Who watches TV any more? Get your 22-minute episode fix with Aussie Beer Voyage. (DISCLAIMER: Episodes may not be exactly 22 minutes. It's not an NBC sitcom from the 90s.)
This YouTube show and podcast is the creation of Adam "Adsy" Schell and Joel Thomas, who became friends when they both worked at Helios Brewing in Brisbane: Joel on the marketing side, Adsy as sales manager. While there, they worked together on a bunch of video content for the brewery.
“Joel loves videoing, and I love just talking,” Adsy says. “Doesn’t even have to be on camera!”
When Adsy (pictured above with Marie-Anne Constantin from Konvoy) moved on from Helios, the two knew it wasn’t the end for them in terms of making videos together. They had such simpatico that they eventually came up with the idea for Aussie Beer Voyage; the way they describe it, they "pitched the concept to each other."
Having seen that there were plenty of podcasts about beer in Australia but not much video content, they decided to make the kind of series they’d want to watch: something that covers the Aussie beer scene and plays like a TV episode.
Each Voyage sees Adsy sitting down for a chat with someone in the beer industry: a brewer, hop farmer, supplier – if you stay tuned, you might even see an episode about a beer writer. Between the show’s polished intro and closing credits, its background music and establishing shots and overlaid footage, it feels something like a cross between a travel show and a talk show.
Joel says: “We release it at two-thirty on a Sunday arvo with the hope that people can sit down, have some chill drinks, you can stream it up on the TV and just watch it like a TV show. Or have it on in the background, sort of tune in and out a little bit as you go, [while you] have a chat with a mate that loves beer.
“There’s not many beer TV shows.”
Since the beginning of 2023, Adsy and Joel have released a new episode of ABV each fortnight, both as a video on YouTube and as audio on podcast platforms. They somehow keep that schedule going within the busyness of their lives: Adsy works full-time as a beer ambassador for Catchment Brewing, while Joel juggles his work for Helios, photography and videography freelance gigs, as well as a passion project filming military aircraft for an aviation website.
They’re quite the duo, each bringing a variety of skills to the table.
“Between the two of us, we tick a lot of the boxes that would maybe take several people: Adsy can do the website, he can do talking on camera, he knows a lot of people; I can do the video, the photos, edit it all together, do the social media. Between us we cover all the bases, really.”
Or as Adsy puts it: “I don't mind being in front of the camera. Joel doesn't either, but I don't know how to use all these cameras!”
Despite their seamless yin-and-yang dynamic, the two have to expend a lot of effort to create and market each webisode, from the time and cost of getting out and filming the content to the extensive editing process. There are things that help, such as the sponsorship they received from Konvoy and Bintani Australia even before they released their first episode, and things that hinder, such as Adsy’s scooter accident that resulted in a broken jaw among other injuries.
So why do they do it? For the steadily growing list of YouTube subscribers? For the free beers? For the glory of being recognised at GABS in their self-made ABV t-shirts?
“We like hanging out with each other,” Joel says. “At the end of it, we sit down, have a beer, have a chat, and that ultimately is the main reason.”
So let's get to know Adsy and Joel for our Podcast People series. (ABV is primarily video content, but it can also be accessed as a podcast, so it totally still counts for Podcast People.)
Aussie Beer Voyage
What’s the story behind the name?
Joel was the one who came up with it. He wanted to use an abbreviation that is common in the beer world, and we started with that first and then found words to fit it. ABV was born.
How would you describe the style of your show?
We aim to just get into conversations a little differently than some other podcasts by talking to many industry players within and on the fringes of beer. It’s a really broad scope of who is around beer that sometimes never get their story out.
The video also provides the visual element to those who wish to see what we're discussing in an episode. We'll endeavour to find and shoot suitable overlay vision to place over certain parts of the chat, to highlight what our guest is discussing. There is an aim to give it more of a "TV episode" feel than other podcasts, so you can crack a beer and chuck an episode on the TV and enjoy for 20 minutes.
Why did you start podcasting about beer?
Because we both love it and have worked with it for many years and we like talking about it. There’s never a boring chat about beer, over beer. We also felt there needed to be more longform video content along these lines about the Aussie beer industry on platforms like YouTube.
Are you an authority or an inquisitor?
Adsy would be somewhat of an authority having so much experience, but he’s the first to say that every day’s a school day and there’s more to learn. Joel knows a lot based on working with Helios for so long and loving beer, but he enjoys the chance to learn much more from the episodes we record with our guests.
How do you choose your guests?
It’s pretty simple. If they are able to chat to us on the dates that we have availability to chat, then it’s on. Some people have reached out to us and others we just ask nicely. No one we’ve approached yet has said no, except Tim from BrewDog, but we’ll get him one day.
Does much preparation take place or is it a case of press record and let’s see what happens?
As it’s not live (we sort of shoot it like it could be a TV show on SBS) we just need time to set up the cameras. Overall, though, Adsy usually just fires from the hip.
We’ve never not had enough footage and usually we have way too much to fit into one conversation. In some cases, where we have a heap of good chat recorded, we'll split the episode into two parts. We aim to keep running times to around 20 minutes give or take.
What’s the best question you’ve ever asked a guest?
Not sure about specific question, but a chat that stands out so far was talking to Andrew from Hilltop Hops Farm [Episodes 8 & 9]. It gave us the chance to be outdoors and sit among the hop bines a week before they had their summer harvest. It just gave a great visual element to play with and film, and Andrew was bursting with so much knowledge on hops.
Who would be your dream guest?
Mick Wüst. (We get extra brownie points for this right?)
Do you drink while recording?
Yes, Adsy will always have a beer in hand while interviewing. There’s only been one interview where he hasn’t and that was when we chatted to Andrew from Hilltop Hop Farm. There’s a story behind why.
Joel usually waits until after filming has wrapped before enjoying a beer, since he's always setting up cameras and running around getting overlay footage. Someone's gotta do the hard yakka…
For those of a technical bent, what is your technical setup?
We set up with three to four cameras for an interview to provide plenty of angles to cut between when Joel sits down to edit the video. For audio, we use the Rode Mini lapel microphones, which are handy when filming in a brewery that's open to the public at the time of recording, to help filter the background noise out. Joel will then take all the angles and gathered overlay vision, and get cutting in Adobe Premiere.
Where can people find your show?
We’re on YouTube for video content and all the major audio podcast streams. You can also find us on all the major social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and so forth.
Keen to watch a few episodes? You can hop aboard the Aussie Beer Voyage on the ABV YouTube channel, or find the audio in all the normal podcast places.