The independent beer scene is booming right now, and Queensland brewers are producing some of the best beers in the country. From small producers brewing for their local community to large producers brewing for interstate and international markets, they represent some of the most innovative and highly awarded beers in Australia. Range Brewing is the current toast of the town after winning Champion Beer, Champion IPA and the Hop Products Australia (HPA) trophy for Champion Small/Medium Brewery together with 250kg of our Australian hops at the 2020 Indie Beer Awards.
As industry leaders in quality, craftsmanship, flavour and diversity, we are committed to increasing our level of collaboration with like-minded brewers. We have evolved our sales strategy so that it directly benefits Queensland brewers, including the addition of a dedicated sales rep for the state alongside signing up as a supporting partner of the Royal Queensland Beer Awards in 2021. The Awards is Queensland’s premier beer competition which continues to enjoy growth with consistently high-quality entries. This year, they have invited brewers from across the country to compete for national recognition. Featuring a dedicated team of brewers, beer writers and industry figures, the Awards showcase the quality of Australian brewing and provide a handy guide for consumers.
If they continue their current form, Range is sure to feature in the 2021 Royal Queensland Beer Awards too. Range was started by childhood friends Gerard Martin and Matt McIver to bring the latest innovations in modern beer from around the world to Australian shores. With the help of Mitch Pickford, their ethos of exploration and evolution certainly seems to be working. After giving them a bit of time to celebrate their big win, we got in touch with Mitch to congratulate the team and ask a few questions about what it takes to brew a Range beer.
Q: Congrats on your recent success at the 2020 Indie Beer Awards. We were thrilled to present you with the trophy for Champion Small/Medium Brewery. What and/or who do you credit for your recent success?
A: I think it’s a culmination of our evolution in practices, techniques, and the emphasis we put on quality from the outset. It’s honestly been a two year journey of exploration and learning, and fortunately for us it has born fruit.
Q: Alongside the trophy for Champion Small/Medium Brewery, you also won 250kg of Australian hops. Do you already know which of our uniquely Australian flavour hops you’re going to choose and what beer style you might make with them?
A: It’s an amazing prize to receive, I mean that’s more than the entire hops we contracted from HPA last year. Luckily we’ve added some capacity to be making more beer so these hops will go to good use. I daresay we’ll be using the 250kg for both Galaxy and Vic Secret in a West Coast IPA and a Hazy IPA respectively. It would be rude not to!
Q: You also won Champion Beer for Fahrenheit IPA. Can you tell us the story behind the name?
A: We actually made this beer as a dual release where we made an all US ingredient IPA named Fahrenheit and an all AUS ingredient IPA named Celsius.
Q: There was an increase in medal winning IPAs and pale ales at this year’s awards. What do you think is driving brewers to continually produce these expressive, hop-forward beer styles?
A: I personally think, and hope, it’s a combination of both brewers enjoying experimenting with new ingredients, techniques and styles, and beer drinkers creating a higher demand for these styles.
Q: Range are constantly sampling the finest beers from around the world to inspire new and exciting brews. What is one of your favourite overseas experiences involving beer?
A: There are so many that myself, Matt and Gerard have, and we feel fortunate to say that as we know not everyone gets those experiences. My personal favourite was being able to work in San Sebastian Spain at Basqueland Brewing Project for a few weeks back in 2017. Absolutely wonderful people making amazing beer in an incredible city.
Q: Back on home soil, what’s your favourite hop to brew with at the moment? And if it’s not one of our proprietary varieties, what’s your favourite uniquely Australian flavour hop?
A: I think Australian hops have such unique characters. I personally love Vic Secret, especially Vic Secret flowers.
Q: There’s been Range taprooms popping up in other locations. Can you give us the inside scoop?
A: Get ready to drink some beer at our Taproom in Abbotsford, Melbourne. Keep your eyes peeled on our socials, as the taps are in and the beer is cold.
Q: We recently appointed Simeon Bonetti as your local sales rep. Are you looking forward to working with him? How will having a dedicated local sales rep for your state impact on your hop procurement process?
A: I’m fortunate enough to have known and been friends with Sim for several years now. We used to work just 30 meteres away from each other in West End. He’s always been extremely passionate and knowledgable on all things brewing and more importantly hops! Sim is a wonderful person which will make the world of difference in being able to work with him.