The latest blip to land on Shepparton’s night-time entertainment map is Wild Life Brewing Co, a spot strictly made for Shepparton.
Across the road from the Aussie Hotel in Maude St, the store isn’t a typical bar or a bottle-o, but rather a hub for those wanting to wet the upper lip in good company, with the opportunity to learn a thing or two about all things beer.
Made up of a nucleus of three Shepparton locals who know how locals drink, what started as a pipe dream has become a reality for brothers Jack and James Thomson with mate Rhys Porter alongside.
The plan to start making their own beer began brewing roughly 18 months ago, when scheming in a shed with stubbies in hand turned into having a crack at pumping out their own form of liquid gold.
Once a kit was purchased, up stepped James and Rhys who began cranking out more beer than they could consume for the better part of a year in pursuit of the ideal flavour arrangement, and 50 or so batches later they found it.
“We had to figure out whether we could even do it, and a miracle happened where they produced really effing great beer,” Jack said.
What the crew call ‘a beer for here’, their signature pale ale isn’t a hop-saturated over-the-top drop designed to ward off the casual coldie enthusiast – it is an extremely approachable option which offers more than the average bottle housed on supermarket shelves.
“It is not meant to be a big heavy beer that you can only have one of,” Jack said.
“We are all from Shepp and we know how people drink here and the culture; there are a lot of shed drinkers out here and this is what it is made for.”
They had the beer, but next the trio needed a spot to sell it, knowing exactly where their target market was – right on their front doorstep.
Eager to get in under way before the heat set in, Rhys and James busted out the tools and got to work, banging up the location in less than four months to get the place open for business before Christmas with the grand opening held last night.
With more options ready to roll out over the coming months, the company’s ethos isn’t about generating suds of all shapes and sizes at a blinding pace, but rather celebrating the freedom and good life right here in Shepparton with a trusty froth that goes down easy.
“Having one to begin with that is really reliable is pretty important to us,” Jack said.
“As for the company, it is about living a wild life and getting out there, it’s about being on the boat and in the bush, camping, fishing.
“Whatever it may be, just enjoying life in the country.”
With the store set up and heavy lifting done and dusted, for the lads the ideology stretches far beyond a place to sit and drink.
“We talk a lot internally about making beer and that is the business, but we want to be way more than that,” Jack said.
“Hopefully we can put back into community, clean rivers and protect the bush.
“We want the town to get behind us so come down and have a chat — this place is built to be super relaxed.”