“Our commitment to quality is first and foremost. That’s always been our mantra from day one.”

Matt with wife and fellow founder Sharynne Wilson

Looking back at Moffat Beach Brewing’s repeat success over the last five or so years you’re tempted to think the Sunshine Coasters must have some secret elixir-like additive in the water up there that sends all beer judges in this country giddy at the knees.

But in all reality, the core reasons their co-founder Matt Wilson (who was head and shoulders above the pack when judging for this award closed) gives for their outstanding achievements are far from cloak and dagger and in fact fall back on the bedrocks that go into making good beer.

“We just make sure everything is done right, even the small things like keeping the place keen,” Matt told us. “If you were to walk through the brewhouse right now, even though we’re in the midst of a busy day, there’s not crap everywhere. It’s spotless.

“I had a brewer from another brewery in here at the weekend and he had a look inside our tanks and was like ‘oh shit, it’s spotless in there’. So no matter how basic that all sounds, it really matters with the end product.

“If you’ve got a clean brewery, you’re going to have clean beers.”

Serious brewing wisdom, from himself and his crack team of brewers, plus an unrelenting pursuit of quality all matter to Matt too. Let’s not forget any of that when trying to tell his and the brewery’s success story. But in conjunction it all makes up a formula that’s seen this family-run, feet-firmly-on-theground brewing company evolve from very humble beginnings into the most-awarded in the country currently. Heck, they’ve even got a page on their website dedicated to their trophy haul which just seems to scroll on and on. And even we had to share a chuckle here at Beer & Brewer when the votes for this award were tallied before someone exclaimed “well it wouldn’t be an Australian beer awards if Moffat Beach didn’t win at least something!”. And they were spot on.

Moffat Beach can now enter Matt’s latest achievement in a trophy cabinet that maybe only King Louis the XIV’s Palace of Versailles could match for silverware.

And to make a point of it, their achievements have come amid a backdrop where beer quality in this country markedly improves year-on-year and where we keep hearing from the organisers of Australia’s two biggest awards that they’re breaking submission entry records each time they’re held and more medals are being dished out than ever before. One of our judges – who judged at both the AIBA and Indies this year, where Moffat Beach once again shone amongst the brightest – said for a single brewery’s beers to repeatedly stand out from the crowd in these competitions is “truly remarkable”.

Moffat Beach came seemingly out of nowhere at the 2018 Indies (as surely one of the smallest breweries in the country at the time) to win the Champion Small Brewery and the hotly-contested Champion Session Beer (Social Jam) trophies. Despite the pandemic kicking off in early 2020, those first few accolades would lay the groundwork for the brewery to go on a multi-year run to rival that of Winx.

At The Indies and Royal Queensland competitions between 2020 and 2022 they would taste multiple individual trophy wins for the likes of their giant-killing Moff’s Summer Ale, Hazed & Confused and Trilogy Best Coast beers and would win Best Brewpub and Champion Brewery (in their class) categories too.

With AIBA success so far alluding them, that all changed in 2022 when Trilogy Best Coast stayed true-to-form by winning the Champion Traditional IPA trophy whilst their strong pale ale Shadow Of The Moon won the International Style Pale Ale category (it would back it up in 2023 too). With multiple golds and silvers won as well they snared the Champion Small Australian Brewery trophy to put a massive exclamation mark on their combined achievements to date.

With continued success at the AIBA, Indies and Royal Queensland this year, Moffat Beach can now lay claim to having achieved the “Grand Slam” of beer awards in this country back-to-back by winning the top brewery trophy for their size at all three competitions.

Matt said more basic principles were part of the reason why they had put themselves in the best position for award success.

“Before I enter any of the beers (in an award) I print off all the style guidelines and I sit and drink the beer again while I read, even though I know what it tastes like intimately already. It’s just to make sure that each beer gets entered into the right category.

“I also stay across any changes in competition categories so things are entered where they should be.

“The other thing is you’ve got to send fresh beer. We plan for these awards. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t, and awards are part of our marketing strategy. But in saying that, we don’t alter our production schedule for an award. We generally enter our core range (except maybe for their Deadbeat Boyfriend cream ale) and then whatever the specialty releases we have at the time. We also make sure that what we do send in comes off the packaging line feeling good you know – the fill levels are right and things like that. We don’t just send a random carton off.

“Our commitment to quality is first and foremost. That’s always been our mantra from day one.”

Going back to day one, things were rather more modest then than the award-munching, two brewpub-boasting brewery that they’ve become. Matt and his wife Sharynne opened the beachside cafe Blackwater Trading Co opposite Moffat Beach in 2012 and then added a 300-litre brew kit out the back in 2015. By 2016 they had transformed the café into Moffat Beach Brewing to become just the second brewpub operating in an area that can now claim to 21 breweries and counting.

“The one thing for us is we’ve always done things organically. It’s what works for us,” Matt said. “We started our brewing in 2015 but we didn’t commission a big production facility (at Caloundra) until 2020. We’ve done things as we could afford it. That’s just our way I suppose and we’ve learned a bit of hard graft along the way.”

What the judges said:

“Just when you think the trophy cabinet at Moffat Beach can’t get any fuller, in comes Matt and his team grabbing any award in their path and gaining the envy of brewers all across Australia – but in a nice way. Matt is extremely focussed on perfecting their beers and the trophies are proof that he does a bloody good job at it.”

“Consistently smashing it in the awards circuit. Great beer, humble attitude.”

“Matt’s ability to stay relevant and keep up-to-date with industry trends while continuing to make consistently high-quality beer in a range of styles is second-to-none.”

Previous winners:


You can view all of our 2023 Awards coverage here.

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