Taking on the beer industry one keg at a time

We’ve all heard about small businesses with big plans, but the Garage Project is taking things to extremes.

The Garage Project is brothers Pete and Ian Gillespie, and their boyhood chum Jos Ruffell. Their first step is to build a new ‘nano-brewery’ in an old garage in inner-city Wellington, and you can follow their progress here.

Pete is the brewer, and has a CV including commercial brewing experience in the UK (Breakspear and Hepworth & Co.) and in Australia, where he worked at Malt Shovel Brewery under the legendary Chuck Hahn.

Jos is the business brain, and quit a career in video game production to establish the Garage Project. Jos had worked for Wellington’s internationally renowned Sidhe. Jos’ game development background has influenced Garage Project’s growth strategy, with an emphasis on getting brews right in small-scale production before taking the step up to greater volumes.

The first stage will certainly be nano – beer will be produced in 50 litre batches (i.e., one keg), with capacity to produce four batches per week. And while this sounds distinctly like a homebrew system, Jos and Pete say the brewing equipment is small but hi-tech. Everything has been designed to produce commercial quality beer from the outset, while fitting in with larger commercial equipment as the business grows.

Pete, Ian and Jos plan to sell through a Wellington craft bar and be there when the beer hits the glass. This will give them instant feedback, and, combined with the small batch size, allow brews to rapidly evolve and improve. (Mind you, the feedback might be a little biased with the brewers sitting there with a bar tab…)

Pete says it was English real ales that got him into craft beer, but he doesn’t want to limit his options when it comes to Garage Project’s brewing style. The small batch sizes mean they will able to cover many different styles and see what works. “We can be experimental, but that doesn’t mean we will always be producing big, challenging beers. It can mean making a good, balanced session beer. I don’t like to be limited by style guidelines. The only crime in brewing is being boring,” Pete says.

The Garage Project is cutting through the last of the red tape needed to open a brewery in Wellington City. You can expect the first examples to be available next month, and follow their progress online.

© Martin Craig, June 2011

Follow us on Twitter @nzbeerblog

3 Responses to “Taking on the beer industry one keg at a time”

  1. Beer Geek Meets Girl


  2. Hurrah! At last I got a website from where I know
    how to genuinely get useful facts regarding my study and knowledge.


  3. The banking industry hasn’t changed in close to 50 years. It’s still the same thing over and over again.


Leave a Reply

Copyright © NZBeerBlog.com     Powered by WordPress MU    Designed by WPDesigner    Hosted by