Pirate Life craft brewery; a dream, a reality and huge plans for the future
We love the passion of the Pirate Life team and its founders; Jack Cameron and Jared “Red” Proudfoot. They both first worked and also lived together when they brewers at
BrewDog in Scotland. Both from WA, they had a vision to create great beer. They returned to the shores of WA where Jack worked at Little Creatures and Red helped set up Cheek
Monkey in Margaret River. With the input of Jack’s dad Michael, who is now CEO, they were able to follow their dream and establish Pirate Life in Adelaide in 2014. In the first year they produced 600,000 litres and today it’s 3.61 million litres with 9 core range beers.
We spoke to Ed Smiles, Pirate Life store manager to find out more about this growing and innovative brewery. Ed looks after the merchandising through the store and online. Merchandise includes Tshirts, long tops, hoodies, caps, skateboards, stubby holders, glasses. Plus track suits, board shorts and underpants and beanies for winter. Then going into summer they will have a few fun releases, we can’t wait.
At the brewery as well as being able to go on a tour and taste their great beer (and buy), they also have a sensory table where customers can see what hops and malts look like as well as taste. It’s the perfect way to educate customers and help them understand the key elements in the brewing process.
Ed was kind enough to answer a few questions we had after we visited the brewery earlier in the year.
1. How many of the beers that you make are on tap?
“We have two taps and on these taps we rotate around the full range. We have 9 beers in cans that are always available. These are our core 9 (IPA, Mosaic, , Stout, IIPA, Throwback IPA, Golden Era, Hopco, Pale Ale, Ballast Point). Plus we have our small batches and one offs that go into kegs.”
2. What’s next to make and to add to the core range?
“From next month we will add a Pilsner to cans – this is the Nelson. It is a proper lager. We are only using Nelson Sauvin as a hop. It’s a unique bright profile and smashable at 4.8%.”
The characteristics include “fresh crushed gooseberries,” an attribute usually associated with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, hence the name.”
3. Pirate Life is only three years young but in that time, they have been able to build a business……why do you think it’s been so ‘successful’?
“For four reasons:
• Quality of product
• And consistency of that quality
• With good accessibility of that product
• Plus tight branding and easy to get into the hand of our consumers”
4. What inspired the team to start packaging in aluminium cans?
“It comes down to the fact that it is the best possible vessel. Unlike glass, no light can get in, plus it’s 30% lighter than bottle and aluminium is endlessly recyclable. Although a canning line is more expensive than a bottling line, it’s more ethical and environmentally friendly.”
5. What research was done to start doing this?
“The guys were focused on trying to protect the beer and through research, they had been aware for a number of years that aluminium is a superior vessel. The technology has evolved for cans and in 2014 it was a visual difference where you can actually market the whole can vs the limitations on a beer bottle.”
Check out their cans; the full ingredients is at the top of the can!
6. What keeps the company going?
“We are all invested in the brand and we are with it to succeed/for the long haul. Red is an exciting person to work with and has the best recipes.
Mike Cameron has said from the get go that we don’t just want to make the current style but we want to be the new style. We want to come up with beers that people have not thought of before…show off ingredients and how delicious you can make a beer. Making beer that you’re proud of.”
7. How large is the team and how many are actively involved in the brewing?
“The cellar and brew kit is 7 full time staff on a 24/5 AM and PM and night shift. In the company with sales reps and admin it is 52.”
8. What is the capacity today?
From memory 3.61 million litres. We package everything on site; all to can and keg. 85% goes into can and the rest to keg which is for the pub.”