Brewing some good

A new craft beer co-operative took its shaky first steps last week in Castlemaine.
Rock & Ranges Brewing Co-operative is based in the Macedon Ranges, community-owned and democratically managed and seeks to help locals to “live their dream and (eventually) own the brewery”.
After their first commercial brew, a collaboration with Castlemaine’s Shedshaker Brewing, the first Rock & Ranges beer will be available in a handful of local venues in mid to late June.
While producing great local craft beer is a key part of the Rock & Ranges group’s aims, it also seeks to promote social enterprise, empower community and encourage environmental sustainability.
“It’s been a fairly organic process so far, a few of us having been brewing for a while now and we recognised an opportunity to create something different,” co-op founder Luke Spielvogel said.
“Our region has a strong community of ‘makers’, we’d like to help tell that story and provide an opportunity for community to be involved in a very real way.
“The co-operative is the convergence of a variety of areas of interest. It looks at enterprise differently with its ‘one-member, one-vote’ ethos.
“It’s non-distributing so any profits are used to grow the business and directly support local community initiatives.
“It seeks to forge stronger social connections and help the community be a little more self-determining. It also promotes the message that people, and beer, are better together.”
Jacqueline Brodie-Hanns, Shedshaker Brewing director, is happy to support the project.
“Community is always at the heart of what we do here at Shedshaker, we see this collaboration as an extension of that,” she said.
“We also recognise the broader opportunity to co-operate as an industry and grow the region as a craft beer destination.”
Nicola Rivers, a co-operative co-founder, lawyer and long-time homebrewer, got involved to investigate and promote the co-operative model.
“It’s an approach that moves away from the solely profit-driven model and looks at and measures the broader social contribution and environmental sustainability and impacts,” she said.
Shedshaker Head brewer Brad Iles was anxious ahead of the brew day.
“It’s always a challenge to adapt a recipe to scale but it’s gone really well, and we’ve hit all our targets. It’s a style I’ve been interested in and I think it’ll find some fans,” he said.
Rock & Ranges Brewing Co-operative will open membership applications to the public shortly. A membership and full share is $250. Head to rockandranges.beer or @rockandrangesbeer on facebook and Instagram for more information and register your interest.

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