the story of your mates
G’day from Your Mates founders Hep and McGarry.
This Australian story represents big dreams, big balls and what the meaning of Australian mateship is truly about. Our bootstrap journey began on a comfy blue futon over a couple of cold beers. This is where our thirst to create something we could seriously get stoked about began. We would often talk about the dream of owning a brewery, and one particular evening, after one too many, the decision was made. That night we looked at each other and said, ‘how hard could it really be?’ That was the start of this epic little adventure, and we’ve never looked back. In 2013 we decided to quit our professional jobs and started slingin’ beers at a local bar.
We didn’t have a single dollar in our bank accounts or a bloody clue about brewing beer. Looking back at our early days, we realise just how crazy and naive we were! We transformed the garage of our small beach shack into the new local schooner stop for our mates, also known as ‘The Scrapyard Bar’. We built a makeshift bar with taps, pallet shelves and a DIY brew kit made from old donated eskys. We used all of our mates as test dummies for our first batches of beer, and received a shit tonne of enthusiasm and praise, probably because the beers were free… We were learning more each day with every new batch we brewed and having a blast doing it; all in the name of research and development we’d say!
In 2014, we decided to take it to the next step and we rented a small industrial shed in the back of our home town of Moffat Beach. We would bribe all of our mates with free beer and pool competitions to give us a hand every weekend to fit out our little slice of paradise. Our Moffat Beach brewery was literally built on gestures of mateship and community support. With no real working capital, we opted to contract out the production of our beer (it turns out buying brewing equipment is crazy expensive). Although this business model had no foreseeable profit, it allowed our company to enter the market as the first of the new-age breweries on the Sunshine Coast. We had a whole lot of fun throughout this period, working blood, sweat and beers to nurture our dream to see Your Mates flowing at our local watering holes. With increased confidence, we launched our first beer, ‘Larry’, on the Sunshine Coast in 2015.
We were working 90+ hours a week perfecting our recipe, running sales, accounts, deliveries and events whilst working our nightly bar jobs to ensure we could float our tiny business. We were brewing with a Bavarian fella named Bert out in Baffle Creek, six hours north of the Sunshine Coast. With the help of this legend, we were able to supply our locals with everyone’s new best mate.
Throughout this time, we focused on developing and promoting our unique brand. McGarry was one hell of a vinyl DJ and I loved to throw big ol’ parties. Things worked out pretty naturally and we began building a loyal following of mates who loved good times as much as we did. Nonexistent cash flow and physical exhaustion were ongoing problems, but we were always motivated by how supportive all of our mates and family were. The biggest problem we faced was actually not being able to brew enough beer. Who’d have thought people would actually pay for it! Clearly this was not the worst problem to have, but it definitely prevented our ability to grow.
In June of 2017 we had a huge opportunity to brew our own beer at another facility with Macleods Brewing Co. in the Sunshine Coast hinterland at Maleny. Over the years, McGarry had brewed on many different beer systems with a number of brewing mentors, but now we could finally be in charge of our own beer! This allowed us to increase our supply as well as finally produce Larry in his own can, the ‘#Larrycan’.
In February of 2017, we decided it was time. We quit our jobs at the local and opened our own small dive bar in a forgotten Sunshine Coast town called Nambour. Although the area was not a tourist destination, people would travel from all over the coast to visit our humble little home called ‘The Basement’. The best term to use for this hole-in-the-wall would be a super-polished turd. It was half underground under an old pub with the ability to host some local ear-bleeding bands. This move allowed us to focus on our business full time. The workload didn’t get any smaller and the pay didn’t get any higher, but at least the beers were free!
In 2018, we became the only brewing company in Australia to air on the national television show, ‘Shark Tank’. This was an unbelievable opportunity for our small brewery to showcase our brand on a national scale. We turned down a deal after an hour of back-and-forth with the Sharks. We were proud to back ourselves and our company, and the sharks gave us the confidence we needed to take Your Mates to the next level. On the back of this attention, we took the leap and began building our dream brewery in the Kawana industrial area. We wanted to create a space that felt like home, where locals would walk in as strangers and leave as mates. A place with dogs chillin’ at the entrance and a friendly bartender greets you with a genuine smile. A place with a hand-made parmy bigger than your face and a local muso jammin’ on a frothy Friday afternoon. A place where your grommies can play so you can escape for a moment to enjoy your favourite ice cold beer. At the end of 2018, our dream came to fruition. Your Mates Brew House opened its doors to welcome everyone who shared our good times vision. Looking back, it is unbelievable to see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. Truly a dream come true!
In 2019, Your Mates Brewing Co. was voted the best new brewery in QLD. This was an achievement we were chuffed about considering how many great breweries had been popping up over the years in our awesome Sunshine State. Months later, the Australian public voted Larry as the fifth best beer in the entire country… We were completely blown away. Larry, which was only available in South East Queensland at the time, was voted to number five. This was the moment we knew that we had created something that was bigger than us, an authentic beer brand that every Australian could relate to.
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Every week we're we're doing heaps of epic stuff around the Brew House, in the production area and in our community. Stay in the loop and follow the journey!