New venue to open as SmartBrew expands in Australia
By Andy Young
The Six Tanks Brewing Company in Darwin is opening soon and is the latest venue to incorporate the SmartBrew system into its space.
The SmartBrew system at Six Tanks in Darwin
The companyâ€¯was founded by Peter Toombs from DME Brewing Services, and Brian Watson, one of the world’s leading brewmasters. DME has designed manufactured and installed almost 1000 breweries around the world in the last 20 years. In Australia the system is distributed by Dickson’s Mill Distribution, and TheShout spoke to General Manager Andrew Danby about SmartBrew and its development in Australia.
So far the system is available in four venues, as well as Six Tanks there is Bankstown Sports Club in Western Sydney, Fritzenberger in Brisbane and Sir Chapel at the new Tramsheds in the Sydney suburb of Glebe.
Danby told TheShout: “We've concentrated on setting up these four venues and the good thing is they are all unique and it shows how the system can work well in different venues, There's Glebe, which is more about a restaurant, to Darwin which has a transient population of tourists and the miners; you've got the gaming aspect in Bankstown. We've got a number of people interested in the system, they just want to get into the venues and see the system and taste the beer.”
The Basement Brewhouse at Bankstown Sports Club
He added: “SmartBrew was designed on the basis that any bar or restaurant, hotel or club could actually have their own craft beer offering. It was designed so that it didn't take up a huge amount of space and it was designed so that it was fully automated, so it took a lot of the complexity out of having a microbrewery as such.
“From a visual perspective it gives consumers the perspective that they are inside a brewery, and you are. You can set up a set beer system within 10 square metres, but obviously the SmartBrew system allows for additional tanks and therefore a higher number of beers and ciders on tap.
“And one of the key things about SmartBrew is that you can actually pour directly from the tank to the tap. You don't have to keg everything off, but you can keg off in order to get higher rotations and additional SKUs. The beauty is that you can sit at the venue in Bankstown and drink a beer that has come straight from the tank into your glass.
“It's got a nice local story and while we create the base recipes they have the ability to do whatever they want when it comes to hops and yeast strains in order to create unique flavour profiles, they don't have to stick with what we give them.”
In terms of the beers the system can brew, there is a wide range, which Danby described as “endless”. While the Six Tanks Brewing Co is opening with Pale Ale, IPA, Amber Ale, Mid Strength Lager, Pilsner and an Apple Cider, further options are available. The team at Fritzenberger are brewing a passionfruit Kolsch, and they’ve also done a coffee IPA collaboration with their coffee producer.
Danby told TheShout: “We can train anyone to brew award-winning beers, but if you've got the right person with the right passion they can create some exciting beers in their own right.
“The options for different beer styles are what I would classify as endless. By buying a SmartBrew system you actually tap into Brian Watson and we become an extension of their team. So if a client comes to me and says 'I want to replicate a certain style of beer' or 'I want to create a certain style' then they have the ability to access Brian. We do the testing of probably a dozen different styles of beer through our test kit in New Zealand, once a week. So we are constantly refining and testing and doing new things.
“We've actually just set up an agreement with a company in Europe to give us access to German wheat-style beer, so we now have the ability to open those up to our clients. In short, whatever a client wants in terms of a beer style or flavour profile, we will do whatever we can to provide that for them.”
The SmartBrew system in Bankstown is part of a new craft beer bar opened at the Sports Club which features 30 different craft beer taps including the four that are tapped directly to the SmartBrew tanks. The Six Tanks Brewing Company is scheduled to open in Darwin’s Mitchel Street in the next week.