Good Brews

Australian Hotel and Brewery

Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and the third most popular drink overall next to water and tea. Australia is well known for its high quality brews, ranking 4th internationally in terms of per capita consumption of beer. Australian Hotel and Brewery, though relatively young as a company, has established itself well within this market while maintaining success as a dynamic and innovative hotel.

Launched in 2010, Australian Brewery is one of the finest craft breweries in the country. The company is a brewery and family friendly hotel, well known for hosting special events. In an interview with Business in Focus, Neal Cameron, General Manager, shares some insight into the company’s success.

The large hotel provides space for up to three thousand people, not uncommon on a Thursday night. On weekends, up to a thousand meals are served in a single day. In only three years of operation, the brewery has expanded twice.

Integrated into the hotel is a large play area with slides and a ballpark. Because of this feature, “the parents can leave their kids to play and enjoy themselves,” says Neal. Children have their own dining room, a glass enclosed area that seats up to 80 and showcases an all-weather adventure playground and other activities. There is no doubt as to why Australian Brewery was voted the Best Family Friendly Hotel in NSW by the Australia Hotels Association.

For adults, there is the “Cool Room” theatre restaurant that hosts a range of events including famous guest DJs. Private booths are available. “We cater to a wide variety of functions from training seminars to workshops, engagement parties, fundraising and sporting events, to name but a few,” explains Neal.

The company is led by an all-star team. The restaurant’s executive chef has run several “Three Hat” restaurants – the highest ranking given to restaurants in Sydney. Neal, too, has extensive experience in leading brewery operations.

The Australian Brewery brand is export-oriented, even though domestic sales are strong. The craft brewery component of the business is integral to overall success. Neal explains that it took some time to find trustworthy distributors through Austrade. Exports began in Japan, and as success grew the company looked to Southeast Asia and India as potential markets.

“Our beer ambassador spent a week in India talking trade,” says Neal. “They got wildly excited about it. The national fruit in India is passion fruit, and the hops that we use in our pale ale is a very distinct passion fruit with a tropical fruit aroma… all the bottle shop owners and distributors just went nuts for it!”

Indeed, the largest distributor in India provided Australian Brewery with the experience and connections needed to ensure a successful partnership. Interest in Australian Brewery products grew substantially as the company was highlighted at various beer events.

Neal himself has a background in operations and supply chain management for very large and successful companies. He is well aware of demand management, which will support Australian Brewery in its effective and efficient expansion, and has led the company in its growth since its inception. At times, demand is even higher than the local production has capacity for.

“If we need to, we will put some of our sales out to contract brewing,” he shares. He spends a lot of time forecasting the future of the company and the market, thoughtful planning that ensures Australian Brewery expands carefully and sustainably.

The company aims to become one of Australia’s largest breweries. The current site is already vast and has Development Approval for an additional two thousand square metres. This further expansion will cover what is presently a car park. According to Neal, the infrastructure was always set up for expansion; if needed, the brew house could function six to seven times per day. Stainless steel would simply need to be added to hold all of the beer as it ferments and matures.

“We put our focus on and have spent a lot of money on our brewery, so technologically we are competent and have a good team of people,” Neal explains. “We have drinkable beer with a lot of flavour expression… when you drink our beers, you really feel those beautiful hop flavours and malt flavours coming through.”

Australian Brewery’s best selling product is the Pale Ale, a quintessentially Australian brew with Galaxy hops and tropical passion fruit aroma. The company is also known for its traditional German Pilsner that, as Neal says, “ends up winning all of the awards.” The company is expanding into seasonal brews and an amber ale is currently under development.

In collaboration with Feral Brewing Company in Swan Valley, WA, a new brew will be launched in the new year. Feral Brewing is highly acclaimed for its American Pale Ale. Other developments include creating a beer/sake hybrid with sake enzymes and yeast used to ferment beer. This is a trend growing in the United States, a pleasant brew which makes for a marketable hybrid product. Australian Brewery will be the first to manufacture it in Australia. There is only one sake brewery in all of Australia, and the companies already work closely together.

This spirit of constant innovation, openness to partnership and new ideas no doubt will lead Australian Brewery to an even more successful future. Paired with the many features of the hotel and restaurant, the company has become a landmark for the beer connoisseur and families alike.

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 9:23 AM AEDT