Sydney-based craft brewery Akasha has announced it will be taking over the reins of celebrated Newcastle venue The Edwards in the regional city’s West End. Adding to the hospitality offering already in place, Akasha plans to build a brewery facility on site, capable of locally producing 100,000 litres annually of its hop-forward beers, many of which will be exclusive to the Newcastle venue.

The news follows the successful launch of The Barrel Room by Akasha in October on Leichhardt’s Norton Street in Sydney and their $1.7 million crowd fund back in August.

Founded by former Silverchair bassist Chris Joannou in 2014, The Edwards has garnered critical acclaim for its contributions to Newcastle’s food and hospitality scene.

Akasha founder Dave Padden said the move opens an exciting new chapter for the brewery, and that Newcastle – and The Edwards in particular – proved a natural fit for their brewery that was founded in 2015.

“We’ve always had a very strong following in Newcastle, and it always felt like a natural next location,” Dave said, who had been scouting possibilities in the area for some time when The Edwards opportunity became available.

“We were looking for a ground-up venue, but then I met Chris. When we first met and he walked us through The Edwards, we hit it off as we share very similar views on life and hospitality. It was all I imagined and better.

“We spent a lot of time and energy building a place that was based around all walks of life and communities,” Chris said of The Edwards’ place in Newcastle’s hospitality scene.

“We’ve built a loyal customer base, staff, and internal culture, and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Regarding the purchase of The Edwards by Akasha, Chris said that “having two entities come together, built upon very similar passions and beliefs, can only be a good thing”, and that he’s “looking forward to this next phase of The Edwards and Akasha building great things together in Newcastle”.

Of primary importance for both Dave and Chris is the continuation of The Edwards’ existing culture and community relationships.

“We’re buying it because we love it,” Dave said. “Not because we want to change it. We love the culture, the team, and everything about it, and are passionate about continuing and enhancing the existing local relationships The Edwards and Akasha have established.”

It’s a vote of confidence from Dave in the resurgence of Newcastle and its West End in particular, which has seen a marked increase in investment and development over the last few years.

Chris, who relocated to Coffs Harbour in recent years to spend more time with family, will remain closely involved during the transition period.

“I’m going to be sticking around and joining in on all things The Edwards,” he said.

“The venue will always hold a special place in my heart, and no doubt will always be in my life in some way.”

This is an edited version of a media release distributed by Akasha.

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