Love Brisbane: Making a brew in Brisbane - Range Brewing - Visit Brisbane

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Love Brisbane: Making a brew in Brisbane - Range Brewing

Range Brewing Co-Founder Matt McIver distilled a discerning taste for craft beer into a booming Brisbane business.

Like most great ideas, childhood friends Matt McIver and Gerard Martin’s decision to launch a brewery occurred over a few beers.

The Toowoomba-raised duo were living in London in 2016 where Matt was immersed in the brewing scene as the brand manager for London Craft Beer Festival.

“We lived in East London where there are plenty of breweries and great craft beer bars where we did a lot of early scheming, researching and, of course, drinking,” Matt says.

“The vibe in the US, UK and European brewing scenes was very different to Australia in 2016, so we were inspired to bring a more modern approach to the craft beer brewing process and the beer styles we make.”

The idea was to distil their love and knowledge of modern craft beer-making styles and processes into new and experimental products with their friend and brewer, Mitch Pickford.

Range Brewing, named for the road leading into their hometown, opened in Newstead in May 2018 followed by a Melbourne taproom in November 2020.

Now on the eve of its fourth birthday, Range Brewing has experienced substantial growth, increasing its brewing capacity and expanding the warehouse space to make way for new fermentation tanks in the main brewery.

“It’s been pretty crazy how much we’ve grown, especially in the first three years, however 2020 and 2021 were very strange up-and-down years so we’re just coming into a period of consistency now,” Matt says.

During the pandemic while the taproom was closed to the public and the wholesale business was thrown into disarray due to interstate lockdowns, Range Brewing kept going with online sales and takeaway cans and pizza.

“Over half of our lifespan as an operating business has been during the pandemic, which seems crazy to think about,” Matt muses.

Particularly memorable was the brewery’s second birthday in May 2020 where the limited edition beer release resulted in a four-hour queue and sold out online within two minutes.

“We will never see anything like that again – it was a circumstance where Brisbane was in lockdown and the most exciting thing people could do that weekend was buying our birthday beers. We were very grateful for the support that day.”

“The main reason we were able to survive the pandemic and even grow is because of our regular and dedicated customers.”

After weathering the ups and downs of COVID restrictions, Range Brewing also sustained damage in the recent floods, which resulted in the five-day closure of the Newstead site.

“It was a major interruption that affected our business and morale and was a pretty stressful time for everyone,” Matt admits.

“It felt like one hit after another at that point and it is tough. Everyone in small business in Australia is putting on a brave face, but surely this year doesn’t have anything too much more tumultuous to throw at us.”

Matt notes that the unique camaraderie of the Brisbane beer scene, which is built on a collaborative culture of sharing ideas and knowledge, has Range Brewing looking forward to the future.

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“I enjoy being part of the Brisbane beer scene – the industry is still quite new up here, so it’s growing and people are growing with us.”

“We brew for the climate that we have in Brisbane with really fresh, sessionable tropical beers that people up here really enjoy. It’s such good beer-drinking weather up here.”

In the pipeline for Range Brewing includes new ventures such as hosting the inaugural Juicy Beer Festival on 9 July and growing their presence in the Queensland hospitality scene over the next few years.

“What makes the beer and hospitality industry thrive is people getting out and experiencing new and different things,” Matt says.

“We’re looking forward to the future of being back open, being able to put on events and travel and share our beer far and wide.”


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