Wednesday, 22 July 2020

LITTLE CREATURES BREWING - GEELONG

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Bellarine Peninsula
  • Tasting Room: 221 Swanston Street, Geelong
  • Food: Gourmet Pub/Pizza
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttps://littlecreatures.com.au/
There will be some who say Little Creatures doesn't belong in a wrap up of the Victorian craft beer scene. I'm here to say that it categorically does. Little Creatures is probably the greatest success story in Australian craft beer. Being based in Fremantle they were always faced with logistical issues around ensuring their beer arrived on the more populous east coast in great condition.

Little Creatures have always put quality first, it's one of the main reasons they've succeeded in this hypercompetitive industry. Instead of taking the easy route, they decided to invest in a second brewery in Victoria's second biggest city; Geelong, to supply the ever growing demand for their beers on the east coast.

For those of you who don't know the backstory, Little Creatures was founded by Howard Cearns, Nic Trimboli & Phil Sexton in 2000 through their business Little World Beverages. The trio had all worked together at Matilda Bay before it was sold to CUB. They started their brewery in an old crocodile farm in Fremantle, pioneered the American Pale Ale in Australia & quickly built a strong brand. In 2012 they took the decision to sell the brewery to Lion (owned by Kirin).

At this time plans were already afoot to open a brewery on the east coast. with the purchase of the Geelong location taking place in 2011. With the increased capital backing from Lion, the brewery was opened in 2013, at an estimated cost of $60m, & launched with a beer that would have a signifcant impact on the Australian beer market: Furphy. A beer brewed with 100% Victorian ingredients & sporting the states iconic Big V.

The Geelong brewery is housed in the old woolsheds in South Geelong (pictured above). It's a fantastic old set of buildings & has been developing into quite the complex in recent years. The site holds Furphy Hall, the White Rabbit Barrel Room & Little Creatures Canteen. The LC Canteen is a very Little Creatures space. Exposed warehouse ceiling, lots of wood, mismatched brightly coloured chairs & a bar in a shipping container. My favourite place to sit is in the beer garden before you enter the canteen, between two huge brick warehouses with the misting fans going in Summer.

Fastforward to 2020 & the brewery (along with the original Fremantle site) has been accreditted as carbon neutral. The Geelong brewery is covered in solar panels, which currently produce about 25% of the brewery's energy needs/ The Little Creatures team have ambitious plans to further reduce their carbon footprint by 2025, by relying on 100% renewable energy for their electricity needs. Little World Beverages has also gone onto bigger things, completing a takeover of American craft bohemoth New Belgium in 2019.


The Little Creatures story doesn't end with Geelong, the brewery now has outposts in the London, Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco & Auckland (& probably others that I'm missing!). It'll be interesting where the Little Creatures train rolls into next!

We all knew this beer had to be Furphy Refreshing Ale! It gets a bad rap in craft circles that it doesn't deserve. Losely based on a Kolsch, the beer has delicate biscuity malts with some fruity hops laid over the top. The hops aren't there to blow your socks off, simply to add moderate bitterness to the beer. It's well constructed & a great beer to have if you don't want to think about what you're drinking.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

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