(l-r) Eric Crotty from Premier Stainless Systems with Pirate Life’s Jack and Red

A new craft beer is about to hit the pubs and bottle shops of Australia, but don’t search the shelves for a designer bottle, it’s coming your way in a can.

Owners Red and Jack, the brewers behind new venture Pirate Life in South Australia, go by a single name each and a different drum, but are all business when it comes to beer.

The pair, who upped stumps from West Australia last year, first met while learning their craft beer trade at BrewDog in Scotland. On returning to Australia, Red found himself as the chief brewer at Cheeky Monkey in Margaret River and Jack working at Little Creatures. It didn’t take too long to decide they should join forces and go it alone.

Knowing that the West Australian brew scene is quite crowded, they looked east and only had to cross the Nullarbor to find their perfect HQ.

“Adelaide is a great little city,” says Red. “And it’s in the middle of the country so we can dispatch our beer in any direction. We are geared toward national distribution.”

This ease of dispatch is also behind their decision to put their suds into cans.

“Cans are lighter to transport,” says Red of the 8.5kg weight of a carton of cans compared to 13.5kg for bottles. “That adds up quickly.”

“But first and foremost, cans are best for the beer because they limit light and oxygen exposure,” says Red. “And in any case, you should be pouring any beer into a glass.”

The duo have a nifty infographic explaining their love of the can (see below) – and there isn’t a bearded hipster in sight – which features everything from improved internal coatings that eliminate the metallic taste to the fact cans are easier to recycle and chill faster.

Pirate Life is brewing out of a 1,000m2 warehouse in Thebarton, on the edge of the Adelaide CBD, with three 25hL brewhouse vessels, a combined mash/lauter tun, and separate kettle and whirlpool.

“On the cold side of things,” says Red, “We’re starting off with two 25hL CCVs, four 50hL CCVs and one 50hL BBT with room to expand and add another 100hL BBT and eight 100hL CCVs.”

The pair plans to launch at the beginning of March with around 17,000 litres of packaged beer across three styles: 3.5% ABV session IPA, 5.4% ABV pale and an 8.8% ABV IIPA.

So far they have approached more than 30 pubs to stock their product and Red is confident that the tinnie “is making a comeback”.


Written by Jim Plouffe

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