Oi! How are you buddy?
Buraz! I am good. Things are crazy right now, as you are well aware im sure, but things are shaping up. There is light at the end of the Corona tunnel.
I assume it's crazy like everywhere on this planet, but let's hear your view. Which is the current situation in Australia now? How it affects your business and all the businesses related to craft beer?
It is. The situation here at the brewery is/was dire. Being only 14 months old, most of our sales were through our taproom and our local community coming to hang out. Now that’s wiped out its hit us pretty hard. We have had to let all our staff go except one. That was really, really hard. You know the industry, everyone is like family.
By your opinion, which will be longer term effects of this crisis? Do you think that, when everything stops, people will just continue to drink craft beer and support local breweries or as crisis will effect their wallets, they'll pay lesser amount of money for our nectars?
I think the long term effects will be a positive one for the breweries who are able to pivot, adapt, and overcome. Times like these breed innovation. I cant wait we are through this to chat with brewers, equipment suppliers, and retailers to see what new ideas we’ve all come up with to get through this. I feel (positive) change coming. As for local breweries, I can only speak about ourselves (as we aren’t allowed to go see any others!!) but weve had a lot of local support. People are still earning money working from home. When that stops, then I don’t know. Online homebrew classed in my undies!?!
As every crisis bringing new methods and techniques of adjustment, did you invented something new? Did this crazy situation brought some new products in One Drop Brewing Co. portfolio?
Of course! Always something new! We had a few special beers in tank scheduled for keg only. West Coast IPA., Hazy IPA, Blueberry Sour to name a few. We managed to flip 180 and can all of that and we are almost out! I think people are bored and after something new so we’ve managed to fill a small gap. We also got a Still (so we are now One Drop Brewing & Distilling Company!) and have repurposed our kettle and an FV to help produce ethanol. We are turning that into hand sanitiser with flavours of ours sours with the help of a local baker and his flavourings. Passionfruit Sour, Mango Milkshake, Blueberry sour and the like.
Please, present One Drop Brewing Co. to our readers and beer lovers all over the world. You've made some great stuff in your short history, brewed some great stuff and got some nice awards for your work.
We are One Drop Brewing (& Distilling) Co. We opened up in a converted paper store in Sydney, Australia making Traditional European Lagers, New World Ales, and Boundary-pushing Sours. We were opened only a year ago in January with locals Clay Grant & Meg Barbic (who is has Croatian heritage) along with me, benevolent dictator production, Nick Calder Scholes. One Drop’s creation is an extension of a free, go-with-the-flow vibe that the guys were living and what we ended up building our business and brand around. It’s a light-filled industrial space with a tropical mural, banana trees and a beer garden with a sounds of chilled reggae and the Pacific and Caribbean. One Drop Brewing Co. is inspired by the same foundational ideals of Reggae Music with its signature One Drop beat. The same ideas of community, humanity, one love, free thinking and unique creative self expression inspires us. It is what beats within that allows us all to connect to community, freedom, love of life, and love of good beer. The philosophy behind us is simple: to inspire widespread positivity and change using a single action, just like the ripple effect in water caused by an individual drop. Oh, and we took our a rake of Gold medals at the world’s largest annual beer awards (AIBAs), local independent beer awards (the IBAs) and recently class trophy EU ale for our 5-brett Saison at the Australian QLD beer awards. Its been a wild year!
Can you ilustrate us the situation at Australian craft beer scene?
The Australian craft beer scene is really well developed. It has its own sense of direction, with a few local styles that are now ingrained (read XPA), without losing grip on whats happening in Europe and the US (even though everything is upside down here!). NEIPAs and Hazys in abundance but with a real love for Red ales and Rye laden ambers. Sours really took off last Summer, great for us who were dosing stupid amounts of fruit into ours. Canning is the boss here with almost no-one in craft still doing bottles. Cold chain distro is the norm. Its great down here but the beer nerds are no where near as classy (read annoying) as the EU ;)
Now, let's hear who is my brother Nick? How did you came into brewing and give us your lifetime story in few rows?
Im from New Zealand and I have a funny accent. Like most, I started homebrewing then realised I wanted some to pay me to do it! Decided to do my IBD certificate then go find someone stupid enough to hire me. I found those people at London’s Fourpure Brewing Co in Bermondsey. London was great and I learnt there. I met David from The Garden Brewery Croatia and helped them set up the brewery, staff, products, etc (and that’s where I met you brate! ❤ ). Just under 3 years in Zagreb, and a total of 10 away from all my family, it was time to head back and take part in helping start something closer to home. (Who knew it would be with a Croat again!)
You had a 'few years' episode in The Garden Brewery. What do you think about this part of planet Earth? Did this episode brought you something which helped you afterwards? How do you see European craft beer scene in general?
I loved it. I learnt so so much. Met some of my favourite people in the world. Discovered new perspectives & favourite places, made new friends and my life partner (shout out to Lady Di), tasted so many delicious beers ive lost count. Out of everywhere, I see the EU scene as the most developed. Arguably the US is “ahead’ but I feel you Europeans do it with a lot more maturity, rigor, and mindfulness. I do miss it quite a bit.
You've been in Belgrade. What do you think about our city?
LOVE IT! Belgrade is honestly one of my favourite cities in (or not quite in ;) ) EU. Or the world even. Alone, with new friends, meet old friends there, everyone loved it. The people, the vibe, the nightlife, the breweries! It has an energy that pulls you in, takes you on a wild ride, and spits you out. It’s a loving way. Like with her tongue. Ive always enjoyed my time in Belgrade and I wish to return very soon!
As bunch of us brewers like hops which are coming from that part of the world, can you give us some insight in hop production, trends and new varietes? Your favourite hop?
The main producer here, HPA (produce of the much fawned over Galaxy hop) have a very tight hold on their secrets. A few experimental varieties get to trial with commercial releases as single hop beers. Notable is the citrus heavy HPA-016. Though, Im a massive fan of Vic Secret personally. Banged into a Dry Hop Its like a “soft” galaxy with less harshness and more passionfruit.
Did and how the fires which made you big problems at the end of 2019 and start of 2020, affected hop production in Australia?
Most of the larger producers were not too affected as they are down south and it looks like their crops will pull through. Unfortunately though, most, if not all of the local independent farms were badly damaged. Most of their crop either didn’t grow /flower, or were just completely wiped out. It’s a really sad situation. Us brewers and and bars tried to run campaigns to buy up some fresh hops for a range of beers but a lot was unusable.
People who know you personally, know that you're passionate traveler. Which one stays strongest in your memory?
Travelling has taken a back seat to having a brewery, as you know, but one of my strongest memories would be my travels to Morocco. A friend and I went for 3 weeks and stayed 3 months! He had passport problems over xmas/new years period. And I couldn’t just leave my friend alone, over xmas, with no passport! So we hung out trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do. No way in or out. No embassy. And its illegal to send passport in the mail to Morocco (they get stopped in post system boarders) But we are New Zealanders right? Some fellow country would come to our aid. Nope. No fucking way. We visited embassy after consulate but no one would help. No Australia, no UK, no France, no one. I ended up having to travel to into Spain and pick up his passport. I bought a book and sewed it into the back/hinge and travelled back over the land boarder in Ceuta trying to distract the X-ray operators with the silly moustache I was sporting at the time. It worked! Or, maybe they just didn’t care about a book, but it worked! Of course, I told my friend I couldn’t find his passport and that he was stuck forever and would have to try his luck climbing the fence. He didn’t find any of that very funny at all. Until I handed him a big, blue, Spanish children’s book (he doesn’t speak Spanish). We’re still friends to this day although he now has trust issues.
For the end - your message to fellow brewers and beer lovers all over the world...
Stay safe, wash your hands, be kind to one another. And just remember at the end of the day, its just beer.
Oi! How are you buddy?