Friday, June 5

Young Henrys On Ice
























Photographs by John Kruger

The much-anticipated opening of a spanking new Young Henrys brewery in Adelaide has been the talk of the city’s hoptocracy for the past six months. You know, those cashed up Sydney hipster brewers who were set to revolutionise the local craft beer scene? 
According to the jungle drums the perfect site for a new brewery had already been chosen. Apparently.
Last week, your scribe, along with assorted local media, was invited to a special Young Henrys lunch (co-hosted by Kinkawooka Mussels) at Sean’s Kitchen at the Casino. When was the brewery opening? Any launch beers? Would they have a tasting room like the one in Newtown?
I immediately buttonholed the company’s Dan Hampton to get the latest on this brewing mega event – but the news was not what I was expecting. Young Henrys will not be opening a brewery in Adelaide, or anywhere else in Australia, for at least another year, possibly two.
Dan says Young Henrys hit a couple of (unspecified) hurdles in Adelaide and had put the new brewery on ice – although they might consider some type of retail outlet in the city centre as a stop gap.
“We’re going to focus on the bars that are supporting us [in Adelaide] and still keep our eyes open for the right opportunity – and not just do it because that’s what we think we should do,” he said.
By way of compensation the brewers at Young Henrys (the team includes Aussie beer legend Richard Adamson) created a special mussel-infused witbier which proved the ideal accompaniment for Sean Connolly’s mussel themed feast – love those amazing mussel fritters.
“This meal is just about celebrating the fantastic produce of South Australia – and an excuse to have a beer, of course,” said Sean before returning to the kitchen.
Lunch at Sean’s Kitchen is always a pleasure, but was I the only person at the table who felt a little deflated? With Pirate Life, Mismatch and Big Shed all kicking goals in Adelaide, Young Henrys would have really given the craft beer scene in SA that little bit of extra gloss.
As Dan suggested, while Adelaide’s thriving small bar scene is helping to shake things up the majority of pubs across the metropolitan area are still beholden to the major brewers like Lion Nathan and SAB Miller.
Without access to taps in some of these bigger establishments, it seems interstate craft moguls are less inclined to invest their time and money in Adelaide.
“We’re really spoilt in Sydney and Melbourne because there are plenty of independent pubs – or independent pub groups — that aren’t totally aligned with one big [brewing] company,” said Dan.
“That’s not the case yet in Adelaide. You’ve got a few that have done it, like the Franklin and Wright Street, but not many. But that was the case in Sydney five or 10 years ago, so it has got to change. It’s just not there yet.”

www.younghenrys.com

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