Melbourne’s Brick Lane Brewing has completed a major expansion that it says will deliver long-term sustainability whilst supporting “the growth of independent and craft beer in Australia”.

The $50 million expansion, which by Brick Lane’s calculations makes it the second largest independent brewery in Australia, sees their annual capacity increase to approximately 20 million litres to cover the production of their own beers as well as those it brews under contract.

Founder and managing director Paul Bowker said: “When we launched Brick Lane, we had a clear strategy of ensuring the business would be sustainable for the long term. This necessitated the design and construction of a brewery that incorporated globally leading technology, efficiency, flexibility and also scalability.

“The consolidation of independent breweries has largely been necessitated by successful breweries reaching a limit in terms of production capacity, with the next step requiring significant additional capital investment and a change to the business model. These breweries are then often folded into the international brewery network to continue their growth and long-term future.

“For some, this is a great option. For us, we want to have the flexibility to determine the path of our long-term future and with the significant support and investment of our shareholder group, as well as our success since launch, we have underwritten this strategy.”

National Liquor News recently had the pleasure of touring Brick Lane’s Dandenong brewery during the third and final phase of the expansion. Led by Bowker and head brewer Jon Seltin, it was easy to see just how much work has gone into the site and the importance of each change in the expansion.

Some of the final changes that were being completed at the time included the installation of a third fermentation cellar, comprising of ten 40,000 litre conical tanks and a new 100 hectolitre brewhouse to sit alongside the existing brewhouse.

“As part of the investment program surrounding the expansion, Brick Lane will continue to adopt world-leading technologies in yeast propagation, fermentation management, automated liquids handling, centrifugation, high-gravity brewing, thermal storage/energy recovery and key packaging. This ensures Brick Lane maintains world class quality, consistency, efficiency and flexibility for the production of all types of beer, sider, seltzers and other drinks.

“The technological and engineering advancements also focus on sustainability, reducing energy and water usage requirements, improving beer quality and eliminating the need to use non-renewable filtration aids. Currently in the process of applying for B-Corp certification, Brick Lane is also practicing closed loop recycling, sending spent grain to farmers to feed cattle.”

Bowker added: “Brick Lane will continue to invest in capacity and capabilities to not only build a long-term sustainable brewing business, but also support the growth of independent and craft beer in Australia. We look at Brick Lane as the home of brewing in Australia where everyone is welcome.”

Meanwhile, Brick Lane, alongside Heaps Normal and Sobah, have contributed to a significant takeaway from the recent GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers for 2021 with the respective brewery’s low and non-alcoholic craft beers making the list for the first time.

Heaps Normal’s Quiet XPA was the standout non-alc achiever by placing 20th while Sobah’s Pepperberry IPA ranked 69th ahead of Brick Lane’s sub-brand Sidewinder and its 1.1% ABV Hazy Pale Ale at 75.

Bowker said: “This year’s GABS 100 list is a perfect illustration of the beer industry embracing new markets and is a pivotal moment for our industry, cementing the arrival of no and low-alc beers. Clearly, Australians are making more conscious choices about their alcohol consumption and opening themselves up to a variety of beers that fit different occasions and lifestyles. We’re delighted that Brick Lane has established itself as Australia’s leading independent producer of beers in the no and low alcohol beer market, including seeing our Sidewinder brand appear in the GABs Hot 100 list, which is the first time any alcohol free beer has made the list.”

The original version of this story first appeared on our sister site National Liquor News. Subscribe to their newsletter here. You can hear more from Brick Lane’s Paul Bowker in the 2022 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum edition which is out next month. In the meantime, catch up with the latest issues here.

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