It all began in 2002…
When a handful of passionate craft beer lovers, lead by brothers John and Bill Hoedemaker, set out to establish WA’s next great craft brewery. Passionate West Coasters, they named their brewery after the strip of ocean that separates Fremantle and Rottnest Island off the coast of Western Australia. It’s a place you can relax, escape, explore or seek out adventure. And what an adventure they were about to embark on…
At the time, establishing a craft brewery in a market dominated by huge players may have seemed like commercial madness to some, but the team at Gage Roads knew that by staying true to its ‘Brewed by Fussy Bastards’ ethos, success would follow.
Almost 14 years on and that founding team and Gage Roads looks very different. Founding partner John Hoedemaker is now Managing Director; inaugural member of the brewing team – Aaron Heary – is Brew Chief and Chief Operating Officer. The handful of staff that brought Gage Roads to life has grown to a team of more than 40 passionate and dedicated craft beer lovers.
But that’s not all that’s changed. The brewing landscape in Australia is in a process of rapid evolution. The once total dominance of lager styles is waning, whilst the craft beer market continues to go from strength to strength. Australian drinkers are mirroring their counterparts abroad in abandoning the status quo in search of new drinking horizons. Craft beer in all its variants has captured the attention of consumers across the country, and their thirst for new styles is limited only by the imagination of brewers.
The changing demands of Australian beer drinkers have served Gage Roads well. The original second-hand brewing equipment has been replaced with new state-of-the-art, industry leading plant. What once was a small, independent Western Australia brewery has grown to become one of the largest independent brewers in Australia. Whilst the equipment has changed, and beer styles have come and gone, two things have remained: an unbridled creative spirit, and an obsession with quality.
In 2015 the Gage Roads executed a comprehensive refresh of its core craft beers, adding three new beers to it’s year-round lineup. The refresh proved to be extremely successful, with increased sales now making Gage Roads one of the largest craft brewers in Australia. On the back of this sales success, the team announced that in 2016 that it would execute a 5 year strategy to enter untapped independent and on-premise markets nationally.
Beer drinkers of the future will have plenty to celebrate. The monolithic incumbents are tough competition, but Gage Roads is in no doubt of the power of craft beer to continue to capture the attention of an increasingly sophisticated beer drinking public. The growth in demand for craft beer will remain strong, and with its obsession with quality and willingness to push the boundaries, Gage Roads Brewing Co is poised to reap the benefits.