As promised above, in this post, I'll introduce myself properly, explain how I ended up here and what I hope to help with.
Born in Japan (during an earthquake), to an Irish mother and Rhodesian father, I grew up in Brunei (an alcohol-free country, ironically enough!) and came to Australia at sweet 16, where I completed my schooling.
Having been lucky enough to receive excellent marks for University, after trying a few courses, I was drawn to the vibrant hospitality industry. Starting out as a professional Barista, I moved on to the wonderful world of bars, restaurants and pubs. This is where I first stumbled across craft beers, and my passion was born! Over the years, I developed a keen interest in Australia's burgeoning craft beer revolution.
Soon enough, I found myself as the State Manager of a tasting company that specialised in the industry. What bliss to be employed to do what you love!
Keen to learn more about beer on an international level, I took a trip around Canada and the USA to explore the amazingly rich and varied beer culture there - I had some amazing adventures, and met so many incredible people, from the guys at Stone, Escondido, CA - to the mad scientists at Sixpoint, Brooklyn, NY... and many more in between! I had such a good time that I returned later the next year to spend three months in Colorado (an incredible part of the country which produces sensational water and a fine climate for hop farms) subsisting on some of the freshest hop-nectar I've ever tasted.
Back to Fremantle
Recently, I returned to Perth, home of the Australian craft beer revolution, determined to become a brewer! I had learned so much about beer, but had very little idea on how to actually brew. Little did I know how much things were about to change and how much more I was going to discover...
First thing I did was enrol in the Cicerone course, but, more importantly, I wanted to learn to brew my own beer at home. My parents mentioned that 'Patch', an old family friend, had been brewing craft beer for years at his house just around the corner! I guess you could say, the rest is history...
A Bit About Patrick 'Patch' Hollingdale
I certainly lucked out here. Patch (he's blind in one eye), struck me as a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge, even though he says that there are still many unexplored areas in brewing. He's been a brilliant and very patient teacher; he even let me brew a chocolate cherry stout, which, afterwards, he told me, was the most expensive, time-consuming and labour-intensive beer he has ever been associated with... he will never forgive me, but at 6.6%, I certainly enjoyed it.
The further we brewed, the further I came to realise the enormous influence that Patch has had on the international brewing community. I did a little research and found that he has been the primary force, if not creator, behind several concepts, practices or tools that have already, or, with the upcoming site, will become revolutionary.
As I learned, I started to question him - and his main frustration was that the existing site is, although content-rich, was visually ugly and technically clunky. However, with just a little bit of concentrated effort, time and money, it could be so much better. His passion proved infectious, and we ended up saying "Let's just do it!"
We started out brewing lots of batches; singles, doubles and even quadruples; trying to remember to take photos and videos and often forgetting! Quite a few batches were aimed at simplifying basic practices, even proto-typing equipment, to ensure that the "not-talked" about, and more laborious, sides of brewing would become easy.
After identifying what we needed to refine in the new site, our next focus was on how to structure the new site. When you see the new site, you should find it very easy to use however, I couldn't even begin to describe the work to get it to that stage. If you've ever seen "A Beautiful Mind", you have some idea!
We thought, after nailing the above, we had the toughest stuff sorted. So, all that was left to do, was to have a quick look at the IT side of things. Well, to tell you all the truth, that's probably taken at least a decade off my life!
Patch and I have worked full-time for the last eight months on the site, with little to no income. We thought the whole project would only take a few months, however, we're both now exhausted, very thirsty and flat broke!
The good news though, is what we call the 'grey' areas are now completely, or mostly, solved. All that is left to do is the writing of content - which Patch can do off the top of his head - however, this will still take many hours a day, for a month or so, for him to complete.
Meanwhile, I'll have to go back to peddling booze, as not only Patch's bank account is empty, but also mine!
What I Hope I Can Contribute
As you may have read, the new site will have two sides to it. Very simply, one side will be all about information and advice - the formal side of the site. The other side is informal and more about social communication and interaction amongst brewers.
Patch knows next to nothing about Social Media, which is, of course, an extremely vital portal of marketing, advertising and communications in this day and age. I'll be setting up relevant Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts for the new site, and hope to see you there!
From a marketing point of view, having seen first-hand the amount of time and money that has been spent here in the last eight months, let alone the years before by many of the 'old faithfuls', I hope I can facilitate ways in which everyone can contribute (eg. BIPs.)
If You Are in Town
If you happen to be a Perth local or are visiting, let me know and maybe we can do a brew day!
Sarah 'Brucey' Williams
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Last edited by Sarah
on 16 Jan 2017, 17:09, edited 2 times in total.