The Craft & Co story began with the creation of a small brewery, bar, restaurant and, a little later, distillery on Collingwood’s bustling Smith Street, but walk inside their Preston home and the first thing you’ll notice is just how big it is. So big in fact, it’s hard to pinpoint the spot at which it ends.
Located on Chifley Drive, the expansive factory space houses both a 40-hectolitre brewhouse and an 850-litre distillery, while the floor is both a hive of activity and filled with barrels and the ingredients needed for their ever-expanding range of beverages.
Indeed, the sheer scale and size of the Preston production facility and taproom makes one thing clear as soon as you walk in the door: The Craft & Co may have faced capacity constraints in the past and they don’t intend to do so any time soon.
The brewhouse has been custom-designed to make both beer and dark spirits, both of which can be sampled – alongside much else – within the four walls too. The Preston site was selected for its size and scope as a production facility, but it also acts as a local watering hole. In a sign that the world north of Bell Street is moving ever closer to resembling the suburbs to its south, it’s been acting as a taproom ever since opening to the public in early 2023.
You’ll find eight taps rotating through different beers, with wine, gin, whisky and other spirits as much of a focus. To encourage exploration, all Craft & Co beers are priced the same, while you can also work your way through a mixture of paddles, cocktails and wines. It also acts as a bottleshop with their array of beverages available to take home.
It’s been set up as a space for all-comers too, rather than those just wanting to catch up with mates over a drink, or try something new over the bar. Shared tables, pinball machines and table tennis can be found beside the barrels, making it a welcome retreat for families and large groups, As such, you’re as likely to encounter a group of tradies enjoying a knock-off alongside a couple on a cycling mission to explore the area’s breweries and taproom, seated adjacent to a family with their dog and kids in tow.
If you’ve got a hunger that needs sating, food comes courtesy of Preston’s much-loved Noi Pizzeria. They’ve built up a cult following for their hand-stretched, woodfired pizzas and whenever the brewery is open to the public, Noi will be there.
Add in live music – a frequent sight on weekends – and, fundamentally, The Craft & Co Preston is aiming to offer something for everyone, bringing the experience gained from combining brewing, distilling and hospo under one roof to a new home, one that swapped a corner spot on Smith Street for the heart of an industrial zone.