By Andy Young, The Shout
Last Man Standing, the first beer to come from Last Man Standing Brewing, is a beer derived from the great Australian story of hard work, determination and a little bit of luck.
It’s an ethos that rings true for many Australians, and one many can relate to, but perhaps none more than one of the founders of LMS Brewing – Australia’s first Winter Olympic Gold Medallist Steven Bradbury.
Bradbury met brothers Damian and Stephen Prosser many years ago, through their father Roy Prosser, the former Wallaby who also worked for Carlton & United Breweries. They have stayed close friends over the years and it was four-to-five years ago when they first discussed the idea of making a beer.
Those conversations gradually became more serious and about 12 months the trio set about making the dream a reality and they took the somewhat unusual step of deciding to launch with a lager.
“When we set out, we chose a lager and that’s not the usual first step for most brewers,” says Damian. “There are so many great ales coming, we knew we wanted a full-flavoured lager that was easy to drink, and ultimately a brew that would help venues to sell a few more drinks.”
And while the trio knew what they wanted, it still took a long time to get the beer right.
“We engaged a number of head brewers that just didn’t quite understand what we were after,” Damian says.
“But then we came into contact with Ian Watson, the head brewer at Slipstream. He’s been in the industry a long time and is a bit of a guru. As soon as we had the conversation with Ian, we knew within the first 10 minutes that we were speaking to the right guy to create the recipe and the formula for our first brew.”
With the idea in place for the beer, Watson and the boys spent time making sure they had the recipe right and the style right.
“We started out wanting to create a really sessionable ale, but quickly changed our minds when we all agreed that the easiest drinking beer is a lager,” says Damian . “We decided to go with a full-flavoured Australian lager and luckily Ian really got on board with us.
“It took a long time to develop a beer that we were really proud of and it took plenty of time to get the recipe, flavour and brewing details right and it was a challenging process for all of us. The next challenge was to get the brand for our beer 100% right and we’ve landed on a brand that is sits slightly above your everyday mainstream brands, without going too far into the craft space either.”
In terms of building the brand, the effort that the boys had put in and the reward they got at the end of that, mirrored Bradbury’s story of hard work and perseverance ultimately paying off.
With Bradbury literally being the last man standing when he won his gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics, it was the perfect name for the first beer from LMS Brewing. “Doing a Bradbury” has become part of Australian culture; reflecting being there at the end, being rewarded for effort, commitment and self-belief.
“Mine is a well known story, but it really is only part of what makes our brand,” says Bradbury. “From finding the courage to establish a brewing business, to brewing a beer to be truly proud of, we know that creating great things takes time. Sometimes slow and steady can win the race.”
The team have also woven that thinking into its branding with the descriptor “Perfectly Paced Australian Lager”, the hare and tortoise on the label, along with the Greek letter Omega (widely used to reflect the final nature of things), and a horseshoe, because we all need a bit of luck.