The Stone & Wood story is one of the most remarkable in Australian craft beer.
It’s less than five years since three mates decided to turn their back on the corporate beer world and literally live the dream. Brad Rogers, Jamie Cook, and Ross Jurisich headed to one of the most beautiful parts of Australia to make beer for themselves. And soon, through a combination of brewing wisdom, sharp business minds, marketing nous and the ability to design beers that people want to drink then drink again and again and again, Stone & Wood became a name that was capturing the attention of those well beyond the craft beer world.
Above all, however, the brewery’s rapid growth can be tied to the Pacific Ale, beer whose success is a genuine phenomenon, especially when you remember that it was originally called the Draught Ale and was designed to be sold only in draught form within a few kilometres of the source in Byron Bay. It has proved so popular that they have struggled to keep up with demand, with a knock on effect on their ability to brew enough of the other beers in their permanent and seasonal ranges.
The constant expansion of their brewery is well documented â both in terms of stainless steel and staffing â and has now led them to secure a new site approximately 40 kilometres from their current home at Murwillumbah, just south of the Queensland border, where they will install a new, larger brewery later this year.
“It has got to the point where we are unable to put any more tanks into the space,” says Jamie. “The current one will be scaled back [and have a] short run, limited release focus.
“We have learned the hard way that you can run out of space pretty quickly in a shed.”
At the new brewery in the Northern Rivers region they will install a DME system similar to the one they currently use, but twice the size. Many of the larger tanks currently at Byron Bay will be moved north later in the year too, to a space that is large enough to handle further significant expansion. A new bottling line has been ordered, while Brad is not long back from a trip to the UK and Germany that included a stop in Freiburg, Bavaria, to visit the makers of their new filler, which fans will be delighted to hear is able to package Pacific 12 times faster than the current one.
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