Prof’s Point of Brew: Mornington Lager
Lager. Familiar, friendly, welcoming. We all know lager. So did ‘The Big House’ breweries before they dumbed it all down, softened the edges and made the liquid a beer-flavoured equivalent of a plastic-wrapped cheese single.
Lagers (by law if I had my way) should be made in accordance with due respect to the age-old tradition that is lager brewing. Mornington Peninsula Brewery‘s heralded lager is. Light, cereal malt base with a soft and inviting, slightly floral hop character and a gentle bitter finish. German-inspired, right down to the noble Tettnang hop, it is tradition in a bottle. Or a can. You can choose. They come in both forms.
Mornington Peninsula Brewery was born of a desire to create something wonderful combined with an AFL Grand Final win. When Matt Bebe watched his beloved Hawks defeat the Cats in 2008 he used the euphoria generated to vow to open a brewery. Two years later, in an old factory that used to manufacture exploding golf balls, his dream became reality. A ‘mate consortium’ of almost 20 investors saw the brewery, under the stewardship of Head Brewer Andrew ‘AG’ Gow, pour a pale ale, brown, porter and IPA to get things going. An ever-increasing lineup of seasonals and limited release specials continues to this day.
No prizes for guessing where the name came from. No prizes, either, for whoever came up with it in the first place. But it shows how that ’sense of place’ can drive a business’s popularity with locals, especially in the early days. The tagline, however, is a different thing altogether. Aurum Potabile – ‘Drinkable Gold’ represented by an ancient Alchemist symbol-font thingy became the logo and the mantra “Be true to the beer and those who drink it”.
A couple of lessons for dads here. First, “always do sober what you promised to do drunk”, is both a warning and a challenge. Deciding to open a brewery – or any business, for that matter – is fraught with challenges, opportunities, fears and dangers. But sometimes, the biggest risk you can take is to do nothing. Second, if the banks won’t come to the party, call on your mates.
But, as the other age-old saying goes, “friendship is friendship; business is business” and you can risk both if things don’t go well. Or, as John D. Rockerfeller said: “A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship”.
BUT… if the game plan, the vision and the exit strategy are all made clear up front, well, how good would it be to be part of a profitable business that happens to make beer!?