Little Audrey”, was erected in 1936 and became a Melbourne landmark. Sadly, as with many iconic Victorian structures in Melbourne, the picturesque buildings were thoughtlessly demolished in 1968. ©2012 Andrew T. T. Bailey
Where you can find Full Steam around Melbourne
The venues so far…
Baden Powell Hotel
Blackhearts & Sparrows Wine
Blue Train Cafe
Cherry Tree Hotel
Chifley Doveton Hotel
Kellys Bar and Kitchen
Morning Star Hotel
The Prince Albert Hotel
Town Hall Hotel
The Birmingham Hotel
The Deanery Enterprises
The Fox Hotel
The Tramway Hotel
The Toff in Town
The Tramway Hotel
Town Hall Hotel
Young and Jackson
THUNDER ROAD FAMILY DAY AT THE BREWERY 30TH OCTOBER
On Sunday 30th October you can enjoy the Thunder Road Family Day at the Brewery. Anyone can attend. And if you live in Brunswick, priority entry is provided.
10:00 am to 6:00 am
We are restricted to 200 people at anyone time but don’t worry, we are open from 10.00am till 6.00pm all day. Expect quite a treat. Brewery tours are on the hour, BBQ Sizzle is all day and Australia’s first BBQ sauce off competition will. That’s right. Brunswick’s best pubs and cafes are bringing their very own sauces made with TRB’s new Brunswick Bitter Ale. Who wins the trophy? You vote, you decide! Its a family day so bring the kids. Face painting, magicians and lots more will keep the little darlings busy, while you can sip a beer. Marcus has even prepared the very first TRB HOMEMADE LEMONADE…for all you non-drinkers and the kids. And everything is open including the TRB Shop. You’ll also have a chance sign up to THE TRB FAN CLUB which will give you and your family event, beer, brewing and other privileges on an annual basis.
THUNDER ROAD SPONSORS THE SOUTHERN CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE RACE
If you are into vintage bikes, check out in Broadford on Saturday 29th/30th THE HISTORIC MOTORCYCLE RACING ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA’S SOUTHERN CLASSIC 2011 read more for all the details.
The Southern Classic celebrates its 30th year and is being held at the State Motorcycle Complex Broadford, the complex is situated approximately 2klm East of the Broadford township on the Strath Creek Road.
Racing starts at 9am on Saturday & Sunday.
Camping and catering is available all weekend, with a live band Saturday night.
For more information contact the Historic Motorcycle Racing Association of Victoria:
www.hmrav.org or 9888 4387
SCREAM TIME ACTION BEER HURRY
First beer now going in the market SCREAM TIME. Action Beer. Its a Limited Release. 50 kegs only. Is it a lager ? Is it an ale???? Who cares. It’s an Action Beer.
Taste the beer at the Great Beer Debate this Saturday Ormond Hall. Soon after at Josie Bones Collingwood, the Great Northern Carlton, Cherry Tree Richmond, Beer Deluxe Fed Square, Terminus Hotel Clifton Hill… more to come.
Take away Growlers… Be quick!
OUR BEERS ON TAP JUNE 1ST
The first batches of Thunder Road Brewing Company beers will be kegged by mid May. Limited availability at selected bars from 1st June.
And surprise surprise, the first beer is …….an ALE!
Scream Time Action Beer will speak for itself. Want to know more about this great beer, get in the queue and bang on the door at the following venues
Josie Bones, Beer Deluxe, Great Northern, Cherry tree Hotel
TRB LAUNCHES COLD DELIVERY… LIKE NO OTHER!
Thanks for all the kind messages about our delivery fleet project. For the few of you who have not logged onto our face book, we saved a 1949 English Fordsen Delivery van from the scrap heap.
Adeptly named Gordon, we gave him a new heart, a serious face lift and lots of TLC ala TRB treatment. A work of art to some, a work horse to us. Gordon is the mascot of our future fleet and new beer ambassador. Come and met Gordon at select venues. He’s kind of cute!
At last, a simple and but clear guide that answers all your questions about beer and food. What’s good beer? And how do l pair great food with good beer? Simply click on each page and enjoy!
If you live in Australia, if you are young and money is tight, cheap beer is typically the brand of choice. You might spend a few dollars on VB or Tooheys New or even a bit extra on Corona. In the USA, you are likely to drop a few dollars on Coors or a Budweiser. Let’s face it. You know this stuff is not “craft” beer.
The Grafton Brewery was incorporated in March 1949 as a private company and construction started in September 1950, completed in 1952. Grafton Lager was the first beer and sales started in December that year.
Before the use of bottles became a widespread way to package beer (especially after the use of pasteurization in the mid-1800′s), if you wanted to take beer home from the pub, it was usually offered in a growler, which was typically an open top, galvanized pail.