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Hawkers looks to crowdfund venue aspirations

Melbourne-based Hawkers Beer is set to transform its office space into a taproom within the next eight months and is opening up a crowdfunding account to help to finance it.

The brewery, which is located in Reservoir, Victoria, celebrates its fifth birthday on Wednesday 19 February.

It intends to covert its existing office space into a venue. The plan is already underway, with an intention to have the venue up and running within six to eight months.

“We’ll be converting the old office space, ripping it down, extending the offices and using the mezzanine as a tasting room,” Hawkers founder Mazen Hajjar tells Beer & Brewer. “People will be sitting and standing at eye-level with the brewhouse.

“It’s not going to be separated away from the people, so they’ll actually be able to feel and smell and hear all the noises. And be it’s a very inclusive kind of layout. We’ve also created a little space for education as well. So we can have people over and talk o them about the process of making beer and all that kind of stuff.”

The taproom is also something that fans of the brewery have been asking Hawkers to set up for some time.

“We have a cellar door, basically two fridges in the office that we call the cellar door,” continues Hajjar. “We were looking at our figures last year and the sheer volume of beer that we sold through the cellar door is just remarkable.

“We keep getting hunted by the locals going, ‘when are you going to open up? When are you going to up? When can I come and have a beer? When can I come and have a beer?’ So we gave in and gave up!

“We’ve been a production facility for ever and it’s very hard getting feedback from our consumers.

“Our feedback so far is only through social media. This is a great way for us to interact with our customers. Do some more special stuff, see how they go. Things like that.”

Hawkers also intends to install some more 40 hectolitre tanks in its brewery to allow the brewers to create more small batch beers.

“We’ll shuffle and play Tetrix with them. It will be exciting to try to put them and hopefully we’ll be able to put in a few more.”

The brewery is also about to launch an employee equity scheme, with 5% of the company on offer to staff members.

The brewery, which celebrates its fifth birthday on Wednesday 19 February, is also about to launch an employee equity scheme, with 5% of the company on offer to staff members.

“We’re sharing the company’s profit and journey with our staff,” says Mazen Hajjar. “We thought the other component in a successful business is the customer. So we thought we could build a sense of community and ownership from our loyal customers.”

The brewery has recruited a new team to handle the hospitality side of the business, which will have a food offer from food trucks initially.

“It’s very exciting for us,” continues Mazen Hajjar. “It’s a much bigger scale than normally people are used to. Secondly, for us it’s a departure into a new line of business. People think of brewpub as being a cohesive business. But the production of beer is very scientific, brewing manufacturing process. And hospitality is a completely different line.”

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