What do you get when you cross a laidback Hawaiian brewmaster with a former Aussie Corporate Finance Lawyer? Burleigh Brewing Co. of course.
We sat down for a chat with the couple who pioneered a new era of craft brewing on the Coast.
It’s International Beer Day this Friday, will you be doing anything to celebrate?
Every day feels like International Beer Day for us! Our taphouse is open to the public every Friday evening and this week is no different – Live Music by Benny D. Williams, food by Wiener Haus and 24 taps of awesome local beer by Burleigh Brewing. Surely that beats ‘international beer’ any day of the week ;)
How long have you both lived on the Gold Coast?
I (Peta) grew up in Brissie, with the Gold Coast a bit of a second home. I moved here 28 years ago, then went on a bunch of overseas adventures (for about 8 years in total) and moved back permanently in 2002. I moved back at that point with a husband and 2 kids. The things you collect when travelling the world, hey! Brennan: Peta brought me to Burleigh Heads for a holiday in the late nineties … part of me decided at that point it was a place I could call home!
What made you decide to open the brewery here?
Burleigh provided the perfect location for us to bring our Burleigh Brewing vision to life - a village atmosphere and lifestyle in a region with 'big city infrastructure' to support our business goals, and a community to which we could contribute in a meaningful way - and, hopefully, become a treasured part of that community, adding to the overall fabric of Burleigh Heads and the broader Gold Coast. It also offered the opportunity for us to create jobs for people which would mean a very short commute, often on a bike, and time at the beginning / end of the day to enjoy their families and the amazing place where we all live!
Who comes up with the ideas for each of flavours of beer? More importantly, who comes up with their names?
Creating a new Burleigh brew is a team effort. They’ve all come from some kind of experience or adventure and in many ways, the names have come along as part of that process. Take My Wife’s Bitter for example. When we owned a brewery in Hawaii, we named a beer after each of our kids. Peta figured she also deserved a beer named in her honour. And so it was.
What do you love about our city?
The beauty, the energy, the people. We love that we are able to move between our property (with our horses) to our business to the kids’ school and the surf – all within a 15 minute radius. It makes for a pretty special lifestyle. Those of us who get to live and work in this city are a lucky bunch!
The Coast’s culture has changed so much over the last few years, how do you think BBC has contributed to that?
I suppose we could claim to have pioneered a new era in craft brewing on the Gold Coast – which has certainly been part of energizing and releasing the latent creative talent and culture here. And more than just brewing beer, our goal is to inspire others to live their passions too and celebrate ours with the beer we make! I believe that the creative, cultural undercurrent has existed for a long time here, but the maturing of the city in terms of infrastructure, transport etc has really enhanced the opportunities to bring it all to life.
How did you come to be here, tell me about your backgrounds?
It sounds like the start of a corny joke. What do you get when you cross a laid back, surf-loving Hawaiian brewmaster with an Aussie, former corporate finance lawyer? Our paths were certainly very different, but we’re pretty grateful that they crossed.
How did the brewery come about?
Brennan was born to brew! It’s the only real job he’s ever had and he’s as passionate today about the process of creating the perfect brew as he was the day he began. I had an equally strong passion – to create something that didn’t exist before. I didn’t know what it would look like, but I knew how it would feel. So I guess we are two people who came together to turn what we love into what we do.
What have you got coming up for the rest of the year?
There’s always something brewing in our world! New beers, new ways for people to experience our taphouse and our brewery, new ideas and new opportunities to enjoy them. Summer – and the lead up to it – is a pretty crazy time in a brewery. Crazy good.
Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Mum always told me that your nail polish should match your drink and that the toilet furthest from the door in the public loo is the cleanest. Not sure those gems have been the most useful. Dad was a bit more profound. There are no wrong decisions. Just make a decision. And then work like hell to prove it was the right one. Brennan likes to remind himself that the definition of an idiot is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.
Being a Gold Coast local we have to ask your Favourites:
Beach: Burleigh Heads
Café: Social Brew. It almost sounds like a brewery.
Restaurant: Anything that stocks a great range of independent beers!Weekend hang: Burleigh Point – or the fire pit in our back yard