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There are many ways of starting a new business. You can spend years carefully plotting every step, drawing up reams of business plans, running projections through computers, seeking advice from far and wide. Or you can decide that it’s time to let the head rule the heart and, to quote The Crafty Pint’s Aunty Valerie: “Follow your dream!”
Now, we’re not saying that no planning went into Simon Dunstone and wife Kate Henning’s decision to quit their well paying jobs and buy a brewery in a large shed in the 500 person town of Myponga. But listening to their tale, there’s a refreshing innocence to the adventure they’ve embarked on in the company of the three dogs after whom the Smiling Samoyed Brewery is named – especially in the very early days after they took over the reins of the former Myponga Brewery in November 2012.
“We didnât even know where to buy a keg of craft beer,” admits Simon. “So we rang up breweries that we’d been to and asked if we could have some.”
This being the craft beer world, the answer was, of course. “Yes.” And soon beers from Lobethal Bierhaus, the Steam Exchange in nearby Goolwa, and Brewboys were pouring alongside what little beer from the former brewery was deemed good enough to avoid the drain. Lobethal was the first beer to pour, which seems only right and proper as it was a visit to that brewery in the Adelaide Hills that set Simon on the path to becoming a brewer.
“We both developed a passion for craft beer since getting together,” says Simon. “I used to drink Coopers or James Squire Golden Ale then discovered this world of craft beer. Lobethal was a big moment for me. I thought, âThis is cool, Iâd like to do this one day.‘â
Now that they are doing it, working together on everything from brewing and packaging to running the bar and cooking pizzas (while studying brewing at Ballarat), the support from the SA beer community has remained strong. Simon was invited to showcase his beers and be part of the panel at our recent IPA Blind Tasting at The Wheaty (where his IPA polled fourth in the public vote ahead of big hitters like Feral and Little Creatures) while the brewer at McLaren Vale, just up the road in Willunga, has offered to store their grain if space becomes an issue.
There’s been family support too. Kate’s parents took over the freehold and lease the property to the couple, while Simon’s dad has used his carpentry skills to help them open up more of the former dairy farming warehouse, build new furniture and add seating to a deck overlooking the neighbouring reservoir.
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