Welcome to our new website and soon to be new brewery.
As a first blog post, let me take you for a trip down memory lane...
We started working on our craft beer Quiet Deeds back in 2011. We started with no name and no label. After about 6 months, we had narrowed the name down to Quiet Deeds. The name for us resonated: it made us think of a quieter and simpler life away from the distractions. We also liked the idea of achieving a great deed but doing it quietly without boasting or for recognition, which is a bit of a personal mantra for Dave and I. In 2012, Quiet Deeds was physically born and launched with our Pale, IPA and Kolsch variants.
We began contract brewing with a swag of breweries. It quickly became apparent that we needed to fully control all aspects of our beer to realise Quiet Deeds’ full potential and to be able to experiment with and control the quality of our beer. So Deeds Brewing was born in anticipation of creating a home for Quiet Deeds.
It was 2015 when we came across a building which was perfect for a brewery, at least we thought so. Most of the builders we knew and who we took through the building thought that we were crazy. In their opinion the building was too far gone – they recommended we demolish it and turn it into a high rise. We disagreed. We saw a unique space in the eastern suburbs of inner Melbourne, complete with sawtooth roof and heritage features. There are very few industrial pockets in the inner east. The council of Stonnington, in which this building resided, had only one and that was Paran Place in the suburb of Glen Iris.
Going back to the beginning of our business careers, the seed of building a brewery was first planted in 2003 when Dave and I attended university together. We started spit balling business ideas after class one day over a beer. We were both studying engineering at the time and, although we enjoyed our degrees, we wanted to do something different. Building a business sounded like good fun, particularly a brewery. Researching it beyond the excitement of the idea quickly led to the reality that building a brewery is damn expensive, well beyond our lightweight bank accounts. We personally didn't have any money, we also didn’t have any wealthy friends or family and, worse still, we didn’t know anything about beer manufacturing, selling, marketing, finance or anything at all about business. We just knew we wanted to learn and so we started a distribution business called Red Island back in 2003. At the time we thought it would be a good way to learn and we were prepared to burn our savings doing so.
We started approaching well-known companies and asking them if we could represent them in Australia. No one was particularly impressed with our credentials, in fact most didn’t even respond. Some notable approaches we made were Grey Goose and Kettle 1 vodka. Unsurprisingly we didn’t get the distribution rights for these products nor were we ever going to, but we gave it a good crack nonetheless.
So, after many non-replies and shutdowns we did manage to get the rights to an obscure beer called Pacena, from an even more obscure place called Bolivia, coincidently from where half of my family hail. We bought the first container of beer (1200 cases) through a cash advance on both our credit cards and then praying after having just paid upfront with no guarantees that the stock would be shipped or ever get to us. After 3 months the container did arrive, and we unpacked it by hand at our Kennard’s self-storage unit in Port Melbourne (our first office and warehouse). We then each put a couple of cases in the back of our cars, drove in opposite directions and tried to get some sales. It didn’t really go well - most bars and bottle shops were surprised that a beer was brewed out of Bolivia as Bolivia was known more for the manufacture of illicit substances rather than beer.
Photo of Dave (middle) and me (right) and a container of Pacena
The experience did teach us some great lessons though and gave us the confidence to keep going. We took on many more products over the subsequent years and began hiring staff. Some products we took on worked well, while others did not.
Fast forward to 2008. We looked to expand our portfolio of imported products again and spotted an opportunity in Australia with cider. We took on the rights in Australia to an unknown product called Rekorderlig in late 2008. With hard work and determination, and a severe lack of social life, we grew the product to become the number 1 imported cider in Australia in 2012. We then sold our rights to it in 2013 and shifted gears to growing our own beer brand Quiet Deeds, which we had of course conceived but had limited time to invest in by that point. With the sale, we now had the ability to give our Quiet Deeds beers a home, a brewery, and control manufacturing process from start to finish to ensure the quality we wanted it to reflect. We’ve definitely had our share of set backs over the years, but we’ve also been very fortunate.
Going back to 2015, after we had spent 2 years hunting for a brewery site. Our potential brewery building was a former car workshop with an asbestos roof, rotting roof purlins bent like bananas and a lot of issues throughout. See photos below to get an idea.
Setting aside all the reasons not to pursue it (there were so many we lost count), we decided to go for it. After taking possession of the building we began the process of renovation. Rather than engaging a builder we decided to take on the management of the building works ourselves. We thought it would be great fun (it’s not as fun as it sounds) and to save some money. Before we began the actual construction work, however, we needed to get a planning permit. This process took a very long time.
We actually purchased our brewery equipment back in 2016 with the expectation of beginning to brew in 2017. In reality, it took twice as long as that due to planning – as a side note, this is how the name of the first beer we are planning on brewing out of the new digs came about: Quiet Deeds Double Time.
Once we had the planning permit we began the momentous job of upgrading and fitting out Deeds Brewery, the home of Quiet Deeds. The construction started 10 months ago in March 2018 with completion now looming. We are expecting to start brewing this side of Christmas 2018.
Our 3 vessel 25HL DME brewhouse is finally out of storage and assembled.
And as far as fermenting tanks go, we have 25HL,50HL and 100HL fermenters with plenty of space to expand. We see this as only the beginning.
Some of our tanks
Although it has been a long journey to get here, the blood, sweat and sleeplessness has been more than worth it to be in a position to open Deeds Brewery and share with you the beers we love. We look forward to seeing where this journey now takes us and invite you along for the ride. Needless to say, we’ve got some very exciting beer planned for your drinking pleasure. Watch this space.
Dave and Pat in our warehouse in 2015