Just when you thought all the COVID creations possible had come to a head, another one pops up on the scene! With extra time on his hands and the possibility of supply-chain shortages, home brew enthusiast Peter Hammond was inspired to found his own lager company from his Dandaragan farm.
“My experimentation process started when I got made redundant during COVID. I got a bigger home brew setup, bought a canning machine, started an Instagram account, and then I offered free samples for feedback. Eventually I got this little underground group of people who would trade craft beers for my beers, because I couldn’t actually sell them.
Peter’s early consumer-driven market research paid off, and he now offers ten styles including the Tequila Beer — a refreshing lager with tequila, lime and lemon. Two artists (Alan Sims and Fajar Sugiarto) are responsible for the unique can artwork — a grungy graffiti style with tongue-in-cheek references.
Standing out in the crowded beer market is still Scene Brewing’s greatest challenge, but Peter believes consumers are not only keen to try something new, but appreciate a hand-crafted product.
“You realize you can’t go back to something processed like an Export, it’s just not as good as something that’s freshly made from rainwater, something that’s not packed full of preservatives, you know what I mean? It just takes a while for attitudes to change.”
Sticking to his goal to create a clean product with no ‘nasties’ (after all that’s what causes the headaches, right?) meant Peter needed extra coolroom space to keep his preservative-free product stable. This saw him successfully apply for a Shire of Dandaragan Economic Development Grant, a co-contribution grant which enabled him to purchase and install an extra large coolroom at his brew shed, which he is just putting the finishing touches on.
The pristine shed, filled with stainless steel, is a far cry from his home-brew origins. It’s an impressive operation, and while Peter admits it was a significant investment, being a boiler-maker by trade enabled him to save a bucket-load.
“It is nice to have a slow build. There’s no pressure financially because I still work as a boilermaker too.”
Even though he’s happy to see the business grow organically, Peter’s goal is at least 30 kegs a week and he’d like to have 1 or 2 contracts locked away before he quits his day job.
For now, building the new coolroom is key to him being able to provide enough kegs and have enough stock at hand to fulfil potential orders, and he is confident the financial boost will help grow the business.
As well as investing in infrastructure, Peter is still investing in a direct relationship with his customers — attending Jurien Bay markets once a month, Manning Farmers markets weekly and has several ‘tap takeovers’ coming up.
“I’ve got a tap takeover at the Corner Dairy in Doubleview on Saturday the 10 February. That’s a kind of real fine dining crossed with whatever the best beers are around the country, so it’s a really good spot to have beers on! Then I’ll probably do tap takeover in March at the Badgingarra tavern for everyone local to try a few of our beers. Nothing beats being there as a brand owner upfront talking about your product and it’s an awesome feeling when you’ve got people that come back and love your products.”
Other local events have included a recent West Midlands Group Spring Field day promoting direct to the gathering of local farmers and industry professionals.
“I really want to be able to supply locals at a competitive price.”
Peter hopes that Scene Brewing beers will become a preferred product for sale by local sporting clubs – being significantly cheaper than other beers, and offering a greater profit margin on sales — in turn supporting activities in the local Shire of Dandaragan as well as other Wheatbelt communities.