As breweries across Australia seek to diversify their offerings, Brisbane’s All Inn Brewing Co. has successfully turned to fresh wort kit to augment its core brewing business.
Last year, Sea Legs Brewing Co. announced it had launched a mobile canning business, while Melbourne’s Moon Dog Craft Brewery expanded into seltzer vending machines. Brisbane’s All Inn, meanwhile, has been working in the homebrew space for several years after launching its fresh wort kit offerings in 2013, and has only seen demand increase during the pandemic.
“It all started with a chance conversation with an associate of [All Inn founder Harley Goodacre] who worked in the craft beer business,” according to All Inn sales manager Luke Phillips.
“Fast forward a few months and All Inn Brewing Co was making wort and putting it into plastic containers (cubes) to sell at homebrew stores. Since then, we have not only added technology, but we have seen the kits distributed not only nationally, but also in New Zealand and Asia,” he explained.
According to All Inn, home brewing has seen strong growth during COVID-19 and as a result, the demand for wort kits has increased further.
“If anything, homebrew sales in general have been stronger due to people not being able to get out due to COVID and lockdowns,” Phillips explained.
The wort kit side of the business has grown “extremely well”, he said, to the point where All Inn now produces five times more wort than finished beer.
This has been particularly helpful in balancing the challenges the hospitality side of the business has faced during COVID.
All Inn, like other breweries, turned to wholesaling during the pandemic and the arrival of Phillips last year allowed All Inn to focus much more on wholesaling as well.
“The goal for 2022 and beyond is to increase the amount of finished beer for sale in the diner and wholesale while continuing to produce fresh wort for our homebrew partners,” Phillips said.
All Inn Fresh Wort Kits
All Inn isn’t the first brewery to jump into the home brew market. There has always been a strong connection and movement between the two, both of ideas and people, and home brewers gain additional expertise when they buy from a brewery, Phillips explained.
“Fresh wort kits are a great learning curve for budding home brewers, most start out as extract kit brewers with cans of syrup and quickly realize they can only achieve a certain quality.
“The next step is to buy ready-to-ferment wort, where they can make changes to the yeasts or adjust the hops to suit and experiment with how they do it.
“The end result is a quality craft beer brewed to drink at home.”
All Inn offers wort kits for a wide range of their beers, but also offers a popular FWK single-batch program for brewers to expand their knowledge.
But the development of wort kits in the brewery comes with its own challenges, such as oxidation.
“[So] in 2018 we converted to a bespoke system that replaces the plastic cubes with a bag-in-a-box which is basically a cardboard box with a bladder type bag containing the wort.
“Not only is it easier to produce at the brewery, but since the boxes stack better and we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from transport, and we’re not buying all that HDPE that is difficult to melt down and recycle,” Phillips explained.
This focus on the home brewing offering has been a huge benefit to the growing business, and the support works both ways.
“Let’s face it, home brewers are huge proponents of craft beer and you just have to look at almost any brewery in the country and you’ll find either a brewer or even an owner who started out as a home brewer.
“At All Inn, we try to support the entire homebrewing community, from store-level education to helping with homebrewing conferences and events. Who knows, maybe the next champion homebrewer will become one of our future employees or one of the other breweries in Australia.