Love Shack Brewing is founded by ex-Stomping Ground brewers Harry Cox (left) and Conna Mallett. All photos credited to: Nellie Harris

Victoria will see in the New Year celebrating the launch of its newest craft beer brewery as Love Shack Brewing Company open their doors at the back of the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine on December 31.

Love Shack’s brewers and co-founders are Conna Mallett and Harry Cox who forged a friendship while working at Stomping Ground in Collingwood four years ago. Most recently, Conna was the lead brewer at Stomping Ground’s new brewpub at Melbourne Airport while Harry was with Hop Nation in Footscray after a period working at the old Mornington Peninsula Brewery.

“I have always loved Castlemine and when my family and I moved here, we saw so much potential in the town for a business like this, we just had to find the right site for it,” Conna said.

After looking at different places in Castlemaine, Conna bumped into Tim Heath – one of the owners of the heritage listed Theatre Royal.

“I told Tim what I was doing and he said they had an old shed out the back of the Theatre (and) ‘why don’t we do it there?’.

“Just like that Love Shack Brewing Company was born.

“That’s the great thing about Castlemaine, the locals have been so supportive and keen to help out.”

More than just an “old shed”, Love Shack is now home to a 6HL brewhouse and three 12HL fermentation tanks. There will also be a dedicated bar which will directly service the 300 capacity beer garden at the rear of the Theatre Royal. With further taps in the band room and main bar, punters can enjoy Love Shack brews in all areas of the venue.

“The best thing about the venue is that we will get heaps of different people though the doors, sampling our beers and giving us direct feedback,” Conna added.

“We both plan to work the bar so that we can have a chat with punters and educate them about the brewing process and our beers”.

Conna and Harry have big plans for the brewery and are already looking for a larger facility in the area to brew bulk beer while retaining the original site as their test brewhouse and bar.

With a packaged range set to be launched in mid-2021, Love Shack will have a core range on tap consisting of a Lager, Pale Ale and an IPA as well as a Summer Passionfruit and Pineapple Sour.

“We are installing a hand pump at the bar so will be experimenting with some English style Ales when Winter comes around and will release seasonal beers throughout the year,” Connor said.

Love Shack Brewing Company officially opens its doors on December 31st 2020 with a huge NYE party with Melbourne band The Murlocs launching the brewery into the New Year. The party will continue into the weekend with Mr Fritto’s Food Truck serving food in the beer garden.

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