Why a former sparkie is the perfect man to run new 'brewpub'
AN electrician-turned-brewer is one of four men behind Maleny 'brewpub' Brouhaha Brewery, which opened on the weekend.
The $1 million brewery and restaurant kicked off with a party that attracted "just about all of Maleny", if the carpark traffic jam was anything to go by, said head brewer and business partner Matt Jancauskas.
With nine original beers on tap and brewed on site, from the Blonde Ale to fruit infused beers and stouts, it wasn't hard to attract a crowd, he said.
"1000 people came through here on Saturday night," Mr Jancauskas said. "It was just awesome to see all the kegs running out at the same sort of time. No two people would be drinking the same beer - it was just awesome.
"It was a raging success - we were so proud."
The new business has employed 23 people including chefs, baristas, wait staff and apprentices. Ten of them are full-time and 95% are hinterland residents, Mr Jancauskas said.
Mr Jancauskas said he had been on his way home after two years working for London's Beavertown Brewery - where he secured a job on a whim because he'd always loved craft beer - when he saw an ad for a business partner to start a "brew pub" in Maleny.
He had thought it was a practical joke.
"I had the dream and had told all my mates that I wanted to start a brewpub at Maleny," he said.
"I thought it was a bit of a joke at first when I saw it (the ad), I thought it was one of my mates having a laugh."
Mr Jancauskas said he had always loved craft beer, had read about it voraciously and visited breweries "all over the place".
His introduction to professional brewing had been through Beavertown. He wrote his job application sitting at a Hong Kong airport on the way to London.
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Mr Jancauskas grew up in Yeppoon and lived for a few years in Brisbane before travelling to London where he ended up running Beavertown Brewery.
Logan Plant, son of Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant, owned Beavertown which had a cult following and was growing rapidly, offering him training he couldn't have found anywhere else, Mr Jancauskas said.
He said Maleny's cool, forested landscape reminded him of where his mother grew up, in the forested Victorian town of Kallista, and he had always wanted to live and work there.
"I just love Maleny," he said. "I've always loved it."
It may seem like a haphazard career trajectory, but it turned out Mr Jancauskas was the "dream business partner" that Maleny dentist, businessman and developer Julian Leigh had been searching for.
"He was offered a job at every decent craft brewery in Australia when he got back from Beavertown," Mr Leigh said. "He wouldn't have told you that."
A pharmacy was originally planned for the space in a commercial complex at 39 Coral St that's now now occupied by Brouhaha, Mr Leigh said. A Maleny resident, Mr Leigh built and owns the complex.
"There was nowhere where I would go out for a drink with any businesses I'm involved in, in Maleny. There's so much crappy beer," Mr Leigh said.
Jeff Bess - also CEO of Maroochydore firm Projex Partners - and Maleny-based dental prosthetist Dave Lough complete the business-owner team, which came together last October after years of planning, Mr Leigh said.
While the venue was now focused on establishing itself as the go-to place for an ale and quality meal on the hinterland, the quality of its brews was such that Brouhaha should "become a reasonable player" in the national and even international beer making scene over the next decade, Mr Leigh said.