A JOURNEY FROM CRAFT BEER DRINKERS TO BREWERY OWNERS
Black Hops Brewing started as 3 mates making beer and sharing everything they learned along the way. In 2014, Dan, Eddie and Govs made their first beer, the Eggnog Stout, after discussing the concept at the pub. That led them to opening up a brewery and taproom in Burleigh Heads in 2016, and being awarded Australia’s Champion Small Brewer at the 2018 AIBA Awards. Black Hops launched its upscale production brewery in Biggera Waters in March 2019. These days Black Hops is one of Australia’s highest rated and fastest growing breweries, with a team of over 80, we make and distribute beer to thousands of venues around Australia.
Scroll down to see the history of Black Hops
November 2014: The Black Hops brand is launched
Following a successful first launch, they experienced a rapid three month rise, from the seeds of an idea to the birth of a commercial brewing company. But this was just the beginning...
January 2015: Plans to build a brewery
While the gypsy brewing model was a great fit for starting out and making a name for themselves, it wasn’t going to take Black Hops to the next level.
With momentum building it was a nerve wracking but exciting moment in time, as the boys put in $1,000 each to cover the brew and some marketing expenses. And thus a business was born.
March 2015: Calling investors
In line with their manifesto of being “the least covert operation in brewing”, the boys recorded a podcast series, the Operation Brewery Podcast, which took listeners behind the scenes as they prepared for the opening of the brewery.
October 2015: Answering the Call of Duty
“When Activision first contacted us we thought it was a hoax and had no idea that would turn into this amazing partnership. We love beer and we love video games, especially Call of Duty, so when the opportunity to create Black Hops III to celebrate the launch of the new game came up, we jumped at it” Govs.
January 2016: Black Hops launches a crowdfunding campaign
At the time, no other brewery had launched using crowdfunding and as usual the boys shared their experiences via the podcast and the blog, for the benefit of others looking to do the same as they were.
February – June 2016: Building a brewery
On 18 June 2016 the doors to the Taproom in Burleigh Heads were thrown open, and the first batch of beer brewed was, of course, Eggnog Stout!
April 2017: Hello Pale Ale.. in cans
This would soon change with the arrival of a brand new flagship beer, Pale Ale, coinciding with the launch of Black Hops cans. The beer was an instant hit and the recipe hasn’t changed since.
Having the beer in cans, packaged efficiently via a mobile canning provider ensured that Black Hops could produce enough to supply local bottle shops.
November 2017: Expanding the brewery and taproom
This enabled Black Hops to keep growing the wholesale business and provide a taproom experience to more people in Burleigh. The other benefit was being able to create lots more experimental brews and work towards an expanded range of core and limited release beers in cans.
January 2018: Pale Ale and Hornet score in GABS Hottest 100
1000’s of beers from all over Australia are entered, so team Black Hops were totally pumped when Hornet came in at a highly respectable #55 on the list. And then officially blown away when Pale Ale came it at #20 for favourite craft beer in Oz for 2017.
To put this into perspective, Black Hops achieved the highest position of any brewing company making their debut appearance in the Hottest 100!
May 2018: Champion Australian Small Brewery!
Team Black Hops came back with 5 gold medals including one for the flagship Pale Ale, 2 trophies including Champion Saison for Beach House, and the overall Champion Small Brewery trophy. Their biggest industry recognition to date.
July 2018: Planning Black Hops II
A suitable location turned up at 671 Pine Ridge Road Biggera Waters, the original Riviera boat building sheds, which were built in the early 1980’s. It was love at first sight for the Black Hops brains trust.
This would become by far the biggest project yet, requiring multiple millions of dollars and taking out a 15 year lease in order to build one of Queensland’s biggest independent breweries.
So the lease was signed and work commenced..
January 2019: Pale Ale #14 in GABS Hottest 100
The results were: Super Hornet came in at a respectable #87, Hornet polled a respectable #43 (an improvement from the previous year) and the flagship Pale Ale came in at #14.
At this point the beer had not yet made it interstate, other than a small amount to Sydney, so to get close to the top 10 on a national scale was a big result.
January 2019: Black Hops II equity crowdfunding – a record breaking result
The second brewery was well on the way to opening and the funds were much needed to finalise the project.
The campaign was a resounding success, achieving a number of record breaking results.
March 2019: Black Hops II opens for business!
The project from start to finish took 8 months, significantly less than the time it took to launch the first brewery and featured a huge production capacity upgrade, courtesy of a 6,500L brewery with 6, 18,000L tanks which had to go in via the roof.
March 2019: Champion Brewery at the Royal Queensland Beer Awards
The highlight was taking out the prestigious ‘RQFWS Champion Brewery’ award, which sits nicely alongside our AIBA Champion Small Brewery award from the previous May! The 4 awards were for: Champion Brewery, Champion Queensland Brewery, Champion Pale Ale (Hornet IPA): Gold Medal, Champion IPA (Code Red): Gold Medal
April 2019: Black Hops expands interstate
In early April 2019 the founders headed interstate on a whirlwind trip, hitting Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle in 4 days.
After 4.5 years Black Hops is finally available in venues and retail outlets outside of Queensland and Northern NSW – the rest of 2019 is gonna be big and busy!!
May 2019: Black Hops Awarded Champion Beer Trophy For Mid Range
Winning a Champion Beer Trophy for Mid Range was a prestigious honour.
As you can see, we were pretty stoked with the result.
July 2019: Black Hops Moves To 16 Pack Cartons
The vast majority of our customers had traditionally bought Black Hops beers in 4 packs. We wanted a format that would enable them to buy more than 4, but not stretch the budget too far. The 16 packs lined up perfectly from both a price point and efficiency perspective.
September 2019: Pink Mist & G.O.A.T Go Gold At Indie Beer Awards
It was the first time attending and entering.
We knew it wasn't going to be easy with the judging panel assessing over a thousand beers and we were very proud to come away with a range of medals across all of our entries, including two Gold Medals, for Pink Mist (Raspberry Saison) and G.O.A.T. (Hazy IPA).
December 2019: KatWinChar Sets Sail
Our generous landlord and boating legend Bill Barry Cotter restored an old sailing boat, which was originally built in a brewery over 100 years ago.
In true Black Hops fashion a beer was made, the KatWinChar Pale Ale.
January 2020: BH Scores 4 Beers in GABS Hottest 100 Countdown
We got the 5th most votes out of every brewery in the country and four of our beers made the top 100, with Pale Ale topping our results, finishing in 14th position for the second year in a row.
The placing were;
Pale Ale: 14, Hornet: 22, Super Hornet: 33, Caribbean Haze: 86
March 2020: Launch Of Supply Drop In Response To COVID
Preservation mode kicked in and strategising began. We soon launched a same day beer home delivery service called Black Hops Supply Drop covering Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Our beers were still delivered to the people, just in new and creative ways, under a range of new health and hygiene restrictions. We were thankfully able to keep our business healthy and have our full time staff in jobs throughout the COVID shut downs.
April 2020: Black Hops Reserves Brew At Home Competition Launched
Who would win the title of Black Hops Reserves Grand Champion?
July 2020: Announcement of our Upcoming AWOL Barrel-Aged Beer & Taproom
AWOL, our very own barrel-aged beer barrel room and taproom, aiming for completion early in 2021.
September 2020: Moondancer Top 10 In GABS Can Design Awards
With over 120 breweries entering, we were stoked to finish seventh for our winter limited release, Moondancer Hazy IPA.
For this can the designer, Troy, created a new character (now affectionately dubbed ‘Hop Man’) dancing around a campfire under a full moon. Apparently, the design was so popular it’s inspired more than a few Hop Man tattoos and fireside beers!
October/November 2020: Black Hops Acquires Semi-Pro Brewing Co. & Launches In Brisbane
We’ve always had a close relationship with the Semi-Pro crew, with owner, founder and brewer, Mick Guy, remaining as our Brisbane Site Head Brewer and co-owners Siena Perry and Shaun Stubley continuing to be involved.
The new Brisbane Black Hops Taproom was officially launched on Friday, 6 November, fortuitously the same week we originally launched the Black Hops brand in South Brisbane back in 2014.
November 2020: Black Hops Voted No 1 Craft Brewery in 2020 Beer Cartel Survey
In the 2020 survey, which took place between July and September Black Hops was awarded ‘Number 1 Craft Brewery In Australia’ and took out the top gong for ‘Queensland’s Favourite Craft Brewery Venue’.
It’s a massive honour to be recognised like this by craft beer lovers, both for our beers and for the shared camaraderie of the Black Hops taproom experience.
January 2021: G.O.A.T. Goes Top 5 In GABS Hottest 100
All 7 beers we entered in the annual GABS Craft Beer Hottest 100 appeared in the top 100 and G.O.A.T. debuted at number 5, our highest ever placing.
March 2021: 2 Trophies & 2 Gold Medals at Qld Beer Awards
We were once again absolutely stoked to continue our winning tradition, with our beers and brewery saluting at the podium for two trophies and two gold medals.
April 2021: We Commit To a $3 Million Packaging Line Upgrade
April 2021: Launch of AWOL Barrel Aged Beer & Taproom
Since visiting some of the best barrel aged breweries in America in 2018, it was a dream of ours to open our own and after two years of planning and preparation we were extremely excited to throw open the doors to Queensland’s first dedicated barrel aged beer taproom.
April 2021: Riding The East Coast Haze Wave
We went all-out in showcasing East Coast Haze through a range of marketing and promotional strategies well beyond our normal reliance on organic reach.
ECH has gone on to become our second best selling beer nationally.
May 2021: Blitzing It At The AIBAs
We’ve managed to walk away with gold medals for our beers at every AIBA awards ceremony we’ve entered since 2016 and this year we came away with another 5 gold medals.
July 2021: Taking On The Kokoda Challenge
For their efforts the team managed to raise $3,800 for the Kokoda Youth Foundation charity.
October 2021: The Launch Of Home Guard Beer Club
With our first Home Guard intake limited to only 250 spaces, to say that we were blown out of the water by the response would be an understatement! When we went live with subscriptions at 9:00am on 15 October our server was swamped due to the high volume of traffic from people wanting to sign up.
October 2021: Murder Hornet Goes Top 5 At GABS Can Design Awards
We were overjoyed to come 5th in the final rankings, making it 2 years in a row to finish as a top 10 finalist.
November 2021: BH Recognised as One of Australia’s Fastest Growing Companies
This was our first year of being eligible for the Fast 100 list, so we were stoked to be recognised as #24 in this year’s honour roll of fastest growing Australian companies!