Who Brews At Buddy Brewing?

June 10, 2024, by Mick Wust

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Who Brews At Buddy Brewing?

You feel the closeness right away when you come across Buddy Brewing.

While the name evokes friendship, this brewery is a family affair: the folks involved are brewer Reece Palmer, his mother Michelle Ireland, and his stepfather Divaan Ireland. Even the four-fingered hand in the logo is in honour of Michelle’s father, whose constant catchphrase – “Listen here, buddy” – gave the brewery its name.

Buddy Brewing is located in Burpengary, a suburb just off the Bruce Highway between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. The family are long-term locals, and long-term supporters of local beer. So once they had the idea to open a brewery on their home turf, it stuck.

“We had a couple of beers, and thought, ‘How hard could this be?’” Reece says.

“Turned out pretty quickly – it’s pretty bloody hard!”

When it came to setting up shop, Divaan and Reece put their construction backgrounds to use; along with a handful of friends, they “pretty much built the place from the ground up”.

“We built the whole thing ourselves: gutted the whole replace and re-did it. Quite a few all-nighters.”

It’s at this point that having contacts in the construction industry really paid off.

“A lot of them flat-out refused to get paid… just asked for a couple of beers every now and again.”

Support from family and friends is one thing, but Buddy Brewing have been blown away by the support they receive from other breweries: getting help from the Blackflag team during their setup phase, and contract brewing there while they’re having issues brewing at their own location; getting a second-hand canning line from Hiker; picking up tidbits of knowledge from Lance at Heads of Noosa and other Sunny Coast brewers. 

And it’s this camaraderie that drew them to the brewing industry in the first place.

“Coming from the construction industry, seeing that change in mentality from cutthroat to the most wholesome people in the world, it’s almost jarring.”

 

Opening weekend, we went through 1200L in two days… we had to call up our mates and get their beers on tap so we weren’t the pub with no beer!”
"Opening weekend, we went through 1200 litres in two days… we had to call up our mates and get their beers on tap so we weren’t the pub with no beer!”

 

They now love being part of this brewers' network themselves. They’re constantly recommending other breweries to their punters, just as they know other brewers are doing for them.

“We work together. We’ve all got to fight the greater evil of those big offshore empires!”

While Divaan's the one who first suggested starting Buddy Brewing, it’s Reece who’s the brewer – or, as he describes it, "a mix between scientist and chef.” He enjoys making all styles, but his love for malt has him playing with several traditional beer styles such as a dark ale, an English mild, and an ESB – even if adding coffee, Carolina Reaper chilli and caramel syrup to an ESB isn’t quite “traditional”.

Malt-driven styles like this have never gained much traction with Aussie drinkers. But Buddy’s thirsty customers – the same ones who showed their eagerness for a brewery in Burpengary by drinking the taproom dry on opening weekend – are all over these beers. 

“We’re trying to keep up!" Reece says. "The locals have got hollow legs. Whenever we’re onto a winner, it’s gone within two weeks.”

Since that first seed of an idea to open a brewery, the Buddy team have indeed learned that it’s “pretty bloody hard,” and they put in long hours to keep the beer flowing. But they’re tenacious – and stoked with what they’re doing.

“All of us can happily, hand on heart, say we’ve never worked harder in our lives,” says Divaan. “But you love every second that you’re at it.

“It is unreal waking up and being in love with what you do.”

We get to know the family a little better in this entry in our Who Brews...? series.


Buddy Brewing

The Buddy Brewing family - Reece Palmer, Michelle Ireland and Divaan Ireland.
The Buddy Brewing family - Reece Palmer, Michelle Ireland and Divaan Ireland.

 

Who are you?

Reece Palmer: looks after brewing, beer stocks, and has fallen into being the sales rep. He was a salesman for Hohly water and running his own digger and truck business.

Michelle Ireland: accountant, bookkeeper, running a small family business and management of everything in the office.

Divaan Ireland: venue management and organises all food trucks and events. Mechanical engineer working in a quarry.


Where do you brew?

We contract brew out of Blackflag Compound just to keep up and get on top of how much we go through.


Why do you brew?

There are a few reasons.

Reece loves the science behind the water, hops, yeast and experimenting with grains.

Divaan loves it, as from a little tacker he used to brew with his grandfather… you could almost say it’s in his blood! 

It’s fair to say we all are doing this as we love the industry as well – how friendly and open other breweries are to help out. And we’re very passionate about keeping it local. 


Was there a beer or a moment that set you on the path to becoming a brewer?

Winning an urban craft beer walk ticket from Blackflag. After seeing how the industry treats each other, it locked us in and was the first step to the dream.


What’s the inspiration behind the brewery name?

The inspiration behind the name comes from a family saying that Michelle’s dad says, that now everyone in the family says: “Listen here, buddy!”

 

Buddy Brewing have created a place that feels like home for the people in their community.
Buddy Brewing have created a place that feels like home for the people in their community.

What beer in your lineup best represents you and why?

Reece: Dark ale: traditional dark, malty flavours, but lightened up and sessionable.

Michelle: Straight-shooter, straight to the point, you know exactly what you get with her… just like our blonde ale.

Divaan: Hasta La Citra. It’s a bit like his personality – a little fruity.


If you could have any person in the world join you on a brew day, who would it be, and why?

Reece would brew with his mates: Zack who works at Brouhaha, and Andy who works at Newstead Brewing.

Divaan would brew one last beer with his grandad – boy, boy, boy, boy, boy.


If anyone drops in on brew day, what are they most likely to hear blasting from the speakers?

It will be a mix, from Parkway, Polaris, Deafhaven, to an 80s mix, haha.


What beers are in your fridge right now?

Reece has a Hiker Black IPA, Blackflag Rage and Kick Ons, Archer IPA, Moffat Beach Pale Ale and a One Drop sour.

Divaan and Michelle have a mix of Scarborough Harbour Red IPA ,10 Toes IPA and Blackflag Kick Ons.


What would be your desert island beer of choice?

Reece will be drinking a Japanese Lager from Newstead.

Michelle will be drinking Rage from Blackflag.

Divaan will be drinking a Tropical Ale from Coral Sea Brewing.

 


Which local beers have blown your mind in recent weeks?

Michelle can’t stop taking about Heads of Noosa Black Lager.

Divaan loves Hiker’s Ornith Imperial Red IPA.


Is there a particular style, ingredient, or trend in beer you'd like to explore further?

Sours for sure - it’s a bit like opening up Pandora’s box, with the possibilities endless on flavours, fruits, what sort of sours… it’s pretty exciting, to tell you the truth.


What beers have you released to date?

  • Hasta La Citra - pale ale
  • Station Road - blonde ale
  • The Red Coat - midstrength English mild ale
  • The Jericho - west coast IPA 
  • The Dark World - dark ale
  • Reap What You Sow - ESB (collab with Chilli Coffee coffee, with Carolina Reaper chillies and caramel syrup)

Where can people find your beers?

  • All Saccharomyces bottleshops
  • Narangba Cellarbrations
  • Liquor Legends Morayfield 
  • Salt and Cheese Bar Hamilton (on tap)

...and in the brewery.


Where do you hope your brewery will be ten years from now?

Honestly, that’s a big question, as we haven’t even thought of five years yet!

But just enjoying the ride of being able to make a lot of people happy when they drink our beers is a big one.

But ten years’ time, I can see us still being a firm spot in our community and being that nest spot you go into before heading up the coast to go to Moffat's, Brouhaha, etc.


Meet your buddies at Buddy Brewing, 178 Station Road, Burpengary. While you're there, you can check out the others in their wholesome brewers' network in the free Crafty Pint app.

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