We’ve come a long way
in a short time.
Founded as the McLaren Vale Beer Company in 2008, we kicked off contract brewing small runs of the original VALE ALE. We’ve since expanded our core range to include the LAGER, the IPA, the AMBER and the GOLDEN while getting creative with short batches of EXPs and Limited Editions along the way.
Since installing our mighty brewing apparatus in Willunga back in 2012, we’ve had the brewing agility to get creative and take some chances. We took a punt on our first EXP (a creamy, seven-malt oatmeal stout if you’re keeping score) and haven’t looked back since.
2015 has been another milestone year, with the Collin brothers taking full control, changing our name to Vale Brewing, the release of our Fox Hat line and punching above our weight to bring home some fancy beer awards.
While we’re thrilled with where we are, there is still plenty more to do. The next big steps are to bring all packaged production in-house and to create an iconic home within our community. We’ve got a great team and think we’re onto a good thing; we’ve got quite a bit more history to write yet.
The Collin brothers have been a part of Vale Brewing since the beginning, but when the opportunity came up to claim a 100% stake in the then McLaren Vale Brewing Company, they were all in.
Tim, Mike and Pete are a diverse batch of boys with some very different professional backgrounds – they come at situations from different angles, but pull in the same direction. Their strong-will and competitive spirit makes sure the best ideas come to the table and feed through to the tap and bottle.
We are living in a renaissance of craft brewing. The range of styles, fusions and embellishments entering the market is incredibly exciting. Standing out is one thing, but standing out for the right reasons is our driving motivation.
Our brewing team is dedicated to the point of obsession with sourcing the best ingredients and combining them in the perfect way: the specifics of the alchemy are kind of a secret, so we can’t go into too much detail (head brewer Jeff wouldn’t be happy if we spilled too many beans).
Let’s just say we are tireless in our pursuit of quality and consistency. While we don’t shy away from hard work, we’re also sure to find time to enjoy ourselves. Having the best job in the world, in the best part of the world, makes it quite a bit easier.
There was electricity in the air when the four-vessel, 35HL DME kit was delivered to Jay Drive back at the start of 2012, but nobody was more excited than head brewer, Jeff Wright. If we’d known what he had in store at the time, we’d have been even more excited.
Jeff and the team have taken to the new facilities like an artist to canvas: the creativity and colour presented in our finished products is proof that the right tools in the right hands can craft truly special things.
Jeff started his working career pulling beers in bars through university and after a brief 15-year stint in commercial viticulture management has found himself back in the hospitality industry. Jeff has been Head Brewer at Vale Brewing since 2011 where he commissioned the brewing facility in Willunga and built the current all-star brew team around him. Jeff has grown the portfolio from a lonely few lines to the current range of beers and ciders, including spearheading the Fox Hat Brewing range. He prides himself on the flavour balance of all the beers and ciders and enjoys sharing his experiences with others. He is a fan of all beer styles but has a personal bias towards hop-driven ales and big, bold stouts.
Kai's been in the food and beverage industry forever, and it’s always been about two things for him: flavour and quality. There for the commissioning of the Willunga Brewery and brewing with Vale since 2012, things haven't changed. Kai won’t be drawn on picking a favourite style of beer, preferring to keep an open mind and an open palate.
During his 15 plus years as greenkeeper of his local golf course, Shane cultivated a healthy passion for craft beer and home brewing. While the self-proclaimed ‘beardless brewer’ absolutely loves big ballsy IPA’s (the bitterer the betterer) he’s also partial to the occasional funky saison or two. Shane’s three years with Vale have intensified his love of craft beer and expanded his knowledge of all things beer and brewing. Not to mention his quirky tales and infectious smile keeping his fellow fermenters entertained as they brew up a storm.
Tom took a long and winding path to his current place on the Vale team. While touring the world as an Olympic athlete and professional minor league base baller Tom developed the taste for craft beer. From the Belgian boutiques, to the American giants, Tom has immersed himself in some of the world’s finest beer cultures and loved every minute. Since starting with Vale in 2011 Tom has well and truly made his mark. Off his own bat, Tom took his starting area manager role and expanded his scope regionally. Always looking for new challenges, Tom’s customer focus has built a strong network of relationships, which keeps on expanding.
Michael’s passion for craft beer is an inherited trait. His grandfather lays claim to being one of Adelaide’s original microbrewers, bootlegging beer for his community in the Adelaide Hills. Michael spent countless afternoons with his grandpa, listening to his stories while brewing up the next batch, sampling the last, striving to improve. As a result, Michael has hospitality deep in his DNA. His 15 years in the industry have solidified his enthusiasm for the products and the people.
Growing up in Milan, Italy, Andrea is well acquainted to the finer things in life but he’s no stranger to hard work either. Having worked his way through university, he moved to Australia in 2011 to further his education, but stayed for the lifestyle, beaches and beer. Andrea’s commitment to customer service is unquestionable; he’s always ready to go the extra mile to make sure his clients can get the best out of our craft.
Ben has over 10 years experience in FMCG. Working with some of Australia's largest wholesalers and leading brands, Smiths, Arnotts, Red Bull and Nestle to name a few. Bens passion for craft beer and family business brought him to Vale Brewing to hopefully continue the great success for many years to come.
Lexie has a proven track record of keeping the finances on track in the industry after her successful experiences working for The Lane Vineyard and Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander. As an incredibly passionate consumer of fine beer, food and wine, Lexie balances the indulgences with running up Mt Lofty, smashing the gym and chasing her toddler.
When Kathy came to Vale from Bendigo Bank in 2010, her commute shrunk to next to nothing, living just around the corner, here in Willunga. Her husband and three grown up-kids were pretty excited to hear Kathy was going to work in a brewery, and so was she. A lynchpin around the HQ, having been in Australia for 32 years Kathy thinks her UK accent has faded and we don’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.