Fans of 3 Ravens in WA, where the brewery has enjoyed much awards success, soon won’t have to travel far to enjoy their beers as they're working on plans for a second home in Perth. Head brewer Brendan O’Sullivan says the location was a natural choice given he grew up in Western Australia, and the state is also where a lot of the brewery team calls home.
“For us, it’s a bit of a homecoming,” he told The Crafty Pint. “Perth’s a home for me and growing up there it was the home of Australian craft beer – it’s where Sail & Anchor and Matilda Bay kicked off.”
Having started out as a homebrewer while still living in the west, he’s maintained close connections with many in the industry there, and while they already have a presence in the market there, sending beer across the country has price and emissions impacts.
“From a sustainability perspective, it’s one of the hardest places for us to get beer," Brendan (arm raised in the centre of the photo above) says, "given the amount of fuel that goes into shipping beer around the country.”
Melbourne’s oldest independent brewery is no stranger to success in the state either: 3 Ravens took out Champion Beer and Champion Small Brewery at the 2019 Perth Royal Beer Awards and have collected trophies in other years too. Brendan says he always takes a lot of pride in those wins, and believes craft beer drinkers in the state have a good understanding of the myriad beer styles they make.
“One thing that also attracts me is the level of experience and knowledge in the pointy edge,” he says. “It’s a very mature market and you can sell any style really; there’s an appreciation of everything, which is a philosophy we really embrace.”
For now, they’re keeping their intended location in Perth under wraps while waiting for council approval but hope to have the venue up and running between November and this time next year.
As for what drinkers can expect, general manager Nathan Liascos (above second from left) says: “It’s still in the concept phase but we definitely plan on bringing the 3 Ravens flavour to the venue – offering an exciting hospitality experience with an amazing vibe and a unique and delicious booze, food and music lineup.”
They don’t intend to stop at just one new home either.
“We’ve had steady organic growth for the last 18 years, but I think it’s just now time we became a bigger player and look to become a sustainability leader in the industry,” Nathan says as the brewery announces an equity crowdfunding campaign via Birchal.
“It allows us to raise funds to help us achieve our ambitions, while also building a community of co-owners that are as passionate about our beers, the industry, and the planet as we are.”
Their campaign comes hot on the heels of those from other established breweries, including Bridge Road Brewers, who raised almost $1.5 million, and Akasha, whose campaign brought in close to $1.7 million, in the past few weeks alone.
As well as helping fund their expansion interstate, 3 Ravens plan to update the Thornbury site has been their home since the brewery launched in 2003. This includes installing a kitchen, revamping the hospitality space, and upgrading and modernising their production capability to double their capacity over the next 18 months.
The upgrades will increase the amount of beer they can brew, but Brendan says their focus will remain on exploring new beer styles, ingredients and developing their impressive barrel-aged program.
“This site will always be focused on new product development and innovation,” he says. “That will never change and we won’t be particularly geared towards high production volumes.”
Part of the modernisation includes a range of sustainability initiatives, building upon some they've already implemented. This includes installing a 74-kilowatt solar system and a cool roof to help lower the overall temperature of the 3 Ravens home.
Having received $300,000 funding in total from the Federal Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund and the Victorian government’s Small Scale Craft Grant, the brewery’s CO2 chiller heat pump system is set to be up and running by the year’s end. The technology will enable the brewery to take heat from the brewing process that would otherwise be wasted and re-utilise it in other parts of the brewery, including heating or cooling their upstairs co-working space and bar.
“It’s a means of linking processes together throughout the business,” Brendan says, “so that any heating or cooling can utilise one another to minimise any demand from us from the grid.”
It will also see them cut their energy consumption by more than 70 percent and it's something they want to roll out in future homes too. While Brendan says the technology isn’t new, it is being freshly applied across a range of industries.
“This is about finding ways to make small-scale brewing more efficient and sustainable,” he says. “It’s something we’re really passionate about and hopefully we can share some of the learnings and technology with other small breweries.”
Their desire to cut their own emissions as a brewery was a key focus of the 3 Ravens crew when they went through their business priorities ahead of their 2018 rebrand, and Nathan hopes to see others join them on that mission.
“Really, we’re not going to have a planet to drink good beer on if we don’t make changes now,” he says.
Expressions of interest f the 3 Ravens crowdfund opens today – details here.
It's not the only announcement of a new brewery venue for Perth – read our article about the ambitious plans for FOUND. here.