What do a wine merchant, a lawyer and a former surf life saving ironman champion-cum-property developer get up to over a few beers?
The short answer is they decide to develop their own beer brand which turns out to be an award winning pale ale.
Nathan McEwan, Brendan Bate and Jonathan Crowe are mates, mad keen surfers and the faces behind the Illawarra’s Longboard Beer Brewing Company.
‘‘A mate of ours owned a micro brewery and we thought one day we’d make our own beer,’’ said Longboard marketing guru Brendan Bate who in his other life is highly regarded as one of the region’s most knowledgeable and experienced wine merchants.
‘‘About the same time overseas companies started buying up our iconic Australian beer brands, so we said no to foreign beers, went with our own 100per cent Australian pale ale and stopped paying overseas companies exorbitant amounts of money to drink their inferior, old, mass produced beers.’’ ‘‘We modelled it on a well-known Australian all natural pale ale and gave it our own special tweak.’’
It was the brewing talents of former Mountain Goat head brewer Andrew Gow who helped bring Longboard to life.
‘‘Andy joined us from day one and we worked hard to get the flavours just right,’’ Bate said.
The local brew certainly impressed the judging panel at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show where it picked up a silver medal.
‘‘Fresh and flavoursome with a crispness to bring it all together. Very modern,’’ said one judge.
‘‘I couldn’t have put it better myself,’’ says Bate who describes Longboard as ‘‘a crowd pleaser, fresh on the palate, lifted on the bouquet, slightly cloudy and individual to taste.’’
It’s been five years now since the adventurous mates dared to dream and Longboard pale ale is now available on tap or by the bottle at more than 500 venues across three states.
Along the way the mates have established the Longboard Bar and Grill in Townsville, have plans for their own clothing label and increased production to a projected 100,000 litres for 2013.
And in yet another coup for the burgeoning beer brand it has just been listed by the Coles Liquor Group.
This means even more people will now have the opportunity to surf into summer with a Longboard in their hand.