Brewing up success

MEET the people behind one of Tasmania’s newest breweries.

Little Rivers brewer Chris Carins. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Little Rivers brewer Chris Carins. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Little Rivers Brewing Company opened in February and has quickly gained the support of Tassie beer swillers.

Owned by partners Chris Carins and Jess Coniston, and Stephen and Tracy Love, the brewery operates out of a defunct farming shed at Scottsdale.

Mr Carins said opening a craft brewery was always a long-term plan. That plan began to gain momentum about two years ago, when he and Miss Coniston moved back home from Queensland, where he had been working in a brewery.

‘‘I was working at a winery at Pipers Brook and the brewery was only going to be a part-time thing, but it didn’t quite work out like that,’’ Mr Carins said.

In the six months the partners have been brewing, they’ve produced about 15,000 litres of beer.

There are four staple brews to the Little Rivers name – a kolsch, pale ale, European dark lager and a Hefeweizen.

In a couple of weeks, consumers can wrap their chops around the first seasonal release, an Indian brown ale.

‘‘Our main ingredients are water, malt, yeast and hops – we don’t use any adjuncts, like sugar,’’ Mr Carins said. The name and Launceston-designed labels further reflect the ethos of the company.

‘‘Because water is a big part of brewing – about 90 per cent – we wanted to reflect that (in our name),’’ Miss Coniston said.

‘‘We get our water from the Brid and Forester rivers – it’s filtered, of course!

 ‘‘The craft beer emphasis is on craft-made, natural.’’

While the upcoming Indian brown ale will feature 100 per cent Tasmanian hops, Mr Carins said the rest of the range featured hops from Tassie, interstate and as far away as Germany.

‘‘We like to be true to the European style so some ingredients come from overseas,’’ he said.

The next six months are set to be busy, with all the focus on stock-piling for the summer festival season.

‘‘I think we underestimated the demand,’’ Mr Love said.

‘‘We’ve had a lot of support, especially from the locals – even from the Boag’s drinker,’’ Mr Carins added.

‘‘There’s a lot of potential for us if the rail trail gets up,’’ Mr Love continued.

‘‘We did a fair bit of research on the statistics when we were getting going. About 3 per cent of the Australian beer market was held by craft beer, but world-wide it is about 10 per cent. The latest stats show it’s moved up from 3 per cent, it’s definitely a growing market.’’

When it comes to embracing the essence of craft beer and micro-breweries, the folks at Little Rivers have it down pat. They only have four vats of beer fermenting at a time.

These vats don’t have fancy temperature control technology, so it’s in-and-out of the cool room to keep the temperature just right.

For thosecold days, there’s an electric blanket on hand.

When it comes time to bottle, Miss Coniston said, it’s a family affair.

‘‘’Whoever is around to help pitches in.’’

For  a taste of Little Rivers products visit www.lrbrewing.com for a list of stockists.

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