👋🏻 Hey there, cheers 🍻 for taking the time to visit and read our story.
This post explains a little bit about Currumbin Valley Brewing, how it was started, some future plans and introduces our new branding.
Two mates, Luke Ronalds and Peter Wheldon, started Currumbin Valley Brewing back in September 2016 with plans to start brewing beer commercially as gypsy brewers. It’s been a fun-filled, challenging and fast paced journey since then.
Originally Luke and Pete met at the Gold Coast’s home brewing club, The Gold Club. Both sharing a passion for brewing (and consuming) well made hoppy beers, they both brewed some pilot batches of Double IPA, a style of beer that they both loved. At that time, DIPA wasn't readily available in the local market. A few tweaks to the original recipe and the result was what they considered to be the best example of a DIPA they had ever tasted. This beer would later be known as Look Out! It was their first commercial release and the first DIPA to be brewed by a Gold Coast brewery. It was a gutsy move to launch on such a volatile and high ABV beer. Never the less, they did it anyway.
Many gypsy brews later, during October 2017, Luke and Pete made the decision to build a small artisanal farmhouse brewery on Pete's farm. Pete had originally purchased the Currumbin Valley farm in 2013 with the dream of starting a brewery. The property is located in a rural environmental precinct with stunning views of the valley, backing onto lush rainforest which features a waterfall and its very own natural spring water source. An idyllic setting for a boutique brewery. The spring water is very soft, which is great for brewing beer. Pete has also dedicated part of the farm to growing an orchard that will grow ingredients to flavour CVB beers in the future. More about this in a later blog post.
What's Gypsy Brewing?
You might be thinking, what is this gypsy brewing you're speaking of? Gypsy brewing is a cost effective way to get started brewing commercially without the high capital cost of buying your own brewery. To be clear, it differs slightly from a contract brewer, who asks for a brewer to write them a recipe and pays the brewery to brew, cellar and package it for them. A gypsy brewer writes their own recipe, is present and active for brew day, part or all of the cellaring, quality control and is present for the packaging day once it is ready.
Our First Brew
It all started with our first brew and on the 7th October 2016 it was time to bring the dream to reality. We had both been mates with the boys from Black Hops Brewing and had been closely following their story of gypsy brewing through to opening their own brewery in Burleigh.
It was decided to finally brew their Double IPA which we had been pilot brewing for several months. The brew day went smoothly and we ended up with an 8.0% Double IPA that was loaded with hops and presented exactly as we expected. The boys still reminisce about this beer and how awesome it tasted to this day!
Props to Govsy at Black Hops Brewing for helping us to make that first batch of beer as well as it was. Made our dream a reality. Pete actually cried the first time he tried it, it was that good, true story.
Luke and Pete launched Look Out! on the Gold Coast at Lester & Earl and everyone loved it. Almost two kegs were finished of the first ever batch before the launch night wrapped up. That is quite exceptional for an 8% ABV beer. Look Out! drank so easily for a beer that strong, hence its namesake.
They also celebrated the following weekend with a Brisbane launch event with their good mates from Brewski to give their Brisbane family, friends and punters a taste. Luke and Pete were hooked, the support from the industry, family and friends was amazing. It was a highlight for them, to see everyone enjoying their beer, that they had made themselves as several pilot batches only a month before.
After their first batch of beer the boys really had the bug and continued to gypsy brew up until March 2018. The breweries that generously allowed them to gypsy brew were, Black Hops Brewing, Bacchus Brewing, 4 Hearts Brewing, Ballistic Beer, Lost Palms and Brisbane Brewing Co. During which time they released Look Out! (Double IPA), Local (Australian Pale Ale), The Alley (Session IPA), Breakfast Juice (New England IPA), Breakfast Juice 2.0 (NEIPA), Saison 2018 and Wizard's Stick (Kettle Sour with Strawberries & Kiwi Fruit).
Pete pounded pavement selling the beer and delivering it all around Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Northern Rivers of NSW. This gave them continued presence in the market and struck up long lasting relationships with venues. Luke and Pete made plenty of good mates in the industry and built up a small cult following.
Gypsy brewing allowed both Luke and Pete to experience a lot of different equipment configurations and work with around 6 different brewhouses, two of which were manufactured in China from a supplier they were considering purchasing from. This insight was invaluable to see how different systems performed and greatly helped with the future planning and the next steps they would take the business.
Our Farmhouse Brewery
At the end of September 2017, after looking for sites in the local area without any luck, the decision was made to build their own brewery on Pete's farm. Luke ordered the cellar equipment from Tiantai in China, which included 2 x 12 hL fermenters, 2 x 12hL brite tanks (one of which we plan to use as a fruiting tank), auger and mill, 6 head semi-automatic bottling line and loads of accessories for the brew house build, but no actual brewhouse.
It's exciting for Luke and Pete to announce that they indeed finished the build stage of their brewery in late September 2018, just shy of 6 months after they started the brewery's construction. 2 years after they began their dream to brew commercially. They brewed their first beer, Local, on the 2nd October 2018 and it was very well received in venues on the Gold Coast and Brisbane just a few weeks later.
We have a lot of stories derived from the brewery build that we're excited to share in the near future. We'll be sharing some details of how exactly we built our brewhouse and our experience buying our cellar equipment from China. Keep an eye out here on our web site to stay up to date.
Now, you might be asking, what's next?
Luke and Pete have a few plans and our direction for the brewery is to focus on high quality, hand made, clean beers including some of the more extreme beers (like Look Out!), kettle sours (like Wizard's Stick) and barrel-aged sours and ales that Luke and Pete have been busy brewing pilot batches for. They’re excited for their brewing future and keen to be blending barrel aged sours in due course. There are plans that include, capturing wild yeast from the farm as well as (though not strictly limited to) using native ingredients and flavours sourced locally and grown on site. More about this to come later too!
A New Look
During the course of building the brewery the decision was made to re-brand the company’s logo and prepare for future packaging designs. After searching both locally and overseas, Luke discovered FatFace Studio in Brazil and the boys decided to work with Luiz and Bernardo along with illustrator Pedro Correa. Check out their awesome work at @fatfacestudio and Pedro's work at @pedrocorrea84 and https://www.pedrocorrea.com/.
The main drawcard for working with these guys was the incredibly detailed illustration work and portfolio that Pedro presented. However, Luiz and Bernardo are great guys, very professional and they had already done some great work in the craft beer industry.
It is also worthy to note, that it is very hard to find talented designers and especially illustrators that are actually available and not booked out for the foreseeable future. Luke had contacted many designers, some that specialised and had worked with some big US craft beer labels and most were not available for the following 12-18 months. The decision then became easy. Plus everyone knows how chilled out the Brazilians are to work with. These guys are no exception.
Long story short, this entire post was set out to introduce our new branding, so let's get to that and you can check it out below.