It is a grey and dreary June afternoon as I head to the quiet, industrial suburb of Botany Bay. Surrounded by ’50s style, weatherboard houses and tiled roofing, the only signal of One Drop Brewing Co. comes from a large, black door emblazoned with it’s logo and a yellow neon sign reading, “beer”. It’s the perfect and apt introduction to the local brewery – casual and understated. But make no mistake, what flows inside the four walls of the converted paper store is far more complex and considered than I ever thought possible.
Opening just six months ago by duo Clay Grant and Meg Barbic, the long time locals of south-east Sydney wanted to create a lively space in the area where people from all walks of life could enjoy a quality, Australian product – and the vibe mulling within the microbrewery proved just that.
Six metal tanks stand erect on one side of the space while the other wall houses an ample offering of tables and chairs and in the middle, a single tiled bar serves as the focal point for each area to meet in harmony. Outside, timber picnic tables invite a sense of openness to the factory zone and to any visitor looking for a hearty feed, some of Sydney’s most celebrated food outlets – think rich BBQ, fired pizza and crafted burgers – provide the perfect companion to the company’s award-winning brews. And this is where the magic is.
On a trip through Europe, Grant and Barbic had by chance, met with a fellow New Zealander Nick Calder-Scholes, who was known as the head brewer at Garden Brewery in Zagreb, Croatia. Following several calls, Scholes relocated closer to home and now leads production within the One Drop vision, and after a tour through the warehouse-cum-public house, his expertise is made apparent.
While the extensive menu of expertly crafted brews includes a unique selection of kettle sours, recommended for the beer novice – redcurrent, raspberry and wild rosella as well as pineapple, lime and mint sour – its claim to fame and impressive slew of awards come from crowd favourites, XPA and namesake Botany Bay lager. Following the inclusion into the Australian International Beer Awards, the bright and refreshing XPA now boasts a gold and silver award while the clean crowd favourite lager also snapped up a gold. Their Blueberry Sour coming back on tap in September also took home a Gold award and was the only brewery in Australia to do so in the Fruit Beer category.
But though we can’t turn away from an evening tipple, nowadays it is hard to introduce a new business without an environmental conscious. While One Drop Brewing Co. looks to refine the way it reduces and recycles grey water waste, the name is now attested and even patented with its eco-friendly packagaing – ensuring landfill is kept at a minimum. Also winning an award, its innovative packaging is fully recyclable – no glue, wax or tape – and has been cleverly constructed with what they call a “fold and hold” design. Additionally, the box uses third generation cardboard while the ink is also bio-friendly.
And as the sun set and the family scene fades, Saturday night invites a fresh crowd of cool kids, transforming the space once more.
For more information, check out the website here.